Intercultural Communication Critical Essay

Published: 2021-07-23 10:00:06
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Category: Globalization, Collectivism, Intercultural Communication

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Intercultural Communication in a Global WorkplaceWilhemenia M Maxey Hana, A Joint Venture Between Health Snacks and Toka Foods March 09, 2013 Professor Marcus Payne Trinity International University The world consists of different countries. Every country has its own unique culture. People come from different countries have different belief and different customs. But with the globalization increasing, world is becoming smaller and smaller. Different people from different countries start to mix and live together.
So to get better communication with different people,we should respect and understand different cultures. So I will analyze this case by using concepts in the field of intercultural communication. In this case, there are many cultural conflicts between Japanese and Americans. And these cultural conflicts lead to many obstacles in their cooperation. Firstly, I want to analyze the High Context Culture and Low Context Culture. American culture is a typical low context culture, while Japanese culture is a typical high context culture.
People who hold high context tend to prefer indirect verbal interaction, and understand meanings embedded at many socio-cultural levels, and rely more on context and feeling, and employ spiral logic. But people who hold low context tend to prefer direct verbal interaction, and understanding the meaning at one level only, and they rely more on logic. They communicate in highly structured messages, provide details, stress literal meanings, and give authority to written information. The negotiations had been very difficult and took much longer than executives from Health Snacks had anticipated.



The Japanese were slow and in their approach to the negotiation. Everything seemed to take a long time, and once the Japanese side had made up its mind on a point, it was difficult to agree on any changes. Everything had to go back and be re-discussed by Japanese executive. In low context culture, such as Americans prefer to the internal channel to communicate and deliver business messages, such as E-mails, and faxes which are efficient and convenient for business communication, but when the problems remained, Health Snacks have to solve them head on.
Understanding the difference between high and low context culture, American prefers to express information explicit and to the point while Japanese tend to be vagueness and ambiguity to convey meaning, which will easily lead both sides feel uncomfortable. Therefore, first of all, the must understand the cultural shock and properly make a concession to adjust one’s own culture values to adapt other cultures and consider mutual common interests rather than complain about others.
In Japanese culture the senior member of the group may not appear at all but he will direct his team members to proceed in a certain way and the final decision-making is determined by authority, also Japanese culture, status and promotions is determined by seniority value rather than by their personal practice performance and it also is exists of gender inequality, that is male and females have unequal status in the company promotion system. Japanese culture is a hierarchical culture. American and Japanese preferred different channels of communication. Health Snacks had tried to solve the problem via electronic communication.
The even had organized a teleconference to meet face-to-face so that each side could hear the other’s viewpoint, but the Japanese wanted to communicate face-to-face on the table. They thought it was more reliable. Toka Foods wanted to make use of the corporate opportunity to gain access to new technology. Which is corporate culture that emphasis the advantages gained by both parties and achieving win-win culture. The importance of learning about unfamiliar cultures is diversity around the world and culture teach values, and then values underlie attitudes and sharp behaviors.
Therefore, having a good knowledge of foreign unfamiliar culture is necessary for intercultural business communication. As multinational company needs to know different cultural values and the reasons why people think as they do and value what they do, then the way companies and people act will be comprehensible and even predicted, and companies will avoid business losses and failure. Health Snacks had initially sent an engineer from production and one from packaging; both in their thirties with no international experience. The two engineers took detailed reports, diagrams, and illustrations with them.
They knew the technology inside out, but the Japanese thought they were too young, they were not qualified to sign the agreement. So the Japanese, while asking many questions, did not move towards any agreement. Snacks could not answer questions relating to projections of production and sales, the Japanese became impatient. The two engineers found the talks tiring, and sitting across from a team of eight Japanese managers’ were intimidating and exhausting. Furthermore, the Japanese repeatedly asked the same questions. When Mr. Carter objected to Mr. Ota’s going to be promoted to President of the joint venture. He first informed Mr.
Sony directly that he objected to Mr. Ota. At the same time, he proposed Mr. Katsuki for the position and gave his reasons for his choice. This was the evidence for his low context culture. And then he became aware of the culture difference in Japanese culture; so he changed to adjust to it. He carefully worded his opposition to Mr. Ota and his suggestion of Mr. Katsuki. Only after he was convinced that the message was tactful, courteous, and constructive and had gone through several revisions, did he send it off. He was therefore, rather surprised when he received a letter from Mr. Sony totally rejecting his suggestions.
Mr. Sony was polite but made it quite clear that Toka Foods had carefully considered all options and that Mr. Ota was the right person, and Mr. Katuski was out of the questions. He further explained that a promotion for Mr. Katsuki would be totally unacceptable and would ruin Mr. Katsuki’s career. In his letter, Mr. Sony gave no explanation as to why the appointment of Mr. Katsuki would run his career. This is the illustration of Japanese high context culture (Varner, 2008). They found oriented towards the future, like saving and persistence and focus on constantly expanding their production to Japanese Market.
Differences in Negotiating and Time and Efficiency, the Japanese Negotiators spent a long time on the technical specifications of the equipment because they wanted to know how it was made and gained accurate information by asking as many questions, Japanese part didn’t have intense time and efficiency sense and deliberately pull off time and never achieved agreements. But American expected much faster pace to negotiate and directly to the point to achieve final agreement. Indivdualism pertains to societies in which the ties between individuals are loose: everyone is expected to look after him or herself or his or her mmediate family. Collectivism as its opposite pertains to societies in which people from birth onward are integrated into strong, cohesive in-groups, which throughout people’s lifetimes. Japanese values collectivism more, they are strongly affiliated with their extended family and organization, and loyalty is highly respected in this culture. So when individualism and collectivism have collided with each other, it would be surely causing a series of business problems. In this case, both sides should right balance and handle the personal and collective interests.
Different cultural values directly result in the ways to deal with business communication. So both sides should understand it and make a concession for mutual behaviors. Having a good knowledge of foreign unfamiliar cultures is necessary for intercultural business communication. For both sides, they should change their attitudes toward foreign culture and try to understand and learn about cultural differences. Faced with culture shock is natural, the right way is to accept and accommodate the differences rather than take exclusive attitudes to complain other foreign cultures.
Respect and take each other’s position a good negotiator in negotiations, even if the purpose is to promote their own product, which is to reduce express ego point of view. Reduce feeling opposition, expand the positive optimist, In negotiations, negotiators should reduce emotional opposition and negative effects but expand positive sales. In international business negotiations, people must strengthen cultural consciousness, to realize different cultural background negotiators have different demands, motivation and faith differences, to learn and respect each other’s culture.
To overcome culture prejudice. It depends on how they treat each other’s cultural differences. Cultural diversity leading to cultural shock is inevitable but culture is relational, learned and adaptive. If both sides can well understand culture difference and adapt them, which would be beneficial to intercultural business communication. They communicate in highly structured messages, provide details, stress literal meanings, and give authority to written information. In this case, in order to speed up the process and provide technical details. What is more apparent is that Mr. Carter proposed Mr.
Katsuki for the position of the president of the joint venture and gave his reasons for his choice. Mr. Katsuki was 48 years old and had been with Toka Foods during his entire career. Currently, Mr. Katsuki was the marketing director for the joint venture. He had made quite an impression at Health Snacks headquarters in Chicago. He spoke excellent English and seemed to have the characteristics and the energy for moving the joint venture forward. Mr. Katuski (Steger, 2003) seemed to be straightforward in his communication and very dynamic compared to many of the other Japanese Mr.
Carter had met. But result, he could not be nominated as the president of the joint venture. After much soul-searching, Ron Carter decided it was time to fly to Nagoya and face the problems head-on. Only after the President of the International Division at Health Snacks, Tim Davis, participated in the negotiations that progress was made. He visited several times, and an agreement was finally signed. While American culture is not hierarchical, they sent the two engineers to provide detailed information of the technology, and they were given to sign the agreement.
But they were not aware of the difference in Japan, therefore, conflict appeared. According to (Varner, 2008) there are five categories that are important to understanding different cultures, Thinking and Knowing, Doing and Achieving, The Big Picture, The self, and Social Organization these five categories focuses on values in a culture, allowing companies to compare cultures by assessing the different cultures. Does knowing come from concepts or experiences, without experience they merely know about something? Does learning come from asking questions or mastering receive wisdom?
In many cultures, the acknowledged authority give knowledge, and one knows when one has mastered. In other cultures going beyond what one has been given is how one truly know something. In some cultures, not everything is knowable; other cultures have the idea that everything can be known if the key is found. Other cultures use different patterns. Balance the relations between individualism and collectivism. For America’s part, the interests of the individuals prevail over those of the group and self-determination and self-fulfillment becomes people’s highest priority.
But for Japanese part, value they are strongly affiliated with their extended family and organization, and loyalty is highly respected in this culture. Different cultural values directly result in the ways to deal with business communication. So both sides should understand it and make a concession for mutual behaviors. Therefore, first of all, they must understand the cultural shock and properly make a concession to adjust one’s own culture values to adapt other cultures and consider common interests rather than complain about others.
For both sides, on the other had negotiations basis on self-style, on the other they must respect mutual value of the different ideas. Japanese should consider American pays attention to efficiency and to achieve status, so when they negotiate with American, try to improve efficiency, and making decisions don’t hesitate. For Americans they also need to tolerate the culture differences. The key to cross-cultural business understands one’s business partners well enough to make cultural adjustments.
This raises the issue as to which side should make the adjustments. A practical rule of thumb is that business communication should favor the cultural nors of the social infrastructure on which they primarily rely. If business is to tap resources, it must respect the culture that provides them. According to (Steger, 2003) the aspects of globalization that are present in this case study is Economic globalization comprises the globalization of production, markets, competition, technology, and corporations and industries.
Cultural globalizations are sharing of ideas generally leads to greater interconnectedness and interaction between peoples of diverse cultures and ways of life, which can have both positive and negative results. Consequently, as technology has accelerated the process, it has sparked considerable controversy. As well as, ideological globalization. In Our global world, the ability to communicate cross-culturally is a common aim. Moreover, Christian worldview the ability to recognize and adapt appropriate behaviors in cultural settings.
From Christians worldview if believers are going to speak to the modern world and interact with it responsibly they must interact with business Intercultural communication, and if believers are going to explore God’s world thy need to integrate our beliefs with the results of globalization. The importance of international business negotiations have been self-evident in today's society, where most of the negotiations were launched in a cross-cultural environment, the most basic form of the negotiations is to "talk", the two sides need to use language to communicate.
The key to negotiations is to maximize each other’s common interest, conflict minimize the impact, both all they need to reach a win-win situation, so that the negotiating parties is a success. Common interests is the basis for cooperation between the two sides, however, conflict is inevitable, because it is harming the other face of the culprit. How to properly handle and solve the respective interests of the dispute, the cross-cultural negotiations to success, negotiation skills are certainly important, but with the appropriate language, that is, as a guide to politeness strategies, is the fundamental way to solve the problem.
Polite language, used to adapt the cross-cultural background to contribute to the negotiations is the focus of this study and the target. According to (Varner, 2008) The charm of the language is infinite, it can not only closer but also alienated the distance between the negotiators, both to create and to destroy the good atmosphere of the talks, both to ease the awkward tension atmosphere for negotiations can aggravate both maintenance also can threat negotiators face.
Therefore, under the guidance of the politeness strategies, negotiators can flexibly and effectively use language to master the language to solve the conflicts in the negotiations to avoid an impasse in negotiations, to help the success of the negotiations, to establish long-term friendly relations and trade cooperation in order to achieve the long-term interests of both sides to reach a win-win. The cross-cultural communication involves two concepts of communication and culture.
The communication is the culture pertaining meaning, the cultures takes shape gradually in communication. In the international environment, must permeate through different cultural factors in the commercial activity of different countries, these cultural differences must influence their behavior, so successful enterprise is not merely familiar with economic situation and global competitiveness of the world, and have ability with international effective communication.
The main factor causing the cross-cultural communication obstacle is the cultural difference. Different culture has a either large or small difference in a lot of respects such as the values, mode of thinking, manner. Cross-cultural communication acts into verbal and nonverbal behaviors. It is very important to know their culture and custom to have a conversation with foreigners. To sum up, it is important to learn the local culture when we do business with another country or people from another culture, it not conflicts will appear.
And we should get will prepared for what we are going to do. We should learn how to communicate with people from different cultural backgrounds. (Varner, 2008) References Elmer, D. (2002). Cross-Cultural Commecntions. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press. Steger, M. B. (2003). Globalization A very Short Introduction. New York: Okford University Press Inc. Varner, L. B. (2008). Intercultural Communication in the Global Workplace. New York City: McGraw-Hill.

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