Communication Between Different Cultures Essay

Pages: 5 (1677 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  Level: College Sophomore  ·  Topic: Anthropology

Culture

Communication between Different Cultures

Everyone communicates with others all the time and no matter how well one thinks they understand other people, communication is hard. Culture is frequently at the root of communication issues. People's culture influences how they approach problems, and how they contribute in groups and in communities. When people partake in groups they are frequently surprised at how differently people approach their work together. Culture is a multifaceted concept, with a lot of different definitions. but, simply put, culture refers to a group or community with which one shares common experiences that shape the way they understand the world. It includes groups that people are born into, such as gender, race, or national origin. It also comprises groups that people join or become part of. People can obtain a new culture by moving to a new region, by a change in their financial status, or by becoming disabled. In reality people can belong to many cultures all at the same time (DuPraw & Axner, n.d.).

All communication is cultural, meaning that it draws on ways people have learned to talk and give nonverbal messages. People do not constantly converse the same way from day-to-day, since things like circumstance, individual character, and mood interact with the diversity of cultural influences that influence ones choices. Communication is interactive, so a significant influence on its effectiveness is ones relationship with others. The issue is that even with all the kindness in the world, miscommunication is liable to take place, particularly when there are important cultural disparities between communicators. Miscommunication often leads to disagreement, or aggravate conflict that is already present. People make, whether it is clear to them or not, quite dissimilar meanings of the world, their places in it, and their relationships with others. Cross-cultural communication can be outlined and verified by instances of thoughts, approaches, and behaviors linking four dissimilar variables:

Time and Space

Fate and Personal Responsibility

Face and Face-Saving

Nonverbal Communication

As ones knowledge with these dissimilar starting points' goes up, they are cultivating cultural fluency or an consciousness of the ways cultures function in communication and disagreement, and the capability to respond efficiently to these dissimilarities (LeBaron, 2003).

Time is one of the most inner dissimilarities that divide cultures and cultural ways of doing things. In the West, time tends to be seen as quantitative, measured in units that replicate the march of advancement. It is rational, chronological, and present focused, moving with incremental conviction toward the future. In the East, time feels like it has boundless continuity, an unraveling rather than a firm boundary. Birth and death are not such complete ends since the universe goes on and humans, though altering form, continue as part of it. It is not unusual for people to attend to a lot of things that are happening at once. This is known as polychronous (LeBaron, 2003).

Another significant variable affecting communication across cultures is fate and personal responsibility. This refers to the point to which one feels themselves as the masters of their lives, versus the degree to which one sees themselves ourselves as subject to things outside their control. Some have proposed a parallel between the importance on personal accountability in North American settings and the land. The North American land is huge, with big spaces of uninhabited territory. The frontier state of mind of conquering the wilderness, and the large size of the land stretching vast distances, may relate to generally high levels of self-confidence in the capability to shape and choose ones destiny. This is in contrast to other places in the world with much lesser territory, whose history replicates repetitive conquest and harsh struggles like Germany. In these places, there is extra importance on destiny's role in human life (LeBaron, 2003).

Face is significant across cultures, yet the dynamics of face and face-saving play out in a different way. Face is defined in a lot of different ways in the cross-cultural communication literature. Some say it is the worth or standing a person has in the eyes of others and that it relates to self-importance or self-respect, while others have defined it as the negotiated public image, equally granted each other by contributors in communication. In this broader meaning, face comprises thoughts of rank, authority, politeness, insider and outsider associations, humor, and admiration. In a lot of cultures, maintaining face is of great significance, though ideas of how to do this differ (LeBaron, 2003).

Nonverbal communication is enormously important in any relations with others; its significance is multiplied across cultures. This is for the reason that people tend to look for nonverbal cues when verbal messages are uncertain or vague, as they are more likely to be across cultures, particularly when different languages are being utilized. Since nonverbal actions arises from ones cultural common sense or their ideas about what is suitable, standard, and effectual as communication in relations, people utilize different systems of understanding gestures, posture, silence, spatial relations, emotional expression, touch, physical appearance, and other nonverbal cues. Cultures also attribute dissimilar amounts of significance to verbal and nonverbal behavior (LeBaron, 2003).

There are six fundamental patterns of cultural differences or ways in which cultures, as a whole, tend to vary from one another. The first is that the way people communicate differs greatly between, and even within, cultures. One feature of communication style is language usage. Across cultures, some words and phrases are used in dissimilar ways. An additional major aspect of communication style is the amount of importance given to non-verbal communication. Non-verbal communication comprises not only facial expressions and gestures; it also entails seating arrangements, personal distance, and sense of time. Additionally dissimilar norms concerning the proper amount of assertiveness in communicating can add to cultural mix-ups (DuPraw & Axner, n.d.). For instance, some white Americans typically consider raised voices to be a sign that a fight has begun, while some Germans often feel that an increase in volume is a sign of an exciting conversation among friends (German Communication Styles, n.d.).

The second difference is the dissimilar attitudes toward culture. Some cultures see conflict as a good thing, while others view it as something to be circumvented. In the U.S., conflict is not usually desirable; but people often are encouraged to deal directly with conflicts that do arise. In fact, face-to-face meetings normally are suggested as the way to work through whatever troubles exist. On the contrary, in many Eastern countries, like Germany, open conflict is seen as awkward or demeaning; as a rule, differences are best worked out quietly. A written exchange might be the favored means to concentrate on the conflict (DuPraw & Axner, n.d.).

The third fundamental difference is the different advances to carrying out tasks. From culture to culture, there are dissimilar ways that people move toward finishing tasks. Some reasons incorporate dissimilar access to resources; dissimilar judgments of the rewards connected with task conclusion, dissimilar ideas of time, and diverse ideas about how relationship-building and task-oriented work should go together. When it comes to working together successfully on a task, cultures vary with admiration to the significance placed on founding associations early on in the teamwork (DuPraw & Axner, n.d.). A case in point, Americans tend to attach more value to developing relationships at the beginning of a shared project and more emphasis on task completion toward the end as compared with Germans. Germans tend to focus immediately on the task at hand, and let relationships develop as they work on the task. This does not mean that people from any one of these cultural environments are more or less dedicated to achieving the task or value relationships more or less; it means they may go after them differently (Typically German, 1999).

The fourth difference is the different decision making styles. The roles… [END OF PREVIEW]

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