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  1. 1. ES2002 Business Communication Intercultural Communication
  2. 2. Definition of culture <ul><li>“ Culture is the coherent, learned , shared view a group of people has about life’s concerns that ranks what is important, instills attitudes about what things are appropriate, and prescribes behaviour , given that some things have more significance than others.” </li></ul>Source: Beamer’s & Varner’s Intercultural Communication in the Global Workplace
  3. 3. Seven Years in Tibet
  4. 4. Photo by Cliff Wassman Clothing Food Behaviour Attitudes Values Beliefs Meanings Norms
  5. 5. “ Very often the way others do things is not different out of stupidity or carelessness or incompetence or malice … Most people do what seems the right thing to do at the time … And the judgment of what is right is rooted in beliefs, values, attitudes, as well as habit, tradition, and accepted norms.” Mole (1996)
  6. 6. Different cultural groups <ul><li>National </li></ul><ul><li>Ethnic group </li></ul><ul><li>Religious group </li></ul><ul><li>Gender </li></ul><ul><li>Economic </li></ul><ul><li>Profession </li></ul><ul><li>IMPORTANT </li></ul><ul><li>Statements made </li></ul><ul><li>mere generalizations </li></ul><ul><li>Norms of a culture </li></ul><ul><li>change </li></ul>
  7. 7. Outline <ul><li>Fundamental cultural orientations </li></ul><ul><li>Verbal communication </li></ul><ul><li>Nonverbal communication </li></ul><ul><li>Culture’s influence on written business communication </li></ul>
  8. 8. Fundamental cultural orientations <ul><li>How contexting and facesaving affect communication </li></ul><ul><li>How the individual is viewed in relation to the group </li></ul><ul><li>How time is perceived </li></ul><ul><li>How status is accorded </li></ul><ul><li>How decisions are made </li></ul>
  9. 9. Contexting and face saving <ul><li>Low context </li></ul><ul><ul><li>High reliance on verbal communication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Less reliance on non-verbal communication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Direct, precise, and explicit </li></ul></ul><ul><li>High context </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Low reliance on verbal communication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More reliance on context, nonverbal cues, implicit information shared </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Indirect and rather vague </li></ul></ul>High context – High face saving Low context – Low face saving Cultural orientations Contexting and face saving
  10. 10. Individual / group <ul><li>Collectivist </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The individual seen as part of the group </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>High degree of interdependence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Credit / blame goes to the group </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Individualist </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The individual takes centre stage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Independence highly valued </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A single person can earn credit / blame </li></ul></ul>Cultural orientations Individual / group
  11. 11. Time <ul><li>Polychronic-time cultures </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Time viewed as more fluid and strict schedules not observed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Preset schedules are subordinate to interpersonal relations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Monochronic-time cultures </li></ul><ul><ul><li>High emphasis on schedules, punctuality and promptness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Schedules take precedence over interpersonal relations </li></ul></ul>Cultural orientations Time
  12. 12. Status <ul><li>Ascribed by virtue of age, family background, profession </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Organizations more highly hierarchical </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Extensive use of titles </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Accorded based on individual achievements </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Organizations less hierarchical </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Titles used only when relevant to competence </li></ul></ul>Cultural Orientations Status
  13. 13. Decision making <ul><li>Discussing points </li></ul><ul><li>Seeking group consensus </li></ul><ul><li>Consulting organisations in negotiations </li></ul>Cultural orientations Decision making
  14. 14. Verbal communication <ul><li>Choice of words & expressions </li></ul><ul><li>Organisation of messages </li></ul><ul><li>Clarity of pronunciation </li></ul><ul><li>Ambiguous words </li></ul><ul><li>Unfamiliar words </li></ul><ul><li>Acronyms </li></ul><ul><li>Idioms </li></ul><ul><li>Slang </li></ul>
  15. 15. Non-verbal communication <ul><li>Body language </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Posture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Head movements </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Eye contact </li></ul><ul><li>Laughter </li></ul><ul><li>Touch </li></ul><ul><li>Physical space </li></ul>
  16. 16. Space between speakers Intimate Casual-personal Social-consultative Public Distance indicating degrees of intimacy Source: Goodman’s Working in a Global Environment
  17. 17. Non-verbal communication <ul><li>Tone, volume and speed </li></ul><ul><li>Turn-taking and silence </li></ul>
  18. 18. Culture’s influence on written business communication <ul><li>In most English- speaking countries – preferred writing style direct, clear and concise </li></ul><ul><li>In many oriental cultures – preferred writing style indirect </li></ul>In Japan – kishotenketsu organization Ki – the small talk Sho – raising the subject Ten – rolling the subject Ketsu – ending it beautifully
  19. 19. <ul><li>Mechanics and format also differ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How dates are written </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How names are written </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How addresses are written </li></ul></ul>Culture’s influence on written business communication