Discuss about the Intercultural Business Communication for Cultural Stability.
Culture means the ideas, beliefs or values that are present in an individual, which becomes the basis of the action that is performed by these individuals. This is understood socially and has been instilled in the minds of every individuals, and this is how people perceive the world that is around them. Intercultural business communication is the study of communication in business environment consisting of both intercultural and cross-cultural aspects (McSweeney, 2013). An effective business communication which is pointed towards an intercultural audience will consist of a review process to eradicate the misunderstandings which occur due to cultural and linguistic differences. Cultural stability, attitude of people, composition and complexity are all factors which affect communication. Intercultural business communication occurs when two business of different cultures or people interact with each other (Zhou & Pilcher, 2018). These interactions become a major part of globalization and helps any business to expand. There are mainly three types of business cultures. First is the business roles which depicts that the differences in culture directly affects the way in which the affairs of a business are carried out by the individuals of that community (Martin & Nakayama, 2013). For example, there are many cultures which do not support the involvement of women and this biasness could also reflect in the business environment of that community. The second culture is the business law which is the way foreign laws affect the ways in which a business is conducted (Neuliep, 2017). It is very important for both parties to have a clear communication with each other about the laws that are prevalent in both the countries, so that no miscommunication occurs in the future. The third and final culture is that language is the barrier that occur due to the difference in language between the parties. Many a times businesses hire translators or interpreters o overcome these barriers (Piller, 2017). These are the three main kinds of cross-cultural businesses. This essay will discuss about the strengths and weaknesses of the large culture and small culture approaches and discuss on the different critiques of both the approaches. Furthermore, the essay will find recommendations on approaching the cultures in a business environment, followed by a conclusion.
There are two paradigms of culture in communications or intercultural communications. Large culture paradigm has a nature if being vulnerable to the cultures of different foreign students, educationalists or teachers. There are various arguments which state that large culture approaches can result in the reduction of overgeneralization and otherization if the various foreign students, societies and teachers. The concept of sub culture, even though a small phenomenon, is an important part of large culture, because it hints at something which is accommodating to national, international and ethnic cultures (Asante, Miike & Yin, 2013). In Chicago, the concept of sub-cultures have been interpreted as the social groups which deviate from the normative views of the matured and adult communities. These indifferent subsets that occur in the large culture is known as the onion skin relationship. Large culture is an essentialist idea which understands and points out the various essential differences that are present in national, international and ethnic concepts. The large culture has a notion to culturist as it starts with the view point of seeking out the differences in detail and explain the various behaviour of the terms. The large culture shows a picture of the social world which is termed as hard, especially in the national, international and ethnic concepts. With the change in time, both the culture will have a view of different paradigms and social world. In this context, the large culture paradigm will view a small, non-national or non-ethnic culture in terms of size of that culture, which might be a sub part of the large culture. There are various weaknesses or difficulties of the large culture. The concept of large culture supports the various areas of political interest. Among these, one important aspects is forming the concept of building a material nation. Finding similarities with the nation with various homogenous ideas of the large culture have supported the development of concepts of the European nations. However, it can be said in recent times, that the concept of an essentialist large culture is no more prevalent in European nations. Therefore, it is important to understand the more concrete or real concept of the large culture which is needed to evaluate the different essentialist concepts of intercultural communication. The new changes in the large culture shows the global hegemony that the wester large culture have extended over the developing world. The Western centre (large) culture have become an important aspect which represents this paradigm. However, there have been many criticism on this arguments, stating that the Western culture in itself is culturally diverse. Another weakness or criticism regarding the large culture paradigms that the world in itself is becoming a cosmopolitan or multi-cultural place where the cultures have less and less come to appear as large geographical concepts. Hence, it can be said from the above discussion about large cultures, that it is a prevalent idea in the nation, however, there have been many changes regarding the same which have led to the evolvement of the idea of this paradigm (Sahlins, 2013). The cultural learning in large cultures is often foreign driven. Since the large culture is always pointing towards a direction which deals with the larger aspect of the concept of culture relating to national, international and ethnic concepts, hence, it mostly directs it viewpoints in a broader aspect and does not concentrate on the changes in the society. The large culture is a completely different dimension from that of the small culture.
Hofstede's Cultural Dimension Model
There are different models of cultural dimension. In this study there will be two models which will be taken under consideration to understand the different dimensions and concepts of small and large culture. The first model is Hofstede’s Cultural Dimension Model. With the advent of technology, there have been increase in communication with time among the people different cultures. One aspect of the cultural diversity is the concept of building connections with people from all over the world. After collecting database form people globally Hofstede created five dimensions of culture. Firstly, was the power distance (PD) which referred to the amount of inequality that existed among the people regarding the individuals who had power and the individuals who did not have power. A high PD meant that the society was acceptable of the unequal distribution of power and that the people of the society understood their stand in the society and the system. Similarly, a low power distance meant that the power was distributed equally and that the members of the society thought themselves to be equal to each other (Dartey-Baah, 2013). Secondly, is individualism which meant that the people in a community were tied to each other. A high individualism in the community meant that the people had loose ties to each other and a low individualism meant that the people had a string bond with each other (Rienties & Tempelaar, 2013). Thirdly, masculinity meant that the people of the society struck with their views, beliefs and the traditional roles of the male and female members of the society (Samaha, Beck & Palmatier, 2014). Fourthly, uncertainty avoidance index measured the level of anxiety that the members of the society felt when an unknown or uncertain situation came in front of them (Li et al., 2013). Lastly, long term orientation meant that the society had great regard for the long term traditions and values that have been passed on from generations instead of the short term ones (Grimmelikhuijsen et al., 2013). For example, Hofstede derived that the population of United States and United Kingdom had a low long term orientation score which meant that they were open to any types of culture changes and that they did not value their traditional beliefs like the other countries and hence can allow their people to innovate new ideas and plans. The key finding of this model of cultural dimension is that the norms in a culture plays a major role in the interpersonal relations of the work environment. The culture that people grow up in, is taken for granted.
Apart from the Hofstede model of cultural dimension, there are other models which explains the different dimensions of culture such as Trompenaars model of cultural dimension. In this model there are seven dimensions of culture that distinguishes the preferences of the individuals of different cultures. The first and foremost dimension is Universalism versus Particularism or Rules versus Relationships. Universalism means that the individuals give high importance to rules and regulations, laws and values. They try to treat the people fairly based on the set rules and they value rules more than relationships. For example, Germany, Canada and Australia follow this culture. On the other hand, particularism means that the individuals believed that the relationships in their lives are more important than the rules. They respond to situation based on who is involved and what the circumstances are. Countries like China, Russia and Latin America are the ones who follow this culture among others (Andreouli & Dashtipour, 2014). The second dimension is Individualism versus Communitarianism or the Individual versus the Group. Individualism means that the individuals believe in freedom and achievement. They feel that one must take of himself and also make their own decisions. For example, Canada and Australia. Communitarianism, on the other hand, believes in the concept of groups and feel that a group would be able to provide safety and help if one is loyal to the group. They feel that groups are more important than an individual. For example, Africa and Japan (Bãlan & Vreja, 2013). The third dimension is Specific versus Diffuse. Specific means that the individuals are able to keep their professional and personal life separate. This is why they feel that the relationships in their life do not have an impact on their work life and that is why individuals will be able to work together even if they do not get along personally. For example, Switzerland and Germany. Diffuse means that the individuals feel that their professional and personal life overlap with each other. They feel that it is important to have good relationships with their colleagues and clients to reach their work objectives. For example, Scandinavia and the Netherlands (Awadh & Alyahya, 2013). The fourth dimension is Neutral versus Emotional. Neutral means that the individuals make a lot of effort to hide their emotions and they depend more on reasons to take their decisions rather than their feelings. For example, Switzerland and Germany. Emotional means that the individuals find different ways to express their emotions even at their work place, where showing emotions and feelings is acceptable. For example, China and Spain (Paulmann & Uskul, 2014). The fifth dimension is Achievement versus Ascription. Achievement means that the people in this culture value performance and their worth is based on the level of their performance irrespective of who the person is. For example, Canada and Australia. Ascription means that the individuals in this culture believes that people should be treated based on their power, title and position. For example, Japan and Italy (Paunova, 2015). The sixth dimension is Sequential time versus Synchronous time. Sequential time means that the individuals give major important to punctuality and planning and like it when events occur in a logical manner. For example, Germany and the United States. Synchronous time means that the individuals feel that the past, present and future are all interlinked to each other and they take up on several tasks at the same time because they feel that plans are moveable. For example, Japan and Argentina (Fabian, 2014). The last dimension is Internal direction versus Outer direction. Internal direction means that the individuals believe that they have control over the environment to achieve their goals. For example, New Zealand and Australia. Outer direction means that the individuals believe that the environment controls them. For example, China and Russia (Jucevicius & Juceviciene, 2015). This model can be used to understand the background of different individuals who come from different cultures, so that people can work with one another more efficiently and effectively.
Small culture paradigm attaches the culture to that if small gatherings in social context or to societal activities, where a cohesive behaviour exists and hence it helps to avoid any kind of stereotyping in ethnic, national, international or cultural context. The small culture approach aims to liberate the term culture to different views and ideas of ethnicity and the nation and the threats that they carry with them. Small culture, as opposed to large culture, do not have any onion skin relationship, as there are no sub sets present in the culture approach (Holliday, 2013). For example the small cultures such as schools, classrooms and other educational facilities can go beyond the boundaries of the large culture which can be the nation, where an international education culture exists. Hence, it can be said that small cultures can exist both within and between related large cultures. The small culture not only is a size smaller than the large cultures, but also presents a separate paradigm which looks at social gatherings. The small culture idea or view is non-essentialist which means that is does not relate to any cultures of ethnic, national or international context (Carbaugh, 2013). It only relates to the different social gatherings which may or may not have any subordination to the large culture. Therefore, it can be said that in the field of cultural research, small culture have a heuristic means of interpreting the concept of group behaviour. The small culture has a view point that leaves the while idea open, and aims to find soft cultures, as opposed to the hard culture of large cultures, in different social gatherings, which may or may not consist of any national, international or ethnic qualities. In the dimension of the small culture, the term culture depicts the composite of the cohesive behaviour which is present within any social grouping and does not differentiate the features of the national, international and ethnic groups. Small culture, unlike the large culture which deals with the national, international and ethnic aspect, can be a social group in the neighbourhood or even a work group (Dozier, Grunig & Grunig, 2013). There are many definitions of the term culture in different social groups. The Southallians viewed culture based on different aspects at different times and often dependent on the topic which ensured that it would be difficult to find the right notion of the term culture from the people. For example, there were many individuals among the Southallian adults who might belong to several communities at once, with each community possessing different cultures. They might be an individual who acts as a supporting member of the Muslim community and speak and act like a Muslim, however, in another context, they can take sides against other individuals of the Muslim community as a prevalent member of the Pakistani community, and on the third context can belong to the Punjabi community and exclude every other Muslims, and include Hindus, Sikhs or Christians in the group (McCroskey, 2015). Hence, the complexity that involves the small culture is a very important concept of the paradigm. Therefore, it can be said that small culture is a dynamic and ongoing group process which functions in the changing circumstances to make the group members find sense of the circumstances and find ways to operate in it. Small culture can be summed up as the total of all the activities and happenings which enables several set of people to habitually engage with each other. This is why small cultures contains the solutions to different social issues and helps solves them. Moreover, the people involved in the small culture are often skilled and active users, rather than passive cultural people.
Small and large cultures are all part of the intercultural dimension and these cultures can affect the business or workplace environment. Cultural diversity in the workplace can have both negative and positive impacts. The organization have to learn to bring together people of different cultures and get the work done efficiently. The benefits of cultural diversity comes into an organization when the people from different cultures bring about their own ideas and views and hence align them with each other for the benefit of the organization. Communicating with people from different background is an important part of a culturally diverse organization (Ferraro & Briody, 2013). The management needs to be aware of the diversity that is present within their teams so that they are able to communicate properly with their team members. People who work in a country where they do not belong to are often sensitive about their culture and tend to react when they feel that their culture is being oppressed. Hence, the organization should always behave in such a way that they do not hurt the sentiment of the people of the different cultures. Large culture concentrates on the people who come from different nations or ethnic backgrounds, whereas small culture concentrates in the people who belong to one nation but from different communities (French, 2015). Hence, it should be followed by every organization to keep their people happy and satisfied in the workplace.
Hence, it can be deduced that culture is a very important factor in the business environment and if people from different cultures and communities work together then it can have both a negative and positive impact on the business. The positive impact is that there could be an immense flow of innovative ideas and views whereas the negative impact is that the people can have clashes with each other in the workplace which could harm the work environment. It can also be said that large culture and small culture are completely two different cultural concepts which can also affect the intercultural communication. Large culture deals with a broader aspect of people whereas small culture deals with a smaller aspect of people.
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