Barriers To Intercultural Communication Essay

1705 words - 7 pages

In the contemporary global economy which can be categorized as dynamic and evolutionary in nature, one needs to be cognizant of change that is inevitable within the tourism industry. Due to the demands of the global customer the world can be viewed as being more so inter-connected, owing to this fact the traditional workplace has become more diverse. With diversity in mind the barriers to communication have become prevalent. Within the ambit of the essay such barriers to intercultural communication outlined by LaRay M. Barna shall be explored; anxiety, assuming similarity instead of difference, ethnocentricity, stereotypes and prejudice, nonverbal misinterpretations, language and modern technology will be further discussed. In going forward it is essential to define culture and communication.

According to Hofstede’s (1980), ‘culture is the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one human group from another… culture in the sense, includes systems of values: and values are among the building blocks of culture.’ It is necessary to determine how culture impacts our communication behavior as culture directly influences our perception and understanding of the message that is transmitted from one party to another. People from different cultures encode and decode messages differently; this therefore increases the chances of misunderstanding. Intercultural communication refers to interactions between people whose cultural assumptions are so different that the communication between them is altered. Verderber, Verderber, & Sellnow, (2010).

Firstly anxiety occurs because of not knowing what one is expected to do, and focusing on that feeling, thus being totally present in the communication transaction. For instance a person may be inclined to experience anxiety on the first day in a new environment, more specifically a new employee on his first day or work in a foreign country. He or she may be conscious of being new and would feel prone to feeling out of place, as such that individual may warrant his undivided attention into harnessing that feeling of being out of place that they end up making common mistakes thus nurturing the feeling that they appear to others as being awkward.

The second point for discussion endeavours to elaborate when one assumes similarity between cultures instead of differences. It is evident that when people cross into a cultural environment that they are unfamiliar with, there is an immediate tendency to assume that the norms, values and traditions which are familiar to their specific situation are equivalent to those that apply in the new one. It is of extreme importance to keep in mind that each culture is unique and different to a certain extent. For example, a Chinese national may appear somewhat similar to a person of Japanese origin, whilst one maybe familiar with the oriental customs of the Chinese adhering to such customs in the presence of the Japanese individual on the premise...

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