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Hidden Barriers To Communicating In Multicultural Business.

1109 words - 4 pages

One of the most important assertions that I personally, and I know most of us in the J08 class have learnt during our time together, is what is stated at the bottom of the first page of this article - "we must know ourselves before we can begin to understand others". In fact this is the main point that those in my discussion group came out of this course thinking. Before we can get to learn and communicate competently and coherently with those of a different culture, and be able to navigate through the nuances of their cultural reservation points and frames of reference, we first have to appreciate our own and realise the extent to which it places demands and expectations upon us. Until we do this and fully appreciate how our ways of thinking are affected and in some ways determined by our cultural self we will be at pains to communicate in an effective intercultural way. The decisions we make and the decisions other people make are all affected by this sentiment. How different cultures view our decision making or actions taken, or how they explain our actions in the context of their perceived validity is all affected by cultural assumptions. Another quotation from the article that is particularly pertinent is "what is plausible as a problem and credible as a solution is largely cultural". Indeed even "rationality is largely cultural".Therefore for a multinational company (MNC) to employ staff who can manage relationships of cultural diversity well this is obviously a huge asset. Those people who can work for a company with international and multicultural diversity, and understand these different cultural requirements are therefore incredibly desirable. What the article says however is that for the proportion of MNCs operating in these environments there is a relative dearth of time and money invested in the human resource training necessary to maintain effective management of such global firms. It is clear that it is very important to have people at an MNC who understand and are proficient in ways of communicating in culturally distinct ways when using the same language. Not always will just being able to speak a language lead to total coherence in that language, sometimes there is ambiguity behind certain sayings, or ways of saying things, or even actions. This point came up in our J08 group discussions. Some words which were used in English had different connotations associated with them than the ones intended. So although some of the same words may have been used, the meaning behind the sentence may have been different whether largely or slightly. This then could lead to a misunderstanding of a person's motives or personality. In our discussion group we tried to understand the differences between our native cultures, but this was not always evident. This tied in with a quote from the article - "if we do not listen to and make explicit the deep roots of our own cultural speech, there is little hope of understanding the deep culture in the...

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