Analysis of the Intercultural Communication Impact in the Contemporary World
The term intercultural communication refers to a type of communication, which has an overall objective of sharing information between different social groups and cultures within the community. The notion of intercultural communication can be used to describe various rules that are usually followed during the process of actual communication. Furthermore, intercultural communication is usually heavily linked to various aspects concerning an individual as well as the entire society. These include such aspects as the difference in religious backgrounds, ethnicity, educational background, and the social aspect of a person or the community. In brief, the intercultural communication is usually intended for helping the community and other people understand how different cultures and countries act when they are carrying various activities. For instance, the concept is highly critical during the evaluation of the communication process. This paper seeks to discuss the issue of intercultural communication and its relevance in society.
From another perspective, intercultural communication seeks to explain how to determine the culture of people in the long run. Majority of the people in different sectors such as in the business community define intercultural communication as an aspect that helps to define how messages are encoded. This includes the medium that is used to define them. Besides, it also defines how such messages are taken through the interpretation process for effective communication to be realized. However, it is important to note that different people come up with different ways of interpreting the concept of intercultural communication. There are those who argue that intercultural communication should be distinguished from the cross-cultural communication through the application of the semantic distinction. In this case, the concept of intercultural communication is usually used to define the form of interaction that exists between different people that come from varying cultures.
On the other hand, the term “cross-cultural communication” refers to the action of comparing people that belong to different cultures. At the same time, it is also important to note that intercultural communication can also be defined using the interactional patterns that depict dynamism. Therefore, it seeks at evaluating what really takes place when people from different cultures meet and interact. Definitely, this means that there are various cultural “frames” that are usually generated during the process of making such interactions in the long run. For instance, there are various themes that entail such aspects as the capability of understanding each other, coming to an agreement, as well as adaptation to or isolation from various cultural issues. Apart from that, the interaction may also lead to the emergency of a culture that is completely different from the initial cultures. In short, the concept of intercultural communication entails the use of various aspects pertaining to different cultures. For instance, some of these factors include the international communication, “cross-cultural communication,” and developmental communication.
Therefore, to determine various aspects concerning culture, it will be imperative to carry out a deeper analysis of the intercultural communication. As such, various aspects concerning intercultural communication will be analyzed. This includes the description of its features and highlighting the importance of the intercultural communication. Furthermore, the paper will also give examples of how the effects of the intercultural communication are experienced in real life. A book written by James W. Neuliep will be used throughout the research as a major reference.
Aspects of the Intercultural Communication
Intercultural communication is a very important issue especially when evaluating various aspects that revolve around it. According to the research of Neuliep, there are various factors that are used to define the concept of intercultural communication (Neuliep 34). They include such aspects as the micro culture, environmental culture, perceptual contexts, sociorelational culture and the culture of the interacting people. It is imperative to note that the aforementioned factors are highly important especially to determine successful traits of communication. In most cases, it can be depicted through either nonverbal or verbal communication or even both (Neuliep 41). However, each of the intercultural communication factors is mostly determined by such aspects as the body language, word exchange, eye contact, and the relationship stages. Furthermore, they can also be determined by other factors such as the presence of the cultural shock and the intercultural conflict.
The Cultural Versus the Intercultural Communication
The cultural aspect is one of the most important factors whenever an intercultural communication takes place. First, whenever the term culture is used, the most common picture to be created is the social interaction process that emanates from the evaluation process. First, it is imperative to understand that the cultural concept is highly significant especially when people from different backgrounds interact. For instance, the culture plays a very important role in determining how the two groups of people or parties will interact later. First of all, it is worth noting that a lot of cultural barriers create more hindrances towards the effective integration of the different groups or individuals (Pagani 54). In fact, the more variable the cultural factors are, the less likely it is that the process of intercultural communication will be efficient. Nevertheless, there are certain factors that can be used to improve the process of intercultural communication. For instance, the two interacting individuals can decide to open more and become accommodative enough towards each other. As such, the process of intercultural communication will be made simpler. Hence, the individuals will be able to learn from each other, thus, improving the overall level of integration.
The Environmental versus the Intercultural Communication
The environmental factor is also very important as far as effective intercultural communication skills are concerned. First, it is imperative to understand what the term environment means in the context of human interaction and behavior. The term environment may be used to refer to the various external factors that an individual faces during the interaction process. In this case, the environmental factors may either help improve or deteriorate the interaction process. For instance, one of the situations where people are faced with challenges during the interaction process is a multicultural setting. In the contemporary world, people travel a lot and live in an environment that has completely different cultural practices than the ones they have back in their native countries (Ting-Toomey and Chung 67). Therefore, they are presented with a completely different environmental condition that determines their process of interaction in the long run. For instance, the environmental factors are highly instrumental especially in trying to determine the speed of intercultural communication process. As a result, the environmental factor is presented as one of the main factors that determine the success of the integration process. Therefore, it is imperative to mention some of the factors that are deemed important especially in defining the intercultural communication environment (Neuliep 43). For instance, the concept of multiculturalism is perceived as one of the environmental factors that can determine the overall success of the integration process. For instance, if the multicultural factor does not favor the visitor, then they will most likely experience challenges during the integration process. On the other hand, the individuals that find it easy to assimilate the new cultures are able to integrate into the intercultural communication process.
On the other hand, the learning process is deemed to be another important factor that defines the pace of intercultural communication. The intercultural communication is usually a highly sensitive factor whose success depends on the process of learning of an individual (Neuliep 53). In case a person is a fast learner when it comes to the adaptation to new cultural practices, then he/she would be able to adapt to such practice with much ease. Some of the factors that the person should consider include the aspects that can hinder the effective development of a learning environment.
Apart from that, the culture itself is another important aspect that is deemed vital during the process of creating a more conducive environment for the intercultural communication and integration to take place. At this juncture, the cultural aspect is said to be greatly interrelated with the environmental factor in that it has the potential and capability of affecting the effective process of service delivery (Pagani 29). People are likely to be affected when it comes to interacting with the rest of the community members. The person may feel alienated in such circumstances especially if he/she feels that the cultural practices are completely different from those that they practice back at home.
Lastly, the communication process is also deemed to be another important aspect that determines the condition of the international environment. It defines the rate at which the person is able to adapt to a new culture. The effective communication means that the intercultural communication process will be highly effective especially in the long run. In fact, the communication process is deemed to be one of the most important factors that determine the effectiveness of intercultural communication. Effective implementation of proper and effective procedures will enhance the process of adaptation to new cultures. First, the communication process is deemed to be the most important factor that determines how conducive is making the cultural integration process a reality.
The Perceptual Contexts versus the Intercultural Communication
Perpetual context refers to the process by which an individual can gradually adopt other cultural aspects that are different from their own. This is one of the most important factors especially when it comes to improving the level of intercultural communication integration. For instance, a person may learn to interpret similar and different aspects based on the environment he/she is in. On the other hand, it is imperative to mention that the process of cultural integration is a process that requires thinking broadly and extensively. Furthermore, the person must be able to carry out an effective classification of the important information into different distinct groups in such a manner that any required information can be easily retrieved. However, it is also important to note that the perceptual context may have some negative consequences such as the discrimination of the community members. In this case, they will be able to behave in a discriminatory manner and have a negative attitude towards the minority groups in terms of race and ethnicity among other factors. Apart from that, there may also be the growing tendency of favoritism where different groups tend to favor members coming from the groups they belong to (Gudykunst and Bella 34). In fact, this has acted as one of the factors that create more rifts during the process of intercultural communication and integration. On the other hand, there is also a tendency of storing some amount of information on a permanent basis. As such, the move has made the process of integration even harder. Some useful information that the majority of people may want to know might remain hidden. In such a situation, the person will always feel alienated and will be slow to accept the process of intercultural communication and integration.
The Sociorelational versus the Intercultural Communication
What is a sociorelational context? The concept refers to the process of cultural integration whereby different members of the society are able to make the process of integration much harder, slowing down the process of intercultural communication. In fact, the term sociorelational refers to the way in which the different societal members inflict damage to the communication process either intentionally or not. In brief, the concept is used to determine and evaluate the self-perception, as well as define other communication factors. In fact, the concept is almost similar to the “social identity theory.” Therefore, in order to create a good intercultural communication and integration, the company needs to create a good and effective system that will enhance the process of social integration. Furthermore, a person must also be willing to open up in order to create a conducive environment for sociorelational development. In fact, it would be de difficult for a person to be integrated and assimilated fully.
However, there are certain aspects that should be mentioned before the actual process of integration is put into action. First, a person must be able to identify the social group that he/she can fit in. Here, he/she should consider a lot of factors that will determine his/her rate of success especially in regard to the assimilation of new sociocultural practices (Piller 76). Some of the factors a person should consider include the racial aspect, religious affiliation, political affiliation, nationality, and sexual orientation among other key factors. For instance, in case a person feels comfortable associating with people of certain political orientation or affiliation, he/she should ensure that he/she spends most of his/her time with this group of people. As a result, the person will find the process of integrating into other cultures easier.
Another important aspect that is worth considering is the identification of the role that one intends to play. For instance, the person should be free to choose the role he/she wants to play. Some of the factors that the person should especially consider during such a moment include the stage of personal relations, formality, hierarchy, and the level of deviation in relation to the enactment of the role he/she is supposed to play. However, such a person should be able to consider another important factor that is related to the identification of the relationship that the person wants to create with the immediate group of people (Pagani 67). The careful reevaluation of such factors is highly important especially in trying to hasten the process of intercultural integration. On the other hand, the person will also be able to improve the overall state of multicultural integration process. Furthermore, he/she will be able to make careful calculations whenever they want to ensure a more advanced cultural integration. For instance, in case the person wants to associate with an African American, he/she must be ready and willing to learn from the members of the given society at the initial level. Furthermore, the person must be willing to ask regular questions pertaining to their way of life. The move will help him/her not to slumber when the actual cultural integration process will take place. Besides, he/she may end up learning various cultural practices of different members of the society.
Importance/Significant of the Intercultural Communication
Intercultural communication can also be referred to as the cross-cultural communication. Therefore, it becomes a very important tool as a far as studying of various cultural differences that exist between different groups is concerned. Furthermore, the intercultural communication is highly important especially in trying to ensure a harmonious working conduct (Piller 56). This is especially very important in workplaces where the workforce is composed of members of diverse origins, ethnicity and religious backgrounds.
The intercultural communication is also highly important when trying to create an effective exchange program especially in the international arena. As a result, the process of integration is depicted through the creation of a meaningful exchange program that is not ambiguous at all. Therefore, people from different cultures will be able to depict mutual respect while at the same time minimizing the antagonism towards each other. In order to promote intercultural integration, there are certain factors that must be observed throughout the integration process. For instance, the culture must be promoted as a system that enables the pure integration of various social processes while at the same time observing such factors as the shared values, expectations, symbols, attitudes, beliefs, behaviors and norms. As a result, the intercultural integration becomes a very important factor that helps ensure harmony between various communities. It does not matter whether such communities have divergent views about different processes and phenomena of life as long as they share the basic life values.
In brief, the intercultural communication process is said to be a process that enhances the process of social integration. As such, it improves the overall communication as well as transportation technology during the integration process. It also helps unprepared individuals have an advanced knowledge about the initial situation and the ways of reacting to different situations that they face along the way (Pagani 89). Normally, the society has a lot of unstructured situations that may end up causing a lot of disruptions in the normal integration process. For instance, the internet system has to some extent created a disruption in the sociocultural integration. Here, most of the community members prefer accessing most of the important information through the integrated technological systems. This reduces the chances of sociocultural integration. Therefore, encouraging people to embrace the process of sociocultural integration is the only process that can help create a mutual working and socializing condition.
On the other hand, the integration process is also deemed important especially in terms of globalization. Currently, it is highly common to find a workplace that is comprised of workforce from different cultural backgrounds. Definitely, the situation calls for the enactment of strong corporative grounds. As such, the intercultural communication skills become highly vital especially when trying to create a friendlier working environment. Here, the employees are asked to promote a mutual working environment whereby everyone is given the due respect according to his/her beliefs and life values. Furthermore, it is imperative to note that such diverse society has members that have different religious background and cultural beliefs. Therefore, it will be imperative to create a neutral ground that would make everyone feel appreciated.
Apart from that, the intercultural communication is also highly important especially in promoting the process of intensified global integration. Currently, more and more nations continue forming economic partnership programs that can enhance the process of social integration. Such processes call for the development of an equal platform that will deal with how all societies and nations involved will benefit from such agreements. As such, the importance of the intercultural integration is evident (Piller 21). Here, the nations are forced to develop a parallel program that would see that there is a slow process of social integration among the citizens of the member states. As a result, the move will help ensure that the already realized gains are not reverted by the negative forces of social disintegration. On the other hand, a similar situation is observed in most multinational corporations. Despite the fact that the majority of them are headquartered in most of the developed countries, it is imperative for the management team to understand that they operate in different cultural environments. As such, they also need to adopt the concept and principles of intercultural communication skills.
Uses of Intercultural Communication
Intercultural communication is used at the workplace. Since the world has become a global place, many companies and enterprises are trying to ensure that everyone at the workplace knows that their customer base is international. To be able to meet this demand, the employers are looking for individuals who at least know more than only one language used as national. This has created a wide market for colleges and universities to teach individuals different international languages.
Culture influences the way an individual communicates and behaves. What some cultures may consider as communicating effectively may be seen as an inappropriate way of communicating by another culture. These differences result in lack of effective integration at the workplace for workers or creation of environments where individuals come from different cultures. This shows why intercultural communication is essential for interaction between people of different cultures.
Breaking down the barriers is another field of application of intercultural communication. Each individual has a number of barriers which include prejudices, preconceptions and stereotyping. These aspects make it hard to understand another person. Intercultural communication presents all cultures in a way that people can understand without judging different cultures. When people learn about other people’s cultures, the existing barrier is reduced leading to good relationships between people from different cultures.
Intercultural communication is used for building trust. When the barriers existing between people are reduced, the respect and appreciation of other people’s culture results in the development of trust. Trust helps people cooperate and work together efficiently to achieve greater productivity.
Motivation is another way in which intercultural communication is used. One of the results of intercultural communication is people becoming more accountable and reliable at their workplaces. A person is able to identify on his/her own the areas that require being changed or improved.
Open horizons also require intercultural communication to be used. Problems at the workplace are addressed by means of using intercultural communication through innovative methods, and motivating people as a way of solving arising issues which helps individuals to be creative when facing problems.
Intercultural communication is used to develop interpersonal skills of individuals. A person with the knowledge of intercultural communication is able to appreciate and deal with the needs of other people with the required level of sensitivity.
Intercultural communication is used for romance. When it comes to matters of love, an individual falls for another person disregarding what the other one speaks about. It is all dictated by the hearts of the individuals. Sometimes an individual goes to a foreign country for the purposes of learning or even business and ends up falling in love. The first thing to do would be to learn the language spoken by their beloved person so as to facilitate easy communication and manifestation of their love.
When exclusion from communication is needed intercultural communication is also used. This is one way a language can be used in a negative way. This is done through discrimination and racism. People speaking a certain language use it when speaking in the presence of a third party whom they want to have no idea of what they are talking about.
Communication for development is another way in which intercultural communication is used. This is a way of facilitating development socially by using intercultural communication. This involves the engagement of stakeholders together with the makers of policies. The aim of communication for development is to establish an appropriate environment for interaction, assessing the risks involved during interacting, identifying opportunities that may emerge from the communication and promoting the exchange of information to facilitate change by developing methods that can be sustained.
International communication requires the use of intercultural communication. This is the type of communication which takes place between countries with an aim of having business or government’s relationships. Governments use help of people who can negotiate deals for them and the ones who know the language of the countries offering the deals. The other option is availing translators whenever a business or government transaction is being discussed between nations.
Another form of communication that requires intercultural communication is cross-cultural communication. This is where we consider how people from different cultures communicate among themselves and how they communicate with personalities from other cultures. The world is becoming a global village at a very fast rate. With this in mind the importance of intercultural communication cannot be underestimated.
The knowledge of an intercultural language enhances trading activities and relations among various countries as a result of communication. The words one may end up using might offend the listener. The shortage in familiarity with someone else’s culture can cause embarrassment leading to an inconclusive elapse of business negotiations or making agreements rendered impossible.
Intercultural communication is very relevant to be used for greetings. People use intercultural communication when it comes to greeting one another. This implies that different people from different cultures learn other people’s cultures so as to be better acquainted on how to approach them and greet them without being offensive.
Making introductions is another way individuals incorporate the use of intercultural communication. People use intercultural communication to introduce themselves to others during a meeting or in a social gathering since they are not fully aware of all the people in the audience hence to accommodate them all, the use of intercultural communication is necessary.
When holding a conversation, the recipient of information gives feedback using intercultural communication. This is the process by which the person speaking gets information from the person listening on how the listener has understood the information provided by the person who is speaking. There are two ways of giving feedback, the verbal way and the use of body movements. In intercultural communication one has to be acquainted with different body movements that are acceptable in different cultures.
Why Intercultural Communication Is Important
Intercultural communication enables workers who come from diverse cultural backgrounds to communicate with each other in real life. Intercultural communication also gives guidance to the firms on how to design laws that would integrate the differences between the employees (Beamer and Varner 13). This allows each employee at the workforce to be industrious and skillful in the tasks they perform. When employees have enough training of intercultural communication, it results in the elimination of misunderstandings and lack of satisfaction which might be witnessed if the needs of employees are not considered whenever making of policies in the firm takes place. This also includes making plans for meetings to be held and designing the schemes of service. If employees are comfortable enough to focus on the duties assigned to them, the level of the firm’s productivity will increase.
Intercultural communication enhances teamwork among employees of the organizations. Members of staff are able to understand the differences between their cultures and appreciate each other’s culture communicating with mutual understanding (Beamer and Varner 45). When there is effective intercultural communication, staff members are able to understand clearly how behavior originates from culture. Employees are able to work as a team respecting each other, the talents each member has and the background which this or that employee comes from. This enables the firm to operate efficiently.
When an organization has efficient intercultural communication, it creates a business edge for the company internationally. Notably, an organization that teaches its staff members to use intercultural communication achieves success when negotiating in the international market accustomed by different cultures. For instance, a company entering the African market will be most welcomed by Africans if it addresses factors viewed as relevant by Africans in terms of carrying out business transactions. Some of the crucial traits in carrying out business transactions for Africans are time, respect towards seniors, religion, and the tactics used in communication and hand shaking. This means that an organization that has a deep understanding of cross-cultural communication has an upper hand than a company that has not incorporated cross-cultural communication if it were to launch its business in the international market.
The existence of intercultural communication also encourages successful leadership within a firm. Currently, organizations are made up of staff members who come from diverse cultures. The individuals selected for managerial positions are expected to show the way to other employees by making them understand the policies which the company operate under, while still accommodating the ideas of the staff members. When a company takes its leadership team through intercultural training, the leaders are able to motivate other employees despite their cultural differences. Training in intercultural communication leads to effective communication, which is accustomed by good leadership.
In a nutshell, intercultural communication is the process of getting along with other cultural groups in the mainstream society especially through proper communication. There are many cultures in the society and one must be able to understand their background information in order to communicate and live harmoniously with them. For harmony and peace to be attained in a society characterized by many cultures, one should be able to understand their background information so that they can be able to understand the reason they communicate in a certain way. Most of the processes in the society are undertaken when effective communication has been attained. The key issue in intercultural communication is the fact that people must understand others so that they can be able to relate and communicate with them effectively.