Communication in Organization Intercultural Essay

Pages: 4 (1713 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Communication

Communication in Organizations

The case study is based on PTB company that decided to take the better percentage of their employees to Sydney Australia for a two day conference that was to focus on the new sales and marketing skills as well as to enable the employees from both countries under the PTB company get a chance to network. The conference was however beset with a lot of challenges that mostly emanated from cultural insensitivity and communication breakdown. The Australian side was represented by Sam who acted as the head of the delegation in welcoming the Japanese counterparts, and Mika represented the Japanese delegation that was the guests. There appeared to be lack of comprehensive communication between the two representatives and consequently negatively affecting the activities of the entire conference.

Executive summary

Communication is an essential part in every organization and the better it is done the better the relationship among the colleagues within the organization. The shortage in communication in the case study was caused by lack of timely communication, lack of feedback and deep consultation from both sides and inappropriate signs used in communication. There was also lack of consideration for the cultural differences between the two countries. The height of misunderstanding was the wrong use of gestures and wrong tone during a final brief between the two representatives from the two countries involved as was prompted by Sam.

The areas of contention

There are various contentions that were exhibited in the case study that was presented here. Mika had a problem with the Australian host whom she felt volunteered the pertinent information concerning the trip quite late in time such that the participants did not have enough time to react or respond to it. She also felt Sam excluded the Japanese entourage in decision making and disregarded their culture all together by setting a 100% Australian decorated reception. Mika also felt the Australian hosts did not explain the meaning of various signs and directions within the hotel and took it for granted that the sings and directions that were easily understood by the locals would be understood by the Japanese. The other issue that Mika had with Sam was that Sam tended not to appreciate that a problem was at hand but instead passed the blame to the hotel and never took responsibility, apart from being arrogant.

Mika on the other side had communication issues with Japanese contingent and the entire conference as a whole. He failed to understand why the Japanese delegates to the conference never understood the obvious signage that was within the hotel as were located by the hotel staff he entrusted to do this job. Sam had also uploaded the pertinent issues on the intranet and expected that each person would to be informed duly through that mode of communication. Despite having posted the information on the intranet only two days to the conference, Sam still felt that he was a good communicator and never saw the reason why the complaints on his organization skills as well as communication skills raised so much concern.

Apparently, there was work to be done on both sides of the divide concerning communication. There was need for extended consultation between the two parties before the conference. Sam was supposed to send the information on the trip in not less than one month before the date. This would ensure that there is extensive analysis and scrutiny of the activities of the trip, the delegates would then understand what is entailed in the trip. With such an ample time, the concerned people would question what they never understood, contribute more suggestions and even contact Sam and Kim for further clarifications. This would create a two way communication that is essential for effective communication where the receiver has time to assure the sender that the message was well understood.

The prior communication plan would also allow Mika understand Sam's communication skills as well as Sam understand Mika's communication needs particularly on the cross cultural aspect. It would give Sam enough time to know what cultural issues were upheld by the Japanese hence involve them in the decoration as well as their value system regarding time and punctuality, as well as get to understand the varied ways that they understood signage hence adjust the signage accordingly.

There are various power bases that are used by leaders in their daily undertakings. The power base that was employed especially by Sam in this situation was legitimate power. Legitimate power has the assumption that the person put in the position of responsibility or of power has the right to dictate the directions. The position that the person holds makes the people under him respect his decisions and directions not because they agree with them but by virtue of being his follower. In most cases, especially in the corporate world, the employees will comply with the directions given due to the hierarchy, but have very little commitment to the directives. Sam used the legitimate powers that he had to ensure things happened the way he thought it was best they do but unfortunately in most of the cases he was wrong. However, according to Hassan Zarei matin, et.al (2010) there is a proven relationship between the interpersonal communication trend and team building within any organization. Employees can only turn into a team under a well orchestrated interpersonal communication that is horizontal rather than a top down passing of information as was the case in this study.

Instead of employing the legitimate powers, Sam should have employed the referent powers as this would make more of the conference delegates identify with him. Referent power is the situation where a given individual would like to be like you and is more likened with the power of charisma and fame (Raven, B., 1993). It applies where the person has some outstanding features that make him be the darling of the entire group out there. The use of this power base would make it easier for Mika to approach Sam with the objections or the doubts that her team could be having from Japan and even locally as the activities of the conference went on.

There are various communication issues therefore that came up in this communication process described in the case study. The issue of timeliness of a piece of communication was brought to the light. For any piece of communication to be meaningful, there is absolute need to ensure it is timely. Feedback on any information is also essential as Sam assumed that the communication was well taken in even just two days before the conference and never took the pain of following on the feedback on the communication he made. As Putti J.M et.al (1990) indicate, exchange of messages in the process of communication enables each of the parties to learn more of each other, even the non-verbal or unwritten characteristics hence becoming more willing to get committed to the agreed conclusion.

The non-verbal cues are also indicated as a significant fact in helping or hindering communication. In this case, the pacing up and down of Sam and standing over Mika while she was seated greatly hampered communication process and led to a disconnect between the two.

The communication method that was used predominantly in this case was the use of Email to alert the delegates of the program for the two days. There was no follow-up with the word of mouth once the delegates arrived. The other communication means was the use of signs and directions. Both means of communication were seen to greatly fail to achieve the desired results. The email failed to have the desired impact due to the time factor and the signs ultimately never met their intended goal due to the cultural differences between the two countries.

The cultural differences presented a significant barricade to communication between the two sides. The Japanese found the choosing of the Australian cuisine and totally disregarding the Japanese cuisine to be displeasing. There was no consideration to the vegetarian diet which was highly insensitive to the Japanese. Being that two cultures were interacting here, there was need to present food and drinks that came from both cultures and allow people from opposite cultures enjoy the culture from the other side, otherwise it appeared as though the Japanese were being forced to cross over to the Australian culture. This is a scenario that unfolded due to cultural negligence that Sam got into as well as lack of cross cultural communication which is fundamental in such a scenario. Freeman R. et.al (2007) indicates that familiarization duration with the opposite culture and close interaction among people from different cultures creates an environment that is healthy for a smooth working relationships, particularly between people in leadership position and those being led.

The signs that were used did not also consider the cultural differences. This led to misunderstanding of the signs and directions hence people like Mika from Japan missed the walk. There was need to explain the meaning of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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