How To Create An Effective Cross-Cultural Training Program Article Questions Hurdles to Cross Cultural Business Communication

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Hurdles to Cross Cultural Business Communication

International businesses are facing new challenges in their internal communication structures due to major reforms brought about by internationalization, downsizing, mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures.

A lack of investment in cross cultural training and language tuition often leads to a lack of internal cohesion. Losing clients/customers, poor staff retention, lack of competition, internal conflicts/power struggles, poor working relationships, misunderstandings, stress, poor productivity and lack of cooperation are all the result of poor cross cultural communication.

Cross cultural communications consultants work with international companies to mitigate the above consequences of poor cross cultural awareness. Through such cooperation, consultants like Kwintessential have identified common barriers to effective cross cultural communication within companies.

Here we outline some examples of these barriers to cross cultural cooperation:

Lack of Communication

It goes without saying that miscommunication is probably the biggest cause of poor communication. Yet it continues to prove itself as a major problem within most companies.

The lack of communication among staff is not only due to a lack of spoken dialogue. Rather it is related to access to information.

For example, not giving feedback (negative or positive), informing staff of decisions and actions that affect their roles or failure to properly communicate expectations are all ways in which information can be withheld from of the staff. This eventually results in an alienated staff base that feels divided from management and superiors.

If managers are too selective in providing information, it can cause suspicion and jealousy among staff and eventually result in internal strife instead of unity.

Management that does not and does not communicate and interact physically with staff shows a lack of interest, trust and respect.

In the West the lines of communication are usually vertical. Staff report to managers and managers up to senior levels and so on. Good lines of communication should run both ways. Those who have a low place in the communication process tend to feel isolated, indifferent and possibly even hostile.

Lack of communication in all its forms is bad. Companies and managers need to know how, what and to whom they communicate.

LANGUAGES

Communication difficulties through language come in two forms:

Use of inappropriate language

Language carries subliminal meanings and messages that are conveyed through vocabulary, stress and tone. The wrong use of words or emotions hidden behind phrases can send messages that affect the staff’s self-perception, confidence and attitude. Critical language causes poor interpersonal relationships and low self-esteem while supportive language and tone have the opposite effect.

Foreign Language

These days, offices can have native speakers of over 50 languages ​​all under one roof. It is important to establish the primary language of the office, be it English, French or Spanish. Once it is established all employees must communicate only in the primary language. This avoids the involvement of staff who do not understand other languages. In addition, a company must ensure that all its employees are fully conversant in the primary language. Language tuition should be seen as a necessity not a luxury.

culture

International businesses with highly diverse workforces in terms of nationalities and cultural backgrounds face challenges from differences in language, values, belief systems, business ethics, business ethics, ethics, behavior and expectations.

Cross cultural differences can negatively affect a business in different ways, whether in team cohesion or in staff productivity. As we have seen above, different communication methods are only one place where cross cultural differences can be seen.

In such multicultural companies, objective help may be needed through a cross cultural consultant who will show teams and individuals how to manage communication and work together more harmoniously and productively.

Company Culture

Company culture relates to a company’s internal culture in how it is managed. For example, does the company view various departments such as sales, production, administration and HR as closed or open systems? A closed system is one where a general lack of synergy exists between a sales and production department due to the structure and line of communication between the two. The consequence of such compartmentalization is that managers of departments tend to be territorial. It is important that team work, team building and team spirit are encouraged to create an open system.

Such measures are particularly valid in joint ventures and mergers where the cooperation between two or more companies requires their total commitment to an open system.

It is understandable that many companies are primarily focused on the financial and strategic aspects of the company’s operations. Today’s international businesses realize that many of their business problems have roots in people management and communication.

In summary, we can conclude that the biggest obstacle to effective cross cultural communication is the reluctance to invest the skills and resources needed to overcome the problems as outlined above. Cross cultural barriers can be easily negotiated with some purposeful and qualified help.

For more information please visit http://www.kwintessential.co.uk

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