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After reviewing section 2.4 of the text titled International and Intercultural Interpersonal Communication, visit The Hofstede Centre – https://www.hofstede-insights.com/product/compare-countries/ and continue to explore national cultural dimensions. Here you will choose two countries to compare and contrast in terms of cultural dimensions.
Develop a two-page, APA-formatted paper that addresses the following:
1. Describe how the two countries are similar in terms of Hofstede’s six cultural dimensions.
2. Describe how the two countries are different in terms of Hofstede’s six cultural dimensions.
3. Given a scenario where two organizations, one located in each country, are to do business with each other, provide recommendations that would be beneficial in helping management address communications in terms of the different cultural perspectives.
Your paper must be two pages (not including title and reference pages) and must be formatted according to APA style as outlined in the approved APA style guide. You must cite at least two scholarly sources in addition to the textbook.
Some Thoughts on Intercultural Communications
Intercultural communication skills are those required to communicate, or share information, with people from other cultures and social groups. While language skills may be an important part of intercultural communication, they are by no means the only requirement.
Intercultural communication also requires an understanding that different cultures have different customs, standards, social mores, and even thought patterns. Finally, good intercultural communication skills require a willingness to accept differences these and adapt to them.
A desire for intercultural communication starts from the point of view that communication is better if it is constructive and does not suffer from misunderstandings and breakdowns. Intercultural communication requires both knowledge and skills. It also requires understanding and empathy. Effective intercultural communication is a vital skill for anyone working across countries or continents, including those working for multinational companies either in their home country or abroad (expatriates).
It is also crucial for anyone working with people from other cultures to avoid misunderstandings and even offence. Those studying languages often encounter issues of intercultural communication. Key areas of knowledge for those wanting to improve their intercultural communication are:
· Some knowledge of the cultures, organizations and institutions, history and general way of living of different communities and nations.
· Recognition that these aspects affect behavioral norms. For example, there is considerable ‘history’ between the Greeks and Turks, and therefore it may be considered potentially a problem to serve Turkish food to a Greek person.
· An understanding of how culture can affect communication and language. For example, people from Nordic countries are often said to speak more directly than native English speakers who tend to use more ‘polite’ language. Scandinavians in the UK have reported causing offence to English people by failing to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ enough.
· Some understanding of the conventions that may govern behavior in certain specific intercultural environments, such as views on the role of women, or the license (or otherwise) permitted to children.
· Crucially, awareness of your own and other people’s beliefs and values, and a willingness to recognize when these may clash.
· Sensitivity towards cultural stereotypes that may affect and interfere with intercultural communication.
Once you have developed this knowledge and understanding, you can start to apply it to your communications across cultures and even languages. Some useful starting points may be:
Demonstrate your willingness to meet others at least halfway by learning a few phrases in their language. This is easy if you know that you’re going on holiday somewhere, but it’s also important for expatriate assignments and other business trips. A few phrases, even if it’s only ‘Good morning’, ‘good evening’, and ‘thank you’, will go a long way.
There are plenty of free language resources available on the internet so there is no excuse for ignorance.
Nelson Mandela once said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”
Talk to people who know the culture about common traps and problems. Before you go, find people who know the region to which you’re travelling, and ask their advice. Ask your co-workers what people commonly do that’s just ‘wrong’, or what problems they have encountered, and learn from it. Listen carefully to their answers, including what they don’t say, as this can tell you a lot.
Adapt your behavior, and don’t always expect others to adapt to you. This includes not being offended if someone unwittingly does something that you find difficult to accept. You don’t have to accept it, but it’s best to explain politely why you find it hard, not just go off in a sulk. Check your understanding and that of others. The best way to avoid misunderstandings is to listen carefully and check understanding regularly in the course of a conversation. Ask questions to make sure that you have understood and ask others to recap what you have said to ensure that they have understood you.
Don’t be afraid to apologize. You can usually see quite quickly if you have caused offence. The fastest way to manage that is to apologize and ask what it was that you did. A confession of total ignorance will often go a long way to mitigate offence. Ignoring it will just offend further.
Use local television to learn about behavioral issues and norms. You wouldn’t want to rely on television dramas as your only source of information, but they can provide useful insights. In the UK, for instance, Coronation Street or EastEnders could give you an idea of what’s considered acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Comedies are perhaps less reliable as they often use communication difficulties to generate laughs.
Reflect on your experience. As with so many aspects of life, a little reflection about your experience can help you to put it in context, especially if you are able to discuss it with someone else in a similar position.
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