Intercultural communication is an integral factor that determines success in multinational corporations (Holliday, Hyde & Kullman, 2010). The scope of this current analysis is undertaken for a multinational corporation that is headquartered in Australia. The Company has operations in India, Vietnam, Oman and Nigeria. It is in the business of making agricultural equipment for catering to international and local customers. The company has over 8,000 employees spread across five countries with over a million customers present worldwide. Due to the broad spread of operation of the current organization, there are multiple communication challenges faced by it. The purpose of this analysis diagnoses the various intercultural communication challenges faced by the current organization (Chitakornkijsil, 2010). Intercultural challenge has surfaced within the organization due to ineffective usage of social media for the purpose of sharing ideas, building knowledge and managing tasks. Social media that are used are blogs, wikis and social networks. Moreover there is lack quality feedback obtained from clients regarding ways that can enhance product quality or service delivery. Misunderstanding and lack of trust have increased from intercultural communication prospects (Piller, 2017). Therefore, the scope of this report identifies intercultural communication challenges that are faced within the organization; hence strategies need to devise to allow overcoming of such challenges. The scope of this analysis identifies prominent issues that are faced by the organization in detail along with their detailed analysis and providing recommendations for overcoming the same. The report however does not include in-depth analysis of the problems by undertaking root-cause analysis pertaining to the same (Sadri & Flammia, 2011). The most integral part of the report outcome is the recommendations developed for culturally diversified branches of the company of overcoming their issues in communications. The structure of the report includes discussion of the issues with relevant literatures, then a brief summary for the whole report and finally recommendations that allow overcoming relevant challenges faced by the corporation.
Analysis of the Current Situation
The organization under analysis here faces immense intercultural challenges as operations of the corporation is based across various countries. Communication is an integral across various cultures and is considered to be important (Carbaugh, 2013). Communicating across cultures can raise a number of issues as there are language barrier. Every culture has different ways of communicating with some cultures having informal conversational methods with other cultures having formal modes for communicating. Intercultural communication encompasses nonverbal as well as verbal interactions between people from varied cultures. Intercultural communicational interaction requires people from other cultural or social groups to share information. In order that intercultural communication to be effective there is a need for understanding different cultures standards, customs, social mores and patterns. Moreover, intercultural communication skills need willingness to adopt and accept differences amongst various cultures.
The multinational organization in discussion in this context faces multitude of intercultural cultural challenges which needs to be overcome. The first issue is social media usage ineffective use of social media such as blogs, wikis, social networks to support teams in sharing ideas, building knowledge bases and task management. Neuliep (2017) evaluates effective intercultural skill being integral for working across multiple countries. Expatriates or employees working within corporations that are multinationals need to avoid misunderstanding related to other cultures. While dealing in cross cultural communications it becomes integral to make effective usage of social understanding and direct communication methods, however in this case no direct methods were considered to be incorporated rather indirect usage of social media was used. Usage of blogs, wikis and social networks is generally undertaken for sharing ideas when direct lines of communications are already present.
A corporation in order to be successful across varied cultures needs to apply direct communication methods. Direct channels of communications have various advantages in both verbal as well as non-verbal terms. In the current case the corporation did not apply ay direct methods of communications on the other hand made effective use of social media platforms to share information. Information that is shared across social media platforms can have varied meanings and interpretations that might pose difficulties in understanding, as every culture has their own interpretations and use of symbols. A sign that is considered to be positive in Australia might not be treated in a same manner in Indian conservative culture. similarly culture in Oman is quite contrasted as compared to culture present in Australia that offers wide range of challenge (Esser & Hanitzsch, 2013).
The second issue that is faced by the corporation is related to lack of quality feedback from clients on ways to improve product quality and service delivery. Customer feedback forms an integral aspect of everyday communication. It is through regular customer feedback that one is able to understand rating regarding a particular product, challenges faced and issues to be overcome (Samovar et al, 2014). Therefore for any multicultural organization to grow and develop their businesses across various countries need to adopt customer feedback system to allow continuous development and innovativeness in their products. Customer feedback system is possible in presence of steady lines of communications between various internal stakeholders of multinational operations. Scollon, Scollon and Jones (2011) stated that communication enables customers to provide feedback related to their products and services. But in present case it has nearly been established impossible to obtain any information related to customer feedback on any product sold by the company. Presence of steady lines of communication between customers and employees of the company ascertain success for the same. Ting-Toomey (2010) analyses ways in which presence of diversity within Multinational Corporation allows attending to customers. Therefore, such corporation generally employs local employees such that they can cater to local customers present there. However, in case of customer feedback system is absent then employees of the corporation will also be not ready to interact with customers. Customer feedback is a culture within an organization that allows employees of a company to interact with their customers on a regular basis. In presence of such a culture it becomes fairly accessible the demands of customers and their needs (Sharifian & Jamarani, 2013). The second issue faced by the corporation is graver compared to the previous issue that is being faced by the company.
Intercultural communicate on challenges faced by any multinational corporation has to be overcome effectively. The case presented here for a multinational corporation present enormous challenge related to intercultural communication where in the first instance there is absence of direct communication channels with the organization. The organization’s headquarters has no presence of direct methods of communications to interact with any other countries from its headquarters. Australia based headquarters believed in interacting with other employees of the organization by means of updating social media. Every culture has their own interpretation of language, symbols and signs hence there can be immense cultural misunderstandings in case direct communication channels is absent. A communication uploaded on the blog in Australia might be interpreted in a different method in Oman. On the contrary a social media upload made in Vietnam might be viewed and interpreted as something else in Australia. Such misinterpretations might deter effectiveness of working within the organization. Therefore, mounting amount of misunderstandings might have a negative influence on working of a particular branch of the organization as compared to another.
Second issue that is faced by the organization is related to absence of customer feedback. Customer feedback acts as an integral input mechanism for any company. Hence companies need to ascertain that they obtain regular customer feedback and attend to them. Then they need to integrate such feedback into their products and services such that they are able to improvise on them accordingly to meet demands of customers. But in absence of a feedback mechanism the whole effort might be deterred and customers will have no venue to express their grievances to. This is a grave challenge that the company is facing and can lead to declining sales, profitability and revenues for the current company.
Multinational corporation facing intercultural communication challenges need to devise strategies in order to overcome them. Intercultural challenges related to communications can be overcome in case there are strategies developed to overcome each and every issue that is faced by the organization. Strategies will allow extension of capabilities aimed at overcoming issues related to communication. Intercultural communication challenges primarily exist due to the presence of cultural differences amongst countries. In absence of such cultural differences there would have been no issues or challenges faced. Each culture has their own language and interpretation related to signs, symbols, arts and artifacts. When social media is used there might be use of arts and symbols which can create scope for misunderstandings amongst intercultural people present across the corporation. The current issues that has been discussed for the corporation has to be overcome such as to be able to apply appropriate communication methods. Some of the recommendations for the challenges faced are as follows, as per the issues;
Issue one—social media: Ineffective use of social media such as blogs, wikis, social networks to support teams in sharing ideas, building knowledge bases and task management.
A direct communication method as intranet should be developed. Instead of using indirect methods of communication as social media applying direct media channels will allow clear understanding related to the message. When a communication is made then there are three processes involved where sender sends the message and it is interpreted and received on the other side by the receiver. Presence of noise in between can disrupt the communication that has been made. In the current scope of intercultural communication, such noises may be created from differences in understanding of language, arts, and symbols and so on. Therefore, the corporation needs to aim at reducing such noise levels such that they are able to make use of direct communication.
Company headquarters in Australia need to develop and apply direct methods of communication. Such methods might include video conferencing, teleconferencing, and direct message sharing and so on. Such enhanced mechanisms can allow employees better understanding of thoughts and messages that are sending across by the corporation and then interpreting the same. There can be a feedback procedure accommodated into sending of such messages as well to ensure that the message has been transferred effectively.
Success or failure of this step will be measured by taking in feedback and reviews from employees. A key performance indicator (KPI) score will be developed that will allow measuring effectiveness associated with such techniques.
Issue two—feedback: Lack of quality feedback from clients on ways to improve product quality and service delivery.
Client feedback system should be installed and included. A customer feedback system along with a grievance cell will allow resolving the problem in a quick and effective manner. Customer’s opinion is crucial for developing products and services as per choices of customers; hence a customer feedback system has to be developed to allow for quality feedback. In absence of such feedback system there might be challenges faced by the company to cater to a particular market segment. A customer help line number of a customer written complaint receipt center will allow attending to customer issues. Moreover, in case the corporation can develop a call center that can get feedback from its customers on a regular basis will allow effectiveness of the business. Taking into consideration the various feedbacks submitted by the customer, it is possible to generate greater market share and revenue potential for the company.
Head office need to develop procedures that regional offices also need to apply related to client feedback system. All feedback of customers, genuine ones will be assembled and taken into consideration for review and then include them in product or service designing processes. Such dynamic mechanism for integrating customer feedback will allow success for the company and its procedures. Therefore, the company will have a grip over its customers and will be able to build a stable brand name in the country. There will be a possibility for building brand loyalty as well with customers developing confidence in the company.
Client feedback system effectiveness will be measured by means of customer satisfaction score and serviceability rates. Every large multinational corporation finds it crucial that they measure client satisfaction rates. Therefore, customer satisfaction scores allow the business to understand in detail its performances in regards to its competitors and itself in the past. This score helps measure customer confidence, brand loyalty, brand awareness and several other factors. Therefore it becomes integral to measure this score. For a customer feedback system the corporation can accommodate similar features of client satisfaction score.
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