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Cultural Differences And Miscommunication In Business

Imagine and describe a scenario where cultural difference might lead to miscommunication in a
business setting. Outline how this miscommunication/misunderstanding can be prevented.


Cultural Differences And Miscommunication In Business

Difference in cultures/ cultural diversity
Cultural diversity implies to values, traditions and, norms that affect the manner members
of a group or different nationalities typically think, perceive, interact, make judgments and
behave. In business, it impacts on daily scheduling and deadlines because different cultures have
different perceptions of time. They say globalization has shrunk the Globe in to a small village.
It’s very encouraging seeing people from different parts of the word interaction and transacting
business with ease. However, it has not simple, when it comes to the corporate world.
Increasingly, managers in different nations must deal multi-ethnic groups with very dissimilar
cultural diversities in their organizations. These days, you are likely to work with Canadians,
Australians, French, Japanese, German or even Chinese and all other sorts of nationalities in
your workplace (Diversityresources, 2015).
The first step of countering this scenario is recognizing that people from different cultural
backgrounds are different in all aspects. They have a special way of viewing things, a different
code of dressing and a different personality.
In a business setting, these differences can cause problems and a lot of misunderstanding.
It would be difficult to deduce what the other person is doing or saying. This problem is known
as miscommunication. Other problems include conflicting behaviors and perceptions (Norlyk &
School, 2010).
Communication context
The root/ cause of miscommunication between different nationalities is the context of
communication. Cultural diversity has divided communication context in to two; high and low
communication contexts. Some cultures are into a high communication context while others are
used to low context. In high context communication, information is either internalized in the
person or it’s physical. Behaviors are implicit, meaning that the context gives you cues on how to
behave. These people tend to use a more circuitous approach of communication. Japan, china,
Korea and, Latin American countries prefer the style of communication (Martin, 2009).
Verbal content communication is most evident in low context cultures. Information is
wholly conveyed through word of mouth from one agent to another. The expectations and rule of
communication are explained and discussed. In other words, these nationalities prefer more
direct communication technique. Direct communication is most common in Canada, United
States and some other European countries (Martin, 2009).
How miscommunication can be prevented
Cultural competence training
Cultural competence is the virtue/ ability of a person to interact and communicate
effectively with people from different Nations and cultures. This ability is built on ones


awareness on cultural worldview, cross-cultural skills and cultural tolerance. To avoid problems,
cultural competence guidance is necessary international business transactions
.Miscommunication and actual conflict jeopardizes effective work production and worker
performance (Smith& Mounter ,2010).

Providing information promptly and accurately is vital to effective work and business
interaction. However, people from different nationalities vary in how they deliver bad news. For
instance, people from Asia are reluctant to give supervision (bad news) while other from African
and America may exaggerate it.
Some cultures or rather nationalities especially people from United States and Canada are
individualistic; they love to do stuff alone. On the other hands some cultures prefer cooperation
with others. Team-building in a multiple ethnic setting can be very challenging. Effective multi-
cultural team-building is mandatory. It does not only bring the team together but also benefits
them from the prospective recompense of cultural diversity (Baumer, 2015).



Baumer, T. (2015). Cicb Center for Intellectual Competence-Typical Examples of Cultural
Differences. (online) cicb.net. Available at : http://cibs.net/en/home/example (accessed
on 20 jan. 2015).
Celt.iastate.edu, (2015). Cultural Differences- Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching.
(online) Available at : http://www.celt.iastate.edu-resources/international-
resouces/cultural Differences (accessed on 20 jan. 2015).
Doing business and investing in Australia. (2010). New York: Pricewaterhousecoopers.
Diversityresources.com, (2015). Managing Cultural Diversity in the Workplace. (online)
Available at : http:// diversityresources.com/cultural-diversity-workplace.htm (accessed
on 20 jan.2015).
Fhsu.edu, (2015). What is Cultural Diversity- Fort Hays State University. (online) Available at :
http://fhsu.edu/diversity-affairs/what-is-diversity/ (accessed on 20 jan. 2015).
Martin, D.(2009) Language Disabilities in Culture and Linguistic Diversity. Britol, U.K:
Multilingual Matters.
Norlyk,b., & School, C. (2010) Miscommunications and Discause Practices in Occupational
Cultures.Kolding Handelsholjskole Syd, CESFO.
Smith, L., & Mounter, P. (2010). Effective International Communication (2 nd ed.). London:
kogan page.

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