With the rise of global villages and international interaction, the aspect of culture has remained very important in assessing the degree of integration among people of different nationalities. Culture affects communication patterns especially kinesics, interpretation of language cues and analysis of spoken words. The same words or signs (gestures) have been found have been found to bear a myriad of differences across cultures hence the need to understand the role that culture plays in communication if global integration should be a reality. This paper presents four essays on culture and communication focussing on the key global cultures as analysed by Samovar, Porter & McDaniel (2009).
Essay 1: Intercultural Communication in a Globalized
Intercultural communication means that people can communicate and work despite their cultural differences and background inferring that success in cultural integration is prompted through teamwork. Culture is taken to represent a set of rules and guidelines, written or unwritten, which are adopted by a community of people who share certain characteristics that regulate how the people relate with one another and how they accomplish tasks. Culture may also include aspects that dictate the lifestyles of people and is occasionally the derivative of what is right or wrong (ethics) among that particular community.
Working in international teams is continuing to be a mandatory activity as the world opens up allowing people from different cultural groups to interact. The fact that there is no uniform culture among people, Samovar, Porter & McDaniel (2009) argue that international interaction compels people to learn from each other and quickly accept and adapt to the different ways of life of other people. This calls for additional skills such as language competence, ability to socialize quickly, communication and group dynamics abilities. Today, there are many reasons why people from intercultural groups would interact from an international sphere for example through education among students, stakeholders of multinational corporations, religious conferences, global functions such as labour confederations, political sharing such as among foreign ministers and many others. Learning to work in international groups can therefore be helpful to ensure harmony, team spirit, understanding and achievement of goals (Samovar, Porter & McDaniel, 2009).
Essay 2: Harmony without Uniformity: An Asia-centric Worldview
A harmony without uniformity is an aspect of conflict recognition and management. The Asia-centric worldview of ‘harmony without uniformity’ proposes that whenever there is international conflict, the reason is not always differences in culture but ignorance (lack of recognition of the conflict or cultural differences). In other words, it is very easy to manage cultural conflicts in global settings through appreciating the fact that cultural differences exist and therefore learning and accepting diversity as well as one another without prejudice to be good global citizens. Although it is thought that cultural differences are seen though a person’s own worldview, it is best learned and viewed through learning the culture of other cultures. In general, intercultural studies have placed more emphasis on the European worldview. With general poor guidance of intercultural dynamics, it has been proposed that the world may be divided through this clash of civilizations. According to Tu Weiming (2006), civilizations of other cultures should impact to critical examination other than an investigation whose design is meant to inspire and gain insight. A few factors are considered in the process of leaning from other cultures for instance understanding a clash because ignorance of cultural diversity is usually a source of disharmony and global village conflict. Secondly, there is need to understand other cultures and their worldviews while the third is to understand the perception of other cultures about your own culture. The Asia centric communication proposes a number of world views i.e. harmony, circularity, reciprocity, other directedness and relationally. By understanding this Asia centric propositions, disharmony in intercultural encounters are reduced as alternatives to the Eurocentric views.
Essay 3: Who’s Got Room at the Top? Issues of Dominance
The issues of dominance have always cropped up whenever intercultural encounters come into question. Generally, conflicts in inter-groups have been known to threaten how global and domestic firms operate in terms of efficiency, corporation and fairness hence the debate over dominance and who has the room at the top. The real debate arises when for instance a merger of Japanese and American firm fails following not inferior products and policies on pricing but because of incompatibilities amongst the personality of managers and operating styles of organizations being disparate. Similarly, a failure by a company’s effort in advancing women should not be observed to be orchestrated by undermines at the work environment against their performance but on ability to take up their responsibilities. Other than believing that cultural differences matter in business, it is important to understand that cultural differences work so that cultural competence can be converted into a competitive advantage. A number of factors have affected the perception about who is at top, for instance, the simple stereotypes that emanate from national cultures that finally do not prepare people to deal with cultural complexity and individually in culturally complex situations.
Essay 4: Which is My Good Leg? Persons with Disabilities
The place of disabled persons in the global arena continues to be enforced within the workforce globally because of the rise of human rights and equality of all people. Studies have identified areas of errors in various cultures that widen the gap between people with good legs and those that are disabled. Tipton (2006) explains that some of the remarkable errors bring forth a negative connotation that foreign is ‘other’ that also place a similar connotation of the disabled even at work place. A very good example has been cited as the British behaviour where people automatically line up a sidewalk waiting to board a bus indicating a desire to lead a controlled and neat lifestyle that is ‘all inclusive’ hence little side-line of the persons with disabilities. On the other hand, South Koreans reflect Confucian thoughts in business practice in which there is rigidity of the organizational structures that also inhibit accessibility to people with disabilities. In fact, Koreans do not questions strictness in chains of command meaning that disadvantaged people have no place in the society and work environment.
Samovar, L. A., Porter, R. E., &: McDaniel, E. R. (2010).Communication between cultures (7th Ed.). Boston, MA: Wadsworth (engage Learning.
Samovar, L., Porter, R., & McDaniel, E. R. (2009). Intercultural communication: A reader. Belmont, CA: Sage.
Tu, W. (2006). The Confucian ethic and the spirit of East Asian modernity. In UNESCO (Ed.), Cultural diversity and transversal values: East-West dialogue on spiritualand secular dynamics (pp. 7-13). Paris: UNESCO.