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Understanding Cultural Diversity and Communication Challenges

Question:

Discus about the Teaching Culture and Intercultural Competence.

Cross-cultural communication is a type of communication that deals with how different people from different cultures communicate or speak with each other and understand the world surrounded by them (Bochner 2013). Cross-cultural communication is important in the context of global business, as one has to understand the cultural values and communication strategies of other culture for conducting business in global scale (Bowe, Martin and Manns 2014). However, it is a particular field of study, which can be called as cross-cultural management.

The purpose of this report is to provide advice to a businessperson who is conducting business in Australia. The businessperson wants to communicate effective with the culture of England. This report will cover the differences of two the culture that creates some challenges in case of effective cross-cultural communication. Then, the report will search for   some potent recommendations that will portray how to bridge the differences in cross-cultural communication. The report will also provide the high and low context differences in cultural communication, the relevant concept and its application, elements of international behavior in the Australian culture, identification of the cultural implications for intercultural business interactions, the influential factors in this context and the influence of it on cultural values.

Australian people generally speak in English; however, twenty aboriginal languages still exist in Australia. Australia is a multi-cultural and multi-faith society. It has habitants of aboriginals, people of Irish and British descendents, migrated people from Europe, Netherlands, Lebanon, turkey and Yugoslavia. However, it is a mixed culture. In case of business etiquette and customs, Australians are very direct, the way they effectively communicate. The element of humor is present in their communication. In case of business meeting, Australians prefer appointment and comparatively easy schedule (Wiewiora et al. 2013). Australians like punctuality in business meetings. Australians like little talk in decision-making and negotiation, which is proceeded quickly. In Sydney and Melbourne, the business dress is quite conservative. Men wear dark-colored business suit while women wear smart business suit (Commisceo-global.com  2017). However, in tropical areas or Brisbane, the business dress is not so restricted. At the initial process of business communication, business card is exchanged, though it is not a formal ritual in business communication.

The English people mostly speak in English and the dominant religion is Christian. In England, the dominant ethnic group is English. The cultural diversity is much less in England than Australia. It is important to know the person is from England or Ireland and communicate according references. Their communication style is direct and they demand some distance while communicating. Punctuality is very important to them. They put emphasis on absenteeism and not missing deadlines (International.gc.ca 2017). The humorous way of speaking in business communication is not allowed. They like formal way of speaking. As a whole, the British people are very reserved; however, it is important to acknowledge this fact. 

Cultural Differences in Australia and England

There are some cultural differences in Australia and England. The differences may lead to communication gap while conducting business between Australia and England. These could be the communication challenges faced by the person who is conducting business from Australia. Though the two nations share common language in speaking, some words have different meaning in two nations. The businessperson should know this difference; otherwise, it will be very difficult for him to communicate. For example, in Australia, the word pumps means women’s heel while in England it is sneakers. There are also other words like thongs, avro or afternoon; the meaning of the words is different in different context.

 Australia is very diverse country while England is not so diverse. A kind of cultural rigidity regarding the higher and lower diversification may appear due this difference. The other differences may occur due to application and allowance of humor in speaking. As the Australians are generally humorous in their speaking and the English are very formal speaker, therefore a communication gap may appear due to this. As the British people are quite reserved than the Australians who are much friendlier and to some extend casual in their communication, the Australians should be careful while talking to anyone who is from England.

The businessperson while conducting a business from Australia to England should overcome the communication challenges. Here the basic challenges in cross-cultural communication, which understands about the cultural diversity and difference in business customs. However, there is no such language difference in two countries but some words have different meaning altogether.

There may appear nonverbal cultural differences, which is mainly the gestures and eye contact (Carbaugh 2013). The difference is that Australians are less formal and much humorous than the British. The communication challenges may appear from high and low-context culture. Both Australia and England are in low-context culture that is business in these two places have individualistic and direct employees who have chance to take the decisions based on facts. This kind of businessperson demands specific noted in contracts.

Australia has low level of power distance in cross-cultural communication while England has much higher in power distance. The power distance, this establishes a hierarchy in an organization or state (Guffey and Loewy 2012). The difference of power distance may appear as one of the challenges in cross-cultural communication between Australia and England.

The modern technology and Internet have accelerated the new marketplaces, which allow promoting the businesses to new locations and cultures. Cross-cultural communication focuses on this. It has become important for the companies to maintain a cross-cultural communicational environment in the workforce due to heavy growth technology, global business and the internet (Hurn and Tomalin 2013). It is now extremely significant to understand the cross-cultural communication for the diversified workforce nature. It deals with different business beliefs, customs, and the communication strategies. The major factors are Language differences, nonverbal differences, high and low-context cultures, and the power distance.

Overcoming Communication Challenges

To overcome the cross-cultural communication challenges one needs to accept the cultural diversity. Without involving into the cultures and the sub-cultures, it is rather most significant for businesspersons to accomplish that a basic knowledge and understanding of the cultural diversity could be the key to have effective cross-cultural communication. We need to learn how we can communicate effectively with individuals or groups whose language does not match with ours (Hurn and Tomalin 2013).

It is necessary to develop awareness about individual culture. One should show respect the norms and rituals of the other culture and follow it accordingly. There should be different time zones in different places. One needs to be careful about the time zones while conducting the business. The reactions and the behaviors of the human being are driven by the culture (Kramsch 2013). They may not be matched with our culture; however, it is important to show full respect to the other person’s reactions and behaviors, as they also are culturally appropriate.

Mutual acceptance of the two cultures is important as it allows the communication exchange fluidly. This path of open-mindedness and acceptance leads to the two cultures to be exposed to each other. Mutual acceptance of the other culture’s norms and values and the vice-versa help to communicate effectively. Courtesy and goodwill are also important while deal with people from different culture. It is the way to ensure successful communication.

For cross-cultural communication, it is important to keep the communication simple, clear and unambiguous.

As the humor is very culture specific, it is important to use humor cautiously. Many things, which can be passed as a humor in particular culture, may be seen it as offensive in another culture (Samovar et al. 2015).

The case study situation where one businessperson in Australia is searching for advices to conduct business communication in England will show the methods and means of effective communication for business. For having effective business communication in this context, the businessperson of Australia should remember that he or she has to understand the cultural diversity in England. The cultural diversity is much vivid in Australia than England. However, the businessperson should understand the way of communication and the meaning of particular words in England and communicate accordingly (Thomas and Peterson 2017). Even, he or she has to show respect to the cultural values and the reactions and behaviors of the other culture while conducting the business.

Effective Communication Methods

There should be an open-mindedness to accept the other culture and its norms and specifications. Creating the acceptance for the other’s cultural values one creates goodwill and shows courtesy to the other culture (Ting-Toomey 2012). This helps in effective communication. The communication barrier can be removed in this way. The communication process should be clear and to the point. It should be unambiguous and simple, which helps to develop an effective and transparent communication.

As the same words create different meaning in two nations, the businessperson should be careful while using these words. The businessperson should not use Australian words in the context of English meaning. He or she should use the appropriate words in appropriate place. The businessperson should be very careful while use humors in speaking. The Australians like humors, however, the British does not like humors in official communication. The businessperson should be aware of the power distance and the low-context cultural methods while conducting his or her business in England.

It is recommended to the Australian businessperson to conduct business in an effective way while removing the communication barriers. The communication barrier can be erased by keeping the major factors of communication challenges in this context. He or she should be careful in using the words, which carry a specific meaning in specific culture. The style and way of communication should be followed by the English norms while communicating. There should be an open window to accept the cultural diversity and differences of the other culture. However, in this way, an effective communication can be built between two cultures.

Conclusion

It can be concluded by saying that cross-cultural communication has been becoming a significant way to conduct business globally. The businessperson should be careful in cross-cultural communication while conducting business in England. However, he or she should know the other culture well and accept the diversity factor for effective communication. Without effective communication, it is not possible to conduct business in other countries.

References 

Bochner, S. ed., 2013. Cultures in contact: Studies in cross-cultural interaction (Vol. 1). Elsevier.

Bowe, H., Martin, K. and Manns, H., 2014. Communication across cultures: Mutual understanding in a global world. Cambridge University Press.

Carbaugh, D., 2013. Cultural communication and intercultural contact. Routledge.

Commisceo-global.com, C., Guide, A. and Guide, A. (2017). Australia - Culture, Customs and Etiquette. [online] Commisceo-global.com. Available at: https://www.commisceo-global.com/country-guides/australia-guide [Accessed 27 Sep. 2017].

Guffey, M.E. and Loewy, D., 2012. Essentials of business communication. Cengage Learning.

Hurn, B. and Tomalin, B., 2013. Cross-cultural communication: Theory and practice. Springer.

International.gc.ca (2017). [online] Available at: https://www.international.gc.ca/cil-cai/country_insights-apercus_pays/overview-apercu_gb.aspx?lang=eng [Accessed 27 Sep. 2017].

Kramsch, C., 2013. Teaching culture and intercultural competence. Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Samovar, L.A., Porter, R.E., McDaniel, E.R. and Roy, C.S., 2015. Communication between cultures. Nelson Education.

Thomas, D.C. and Peterson, M.F., 2017. Cross-cultural management: Essential concepts. Sage Publications.

Ting-Toomey, S., 2012. Communicating across cultures. Guilford Press.

Wiewiora, A., Trigunarsyah, B., Murphy, G. and Coffey, V., 2013. Organizational culture and willingness to share knowledge: A competing values perspective in Australian context. International Journal of Project Management, 31(8), pp.1163-1174.

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