BCom 1st Year International Communication Notes Study Material
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BCom 1st Year International Communication Notes Study Material
In an organization, people from different cultural backgrounds engage in business activities. It is, therefore, necessary to understand their culture before communicating with persons belonging to different cultural backgrounds. The behavior of persons of Asian origin is more friendly relative to those of people of European origin. The way a person from the Middle East talks and dresses himself differs from that of a person belonging to the European community. Thus, awareness of intercultural differences is very necessary and useful in the present business world. (BCom International Communication Notes Study Material)
For-a meaningful communication it is necessary that the receiver not only understands the real meaning of the message/information but also the national and cultural background of the sender of the message in its right perspective.
Fred Luthans says “Communication is the understanding not of the visible, but of the invisible and hidden. These hidden and symbolic elements embedded in the culture give meaning to the visible communication process.”
Luthans above thinking highlights the importance of culture in the process of communication. Every nation of the modern world is giving a new dimension to its identity in the marketing promotion policies under liberalization, globalization, and privatization. This automatically increases the importance of the emotional aspect of culture in the communication process.
In the modern business era, persons with different cultural backgrounds from various countries follow verbal or non-verbal, oral or written communication to fulfill their respective business objectives. The need, therefore, is to make the communication effective and justified to suit to the aspirations and requirements of persons of various cultural backgrounds.
Meaning of Culture
It is very difficult to define ‘culture’ in its real form and nature. Various types of research have revealed that there are at least 164 definitions of ‘culture’. However, from the study point of view, there are at least 6 classes that are important in effectiveness.
Here we are referring to applied characteristics of the culture. Applied characteristics mean the specific or unique nature of the integrated or non-verbal forms of communication in a community. However, culture always refers to the collective consciousness of a society, community, or nation. (BCom International Communication Notes Study Material)
According to Thill and Bovee, “Culture may be defined as a system of shared symbols, beliefs, attitudes, values, expectations and norms for behavior.”
Victor Barnoyw says, “A way of life of a group of people.. the stereotyped patterns of learning behavior, which are handed down from one generation to the next through the means of language and imitation.”
It is clear that cultural diversity is a natural phenomenon as every nation has a specific cultural tradition. When these cultures come closer it is but natural that they influence each other. The situation becomes complicated when a community or a nation tries to dominate the cultural traditions of the other community by forcing its values beliefs and traditions on it.
Cultural Sensitiveness (Consciousness)
In the modern world, in spite of cultural diversity at the international level; the business work culture, market system, and economic policies of various nations have shown uniformity to a great extent and thus created an atmosphere of unity in diversity. The concept of ‘Global Village’ has created theoretical and practical awareness of diversified cultures. Knowing each others’ cultures and respecting the emotions, beliefs, and traditions of others is proof of global understanding. This is cultural sensitivity.
Cultural consciousness depends on the values, beliefs, and traditions of various communities.
For example, the Japanese believe that competition leads to distortion of values.
“Fairness’ is highly valued by North Americans.
In India people belonging to certain castes do not enjoy full participation in social activities. Indians also attribute success in life to their spiritual achievements. (BCom International Communication Notes Study Material)
In the United States, people believe in ‘individualism’ whereas in India ‘Family’ enjoys high value.
In American culture, ‘silence’ is a sign of workers doing their work seriously, whereas in Japan workers go on talking while working. Values and beliefs are generally determined by religious traditions. For example, in Indian culture, simple living shows nearness to God.
Learning about Cultural Sensitiveness (Consciousness)
Before establishing business/trade relations with persons belonging to some other nation or culture, it is beneficial to have a deep prior study of their cultural background. It is better to mold ourselves accordingly so as to suit their cultural sensitiveness. To achieve this goal, the following points need attention:
- First of all, it is better to learn the language of the concerned person’s nation to get acquainted with his/its culture. It will help in understanding their traditions and customs and thereby establish better and closer relations with these persons/ nations.
- The study of books and articles related to the culture of concerned persons/nations will help in knowing their history, religion, customs, politics, etc. That will also help in getting acquainted with the climate, health services, monetary system, transport facilities, and communication facilities of the concerned nation. (BCom International Communication Notes Study Material)
- It is necessary to get knowledge of their business culture from our business point of view. It is essential to know about their business sub-culture because every nation has its own business policies and protocol. Who takes the decisions? What presents are acceptable? What are the exchange policies?
Is there any dress code for attending meetings? To have such knowledge is necessary. (BCom 1st Year International Communication Notes Study Material)
For example, the business sub-culture of some nations is as follows:
- Spain. Five to seven times handshaking is effective. To drawback, your hand while shaking will have a negative impact.
- Arab. Presenting wine/alcohol as a gift is insulting.
- England. Keep any hard object in the front pockets of the suit is not liked. It is not to their taste. (BCom 1st Year International Communication Notes Study Material)
- France. Prompt but gentle handshaking is effective.
- Pakistan. To leave, while a meeting or conference is going on is not appreciated; it is particularly insulting when they pray to Allah during their ‘Namaj’. (BCom 1st Year International Communication Notes Study Material)
Effect of cultural Sensitiveness on Business Communication
Cultural sensitivity influences every aspect of business communication, like respect, regard, courtesy, tone and sound while talking, etc., and the size of the paper/note sheets in written communication. Business communication is also affected by the organizational culture and a person’s culture, like sex, caste, class social status, etc., apart from national and regional culture.
The culture and sub-culture of a nation affect communication to a large extent. Japanese express themselves through body language and in personal meetings giving a very warm welcome. On the other hand, North Americans communicate messages/information in clear terms through words. Because of the diversity of global culture, people of different nations have different attitudes towards their guests or foreigners. (BCom 1st Year International Communication Notes Study Material)
Verbal communication. A person’s mental state gets expressed according to his editions and culture. Because of inter-cultural diversity, we find that oral and written business communication differs from country to country. For example, Americans address their co-workers by their first name, whereas Italians address their associates either by the post they hold or by their surname. In India, now the tendency to address by their first name is fast increasing. (BCom 1st Year International Communication Notes Study Material)
Non-verbal communication. Non-Verbal communication is also equally affected by cultural diversity. Because of cultural diversity, we find vast differences in expressions through body language, color, and dresses, ornaments, methods of greeting each other, joy and sorrow at the global level. (BCom 1st Year International Communication Notes Study Material)
It is very easy to identify a person by his dress as to whether he is an American, Japanese, Arab, Australian, or Indian. Latin Americans touch each other while talking. One can easily identify the cultural background of a person by observing his handshaking, greeting, etc., and how he expresses his joy and sorrow. (BCom 1st Year International Communication Notes Study Material)
Essentials of Intercultural Communication
If we have the desire or need to learn some other culture, then there are two simple ways to do it:
- To learn the language, cultural background, history, traditions, and social customs of the concerned culture which is needed for business purposes. (BCom 1st Year International Communication Notes Study Material)
- To develop such common skills which help in accommodating other’s culture.
The First Way. It may not be very difficult to gain intensive knowledge of a particular culture, but it has two shortcomings:
(i) It is not possible to understand any particular culture completely. It is immaterial how much knowledge you have gained about German culture. After all, you are not German nor do you have German experience. Even if you know everything about German culture, even than a German will never agree with you that you know their culture completely. (BCom 1st Year International Communication Notes Study Material)
(ii) The second shortcoming is that of the generalization of the characteristics of some particular culture. We have to consider a person from a cultural point of view and not from the point of view of his unique characteristics.
The Second Way. To learn the common intercultural skills and efficiencies related to knowing a specific culture. It is particularly beneficial to keep in mind the following points at the time of inter-cultural communication with a person of some other culture:
(i) Take responsibility for communication. We should not assume that the responsibility of communication rests with the other person. We also have to accept this responsibility. (BCom 1st Year International Communication Notes Study Material)
(ii) Decision making. We should listen to the complete message and should accept with ease the differences.
(iii) Show respect. We should respect emotions, eye contact, etc. towards an understanding of the communication of other’s cultures.
(iv) Be elastic. We should always be flexible with our attitude regard to our habits, nature, and our liking.
(v) Be patient. To keep patience is necessary while performing any task.
(vi) Clear message. Clarity should be ensured in our oral/written message.
(vii) Encourage cultural sensitivity. Complete sensitivity in the physical transmission of messages is essential. Defective communication should be avoided. (BCom 1st Year International Communication Notes Study Material)
(viii) Think about other opportunities. Your thinking process should not be limited to only environmental inconveniences like climatic conditions, fashion, and the way they dress; but you should think beyond them.
(ix) Ignore repetition. In adverse situations, you should control complexes and avoid the repetition of inconveniences.
(x) Understand others’ views and thoughts. You should carefully listen to the views and thoughts of others and understand their emotions. (BCom 1st Year International Communication Notes Study Material)
Essential Factors of Effective Intercultural Communication. The following points should be taken into consideration for effective communication at a global level with persons having different cultural backgrounds:
(i) It is better to understand and realize from our point of view the cultural background of other persons and their cultural characteristics while communicating. (BCom 1st Year International Communication Notes Study Material)
(ii) We should identify our own shortcomings related to communication and should try to remove them. (BCom 1st Year International Communication Notes Study Material)
(iii) You can benefit yourself by synchronizing your mental state with that of the other person while talking to him about his culture and language. (BCom 1st Year International Communication Notes Study Material)
(iv) If you pay respect/regard to other’s culture, you can command respect for yourself also. (BCom 1st Year International Communication Notes Study Material)
(v) During Communication, do not be in hurry to express your thoughts with regard to your culture. Listen with patience to the thoughts and viewpoints of others first and then put up your thoughts and viewpoints.
BCom 1st Year International Communication Notes Study Material