Intercultural communication

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Intercultural communication

  1. 1. Intercultural Communication Øyvind Kalnes Held at the University of Wollongong 3. December 2007
  2. 2. Plan1. Some words on communication2. Culture and globalization3. Challenges and opportunities for the organization4. Intercultural competence and the dangers of “culturalism”
  3. 3. 1. Some words on communication
  4. 4. Communication• Any behavior that is perceived by another person• Verbal (spoken, written), non-verbal or graphic• Dynamic and interactive process of encoding and sending a message, as well as receiving and decoding it• Feedback: The receiver Feedback responds by encoding and sending a message to the sender. The roles are reversed
  5. 5. Transmission modelHow do you encode a message?Examples of channels and “noise”
  6. 6. A company using WWW as a channel
  7. 7. A speech … in a film..Who is the sender? What is his channel?What is his message? Who are the receivers?
  8. 8. Perception• The sender’s idea is not the same as what the receiver understands• Aspects of a message is selected (and others deselected), organized and interpretated, to find the meaning• Culture is regarded as a crucial in this process
  9. 9. 2. Culture and globalization
  10. 10. What is culture?• Learned behaviour• A deposit of collective knowledge accumulated over generations• Collective programming of the mind (Hofstede)Does it matter?• Always, although we often take it for granted.• But it is most visible under variation (fast changes and multiculturality)Analytical approach to organisations (KISS!):• As rational systems under stable and homogenous conditions• As natural systems under unstable and/or heterogenous conditions• As open systems considering internal characteristics, as well as environmental characteristics
  11. 11. Globalization• Migration leads to cultural diversity at home• Multinational companies operate in diverse cultures• Internationalization of trade makes for cultural diversity of overseas suppliers and customers• Traveling and media
  12. 12. Learning culture• Enculturation: Learning one’s own culture• Acculturation: Learning and adjusting to a “host culture”Culture as a condition for communicationIntercultural communication - Between individuals belonging to different culturesIntracultural communication - Between individuals belonging to different cultures
  13. 13. Culture creates Imagined communites• A cultural group is an imagined community• You feel part of a group, even though you have never met – and never will meet – most of the other individuals in that group• You imagine ”others” that are not part of the group (Benedikt Anderson)
  14. 14. Perspectives on culture• Ethnocentrism: The belief in the Ethnocentrism superiority of one’s own culture. “The other” should learn and adjust.• Cultural relativism: Each culture is as relativism good as the other culture. I should learn from and adjust to “the other”. Take up the White Man’s burden— And reap his old reward: The blame of those ye better The hate of those ye guard— Rudyard Kipling The White Mans Burden 1899
  15. 15. 3. Challenges and opportunities for the organization
  16. 16. Diversity in culture Hofstede’s cultural dimensions Power distance Individualism Uncertainty Masculine > collectivism avoidance > FemiNordic 6 2 6 6Germanic 5 4 3 1Anglo 4 1 5 2Latin Eur. 3 3 1 5Latin Am. 2 6 2 3Far East 1 5 4 4 Ronen and Shenkar’s Country Clusters using Hofstede’s Culture Dimensions. Numbers indicate country cluster’s rank
  17. 17. Migration 200 million international (first generation) migrants.  Cultural diversity in workforce  Multicultural competence Australia:  25% born overseas  140 different countriesTamils in a sea food factory in  85% of workplaces more thanNorthern Norway 4 nationalities Acculturation, as learning and adjusting to host cultures  Chinese in Australia differs from Chinese in the USA, in Singapore, as well as China. What are the challenges and opportunities for the multicultural organization?
  18. 18. Chelsea FC: 7 Brits, 14 nationalitiesOwned by Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich
  19. 19. Transnational companies 30,000 local restaurants in more than 100 countries. • Global branding and standards in products and organisation (“McDonaldization”, “McJob”) Versus • Adapting and adjusting to local culture in products and organisation
  20. 20. Glocalization: How can the global be local? Universalisation of the particularGlobalLocal Particularisation of the universal What were once the particular: • a product of “local” cultures (hamburgers, pizza, football, production norms, TV-soaps etc. Becomes universalised at the global level • But will still be adapted to local cultures or interpreted according to local culture.
  21. 21. 4. Intercultural competence and the dangers of “culturalism”
  22. 22. Dangers of “culturalism” Stereotyping  Human beings are individuals with • A capacity to act on a basis of independent reasoning • Multiple and changing identities Determinism  • Cultures develop and change through human interaction • Or it may be locked in through human interaction
  23. 23. Stereotyping “others”
  24. 24. Francis Fukuyama (1989): The End of History – (and Diversity?) The triumph of the West …can be seen also in the ineluctableThe final victory of liberalism spread of consumerist Western culture …1. Economy: The free market The end of history will be a very2. Politics: Representative sad time …daring, courage, democracy imagination, and idealism, will be replaced by economic calculation, the endless solving.... and  of technical problems ..the satisfaction of sophisticated consumer demands.
  25. 25. Samuel Huntington:The Clash of Civilizations (1993) "We know only who we are when we know who we are not and often only when we know whom we are against ….. The velvet curtain of culture has replaced the iron curtain of ideology”
  26. 26. Intercultural competenceKnow your own culture, as well as the “other” culture• Culture specific: Facts and information specific• Culture general: Awareness, flexibility, “other-orientation”Sensitivity  Success and cooperationInsensitivity  Failure and conflict
  27. 27. The wrong codebook
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