Communication Boundary Analysis
Compose an analysis paper examining a selected �boundary� or difference which has potential to
impact organizational effectiveness. The analysis should demonstrate (a) cultural intelligence of the
differences between those on either side of the boundary and (b) what strategies for effective leadership
communication can be applied to improve organizational effectiveness. The paper should culminate in a
plan for effective communication. Be sure to consider virtual and new media as part of the plan. The
paper should be 6-7 pages in length, double-spaced, include a title page, and conform to APA style and
Communication Boundary Analysis
In today’s global economy the workplace has experienced a marked transformation
where employees from different cultures come to work together. Firms have created
international, multinational and global firms and this has contributed to the increased awareness
of working in multi-cultural environments. Joint ventures, mergers and strategic alliances formed
have led to the transformation of the organization as a melting point of different cultures which
need to be cohesively managed so as to maximize the leverage each culture brings to the
workplace. The differences in cultures lead to conflicts at times which may affect the
effectiveness of the organization. Managers are expected to have the relevant skills to identify
and effectively manage such differences.
One major area that portends the danger of negatively affecting the workplace is the
presentation approach when meeting potential investors. The differences may arise depending on
who is making the presentation from their cultural background. The presenter, who is tasked with
the presentation in front of investors in a boardroom, may greatly affect the outcome of the
presentation from their cultural perspective. If the presentation fails to secure the interest of the
COMMUNICATION BOUNDARY ANALYSIS 2
prospective investors, all the effort of the team involved will be affected and future assignments
may suffer and this ultimately may lead to friction between a team leader and the team they are
The difference in cultural background affects the way a team leader may behave in their
presentation and their overall leadership style. In a workplace that is multi-cultured with different
cultural clusters, there will be a pattern that can be identified in regards to cultural identities and
behavior. Each individual is seen as a simultaneous carrier of several cultural identities which
will impact on the behavior at the leadership level. The background of the differences in
behavior can be identified from the research study done by Hofstede who studied the different
behavior patterns of leaders from culture clusters across the globe.
The Hofstede Dimensions postulate some criteria that delineate the cultural intelligence
differences between different culture clusters (Mooij, 2014). Hofstede postulates that one of the
criteria used is what he terms as Power Distance (PD) which is the degree to which less powerful
members of a society accepts the hierarchical distribution of power in an organization. The study
showed that cultures from Germanic, Nordic and Anglo Europe scored lowly when compared to
other clusters due to their lack of endorsement of the PD postulation. Participative leadership in
team will be low when the team leader is from the above clusters and higher from other clusters
such as Middle East, East Europe, Asia and Africa.
The other postulation of Hofstede is the Uncertainty Avoidance (UA) which postulates
that societies have established beliefs, norms, rituals and procedures that help them to avoid
uncertainty. This is more so in situations that create ambiguity and the rituals are used to
minimize the impact of such a situation. High UA countries such as Anglo, Nordic and Western
COMMUNICATION BOUNDARY ANALYSIS 3
Europe leaders tend to be more controlling, less approachable and less delegating. Low UA
leaders are the opposite and are open to improvisation
For purposes of application, a theoretical model will be used. A team may have a team
leader (cultural background from India) with group members from cultural backgrounds of China
(one person), Africa (one person) and Western Europe (two people). An assignment that was
undertaken by a group for presentation will involve a group that is culturally diversified. When
the assignment is complete, the team leader has the responsibility of choosing who will present
to the investors. The team leader may be feeling that since the investors are mostly Anglo
European, the team members from Western Europe would be a better choice to present. This
would be from their cultural identity behavior shown by Hofstede of accepting their inferior
position of power which may lead to the other team members (Chinese, African) feeling
disenfranchised. This will lead to a chasm in the team.
The chasm may lead to the team leader behaving according to the postulations of
Thomas-Kilmann which are competing, collaborating, compromising, avoidance and
accommodating in order to deal with the differences (Novais & Carneiro, 2016). The leader
whose cultural cluster background is from Asia (India) may resort to either the compromising
style of conflict or the accommodating style of conflict resolution. The compromising style seeks
the middle ground out of the moderate concerns for both the individual and others. The
accommodating style of conflict resolution results from a low concern for oneself and a high
concern for others.
The person chosen may exhibit traits that are influenced by their cultural background.
The Indian, Chinese and Africans may posit a trait of Personalism as contrasted to
Impersonalism of the Western European team members. The connecting with people by building
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relationships in any transaction is important for societies that are from the non-Western world,
while the Western approach is detached and almost aloof with little or no connection. The
presenter will project their cultural values inherently and the success or failure will be judged
from their cultural background.
Strategy for effective communication
The management of organizations can take different approaches to effectively
communicate in the work environment that is cross-cultural. One approach that can be used is to
implement a Holistic framework of communication across the organization. The holistic
framework is underpinned by three unique features: 1. Relationships are prescriptive and
relations pre-empt individual choices. 2. Relations are whole-oriented with members of the team
expected to make individual sacrifices for the good of the collective. 3. Relations are
complimentary with team members working to complement individual tasks to achieve the
common goal. The holistic approach is applied in two elements of mission and transparency.
The leadership has to prioritize on the question of what needs to be accomplished and to
ensure that it is clearly spelt out and understood across the organization. The leader may have to
ask the subordinates who are from multi-cultural backgrounds questions on guidance and their
input concerning the mission that is being accomplished. The organization and the leader may
consider the use of a “brief-back” methodology of communication where the team members can
give feedback or synopsis of the information they have received. The originator of the message
can then make a determination as to whether the message was properly understood or needs
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Information needs to be disseminated transparently across an organization and
withholding information for personal power use should not be tolerated across an
organization. Since information is very critical for the smooth communication of different
components of an organization, sharing of information should be cultivated as a culture
so as to make the organization to thrive. Junior employees cannot mature information that
is relevant to them scaling up the corporate ladder is concealed for personal power.
Transparency helps to establish trust. The use of AAR (after-action reports) for each
assignment should be distributed across the organizations to show the lessons learned and
the failings to avoid in the future.
Plan for effective communication
The plan for effective communication will involve the following:
- Identification of Purpose for communication: The purpose would be to educate the
employees on cross-cultural competence and conflict management in the cases where
such conflicts arise.
- Identification of audience: The target audience for the communication is all cadres of
the organization from the top to the bottom.
- The message: The message should factor in the content, language, mood and design
in disseminating the information intended. The content should be structured to fit the
cultural-context of the different cultures and should not be offensive to any culture.
The language should be simple as language barrier can effectively make meaningless
the whole process. The mood should be neutral as much as possible so as not to make
the target feel guilty, fearful or apprehensive.
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- Channels of communication: The medium to be used can be varied and may make use
of the following: newsletter printed and circulated internally, use of Facebook and
twitter as new media to communicate, use of company blog to pass on the message.
The use of new and virtual media is encouraged as it gives room for feedback
according to the number of hits on the server or the number of like/dislike on a
message posted. The use of the new media can also be used for a longer period as a
conversation continuum with updates from the management and the employees with
each side giving their input.
The possibility of differences occurring in an organization is normal and the response
taken by the leadership will important to set the precedent and “case law” to follow in the future.
The occurrence of differences is influenced by the cultural differences and backgrounds of each
employee. The behavior pattern will be following inherently the cultural identity behavior of
their cultural cluster. Effective leadership communication needs to be holistic in the approach in
order to be able to deal with organizational differences. The effective communication will
involve a clear understanding of the organizational mission for all concerned and the
transparency in communicating across the organization. The use of modern media such as
Facebook in an organization is important as it gives room for the conversation to give feedback
from both sides of the narrative. The effective use of communication and the channels available
is the key to resolving cross-cultural differences within an organization.
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In Novais, P., & In Carneiro, D. (2016). Interdisciplinary perspectives on contemporary conflict
resolution. Hershey: Information Science Reference.
Mooij, M. K. (2014). Human and mediated communication around the world: A comprehensive
review and analysis. Cham: Springer.