Cross-cultural communication involves diverse communication issues that arise in an institution as a result of a combination of individuals of different social, cultural, religious, education, and ethnic background (Lott, 2009). As people merge having a distinctive set of norms, experiences, and values, there is a likelihood of conflicts to arise. For such an organization to succeed, they have to come up with strategies in which they can resolve tensions and cultural-based conflicts within the institution, thereby bringing the intercultural communication barriers.
Understanding culture, ethnicity, religious diversity, sexual and gender identity and how they influence cross-cultural communication is vital in fighting cultural bias. Implementation of cross-cultural communication strategies and various legislation and policies has seen Australia create a culturally competent community.
Power and privilege of cross-cultural communication
How do you think and feel about what you have chosen to reflect on?
Cultural differences that people share such as the system of beliefs, social habits, attitudes, perceptions, values, worldviews, and language influences significantly how people relate or associate with one another (Lott, 2009). Effective communication is vital to the success of every relationship or the growth of an institution. I have learned that in every society, there is usually a group (s) that has more power and privilege over others- these groups in one way or another influence the manner in which the society carry out their activities.
For instance, in Australia, the Aboriginal community believe they have more power as compared to the non-Aboriginal people. As such, they influence to a greater extent the functioning of several organizations within the region (Smits, 2011). The same thing is felt in the broader Australian region whereby individuals from the Anglo-Christian background consider themselves to have a higher privilege than others. Therefore, I believe it is wrong for these groups to take advantage over the least members of the community through imposing their ideologies and values on them. I believe every member of the society has rights to express themselves and associates with one another without intimidation.
No person regardless of the position they hold in the community and the privileges they have is allowed to discriminate anyone either by age, sex, marital status, sexuality, religion, political divide, race, or intellectual/ physical impairment (Markus, 2014). It is disheartening and unfortunate when I meet people who use the power and privilege they have in harming others. However, I have understood that having power over others is a privilege that can be used positively in influencing co-existence within a diverse community.
How does what you learned help relate with other learning or life experiences?
The importance of understanding how to manage and enhance effective cross-cultural communication in a community cannot be overemphasized. Aesthetic value divergence, cultural nuances as well as language barriers create unintended misunderstandings among the people thereby causing conflicts (Presbitero & Attar, 2018). Through this course, I have understood how and why some people relate with others in a particular manner. For example, the concept of tokenism is widespread in some regions in Australia. People from the marginalized groups are being taken advantage of by individuals who feel they have power in their hands.
Most of the renown organizations hire only a few people from marginalized communities as a pretense of following the inclusion and diversity policies that fight against discrimination. Discrimination and harassment on the workplaces based on the religion, sexuality, values, and position that one holds in the society, has been on the high rise in recent years. However, through this course, I have come to appreciate the importance of the protective legislation and other policies that the Australian government has put into place to prevent discrimination within the community. No wonder the number of female workers and graduates is increasing day by day in Australia (Chisari, 2015). By following the concepts learned from this unit and implementing them practically, it would go a long way in enhancing cross-cultural communication and relationships.
It’s crucial to come into terms with the implications of cross-cultural communication in the future, especially in the field of business. The culture of a country influences greatly the manner in which the institution performs its duties. The decision-making process, for instance, relies on the cultural values of the people. Factors such a power distance, individualism, uncertainty, and masculinity are linked closely with cultural diversity (Yoo, Donthu, & Lenartowicz, 2011). Therefore, proper use of power and privilege in cross-cultural communication will act as a lubricant, resolving possible conflicts and mitigating frictions within the community. It will also improve team collaboration and unite diverse ethnicity and races together through the creation of a solid virtuous circle containing real synergy effect (Presbitero & Attar, 2018).
How does this learning add value to you?
The knowledge which I have obtained from this unit on managing multicultural and diversity has helped me gain deep insight into the working of a society with a diverse number of people. Australia is a country that has numerous people of different background some from foreign countries. The beliefs, values, lifestyle, and etiquette of all these people vary which in turn impact on their styles of communication. For instance, Australia is regarded as a low culture context nation their mode of communication mainly being a verbal expression.
On the other hand, China is a high context nation relying more on non-verbal cues (Korac-Kakabadse, Kouzmin, Korac-Kakabadse & Savery, 2001). Through this unit, I have gained the much-needed understanding of appreciating the values of everyone and being able to accommodate them. Also, have understood that if power and privilege are used in the right way, they will bring people together and create a peaceful co-existence.
Through self-awareness and investing in cultural competence development, it is possible to establish valuable relationships with people, thereby leading to the growth of the entire society (Fantini, 2000). Cultural diversity is everywhere, from the workplaces, schools, and places you attend daily. Therefore, I have learned crucial life skills and strategies that have helped me to cope with every kind of individual despite their different values. The same technique (cultural competence) if employed in organizations, it will not only create a productive working relationship for the staff but also establish a transformation awareness of the whole society in the long-run.
What does this learning tell you about you?
Through this learning on managing multiculturalism and diversity, it has taught me the significance of appreciating everyone irrespective of their ethnic background, race, or sexuality. We are all created uniquely, and we do not have control over the region or country in which we are born. Even though the majority of the indigenous people in Australia are the Aboriginal, the lessons have learned from this course, has helped me to value every individual whether they are Aboriginal or not (Kramar, 2012). Before, I used to feel that since I have many privileges as compared to some students and my peers, then I could indirectly take advantage of them. For instance, our intellectual capability differs and the perception of life depending on how we have been raised and our culture.
Therefore, the spirit of inclusion (Moran, 2011) for all people has been imparted on me after going through this course. Am grateful to my lecturer that I got a chance to learn from him concerning this issue of cross-cultural communication. Managing culturalism and diversity is a weighty matter that needs to be addressed in Australia and globally. It has made me a better person, and my relationship with other people has improved significantly.
Chisari, M. (2015). Testing citizen identities: Australian migrants and the Australian values debate. Social Identities, 21(6), 573-589.
Fantini, A. E. (2000). A central concern: Developing intercultural competence. SIT Occasional Paper Series, 1, 25-42.
Korac-Kakabadse, N., Kouzmin, A., Korac-Kakabadse, A., & Savery, L. (2001). Low-and high-context communication patterns: towards mapping cross-cultural encounters. Cross-cultural management: An international journal, 8(2), 3-24.
Kramar, R. (2012). Diversity management in Australia: a mosaic of concepts, practice, and rhetoric. Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, 50(2), 245-261.
Lott, B. (2009). Multiculturalism and diversity: A social psychological perspective (Vol. 3). John Wiley & Sons.
Markus, A. (2014). Attitudes to immigration and cultural diversity in Australia. Journal of Sociology, 50(1), 10-22.
Moran, A. (2011). Multiculturalism as nation-building in Australia: Inclusive national identity and the embrace of diversity. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 34(12), 2153-2172.
Presbitero, A., & Attar, H. (2018). Intercultural communication effectiveness, cultural intelligence, and knowledge sharing: Extending anxiety-uncertainty management theory. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 67, 35-43.
Smits, K. (2011). Justifying multiculturalism: Social justice, diversity and national identity in Australia and New Zealand. Australian Journal of Political Science, 46(1), 87-103.
Yoo, B., Donthu, N., & Lenartowicz, T. (2011). Measuring Hofstede's five dimensions of cultural values at the individual level: Development and validation of CVSCALE. Journal of International Consumer Marketing, 23(3-4), 193-210.