Some Sources of Misunderstandings in Intercultural Business Communication (4)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1) T. Lázár University of Debrecen Faculty of Economics and Business, lazar.timea@econ.unideb.hu

4. Some other areas of misunderstandings in intercultural communication caused by cultural differences

In successful intercultural communication participants need to speak a common language properly, they need to be aware of the cultural differences and should take them into consideration, but in some situations misunderstandings can arise even if the participants fulfil the above-mentioned requirements. According to Larkey (1996) in culturally diverse workgroups misunderstanding may come from misinterpretations of intent, organisational practices, or interpersonal reactions, as well as simple miscommunication of ideas or values.

There are different areas of language use which might cause problems in intercultural communication. One of these areas is the language of numbers. In written communication there are differences in using decimal points in different parts of the world. In some countries they use the decimal point to separate thousands (in most European countries) while in the United States they use the comma. Another example is the use of billion and milliard for numbers with nine zeros. In some countries they use the phrase billion (US, Britain etc.) and in other countries they use milliard for the same number (Russia, Italy, Germany etc.) [7].

Although the metric system was designed to be universal all over the world, the conversion of scientific units into their SI equivalents might be problematic. There are different systems of units in use in various areas of science. For example the British system of units, known as imperial units and the similar US Customary Units, which are legal in the USA and Canada [6].

There are other aspects which are in close relation with cultural differences which can be the inward, non-verbal intercultural communication. They are gestures, facial expressions, interpersonal distance, eye contact, touch and silence. Some important areas of causing misunderstanding are listed below, but they are just examples, of course there can be a lot more [31].

The prevention or handling of possible misunderstandings can be led by philosophy and useful methodology in the field of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Existing mentor programs, for example can protect intergeneration conflicts [3].

One of the important areas to avoid future misunderstandings is the attitude toward time because it can vary from culture to culture. For example people in Latin America, Southern Europe, and the Middle East have different attitudes toward punctuality and interruptions than people in the United States, England, Germany or Switzerland [37].

Also, the layout of the office and the arrangement of furniture play an important role in different cultures. This can convey power and show status [28].

97

International Journal of Engineering and Management Sciences (IJEMS) Vol. 2. (2017). No. 3.

DOI: 10.21791/IJEMS.2017.3.9.

In an intercultural business context even using colours can cause problems because there are some cultural differences associated with colours. Just to mention one example: black is the colour of mourning in many European countries and in the United States, too. However, in Japan and some other countries it is white, and on the African continent red has similar connotations [2].

Another important area of nonverbal communication is clothing. In some cultures dressing conservatively or casually reflects different messages and can be associated with social status or wealth [24].

When doing business internationally you must apply the correct interpersonal space during conversations. There can be differences in the appropriate space in different cultures. For example people in the United States need more space than people in Latin America, but the Japanese need even more space [25].

Body language is an important part of the communication process in any culture. This may take different forms, for example facial expressions, gestures and posture. In many cases gestures depend on the culture and the context, and to avoid misinterpretations use them with care in international business settings [22]. Another difference can be found in using touches and body contacts in intercultural business communications. Shaking hands is accepted in many cultures, hugging on the other hand may seem inappropriate in some cultures. In countries like Italy, Greece, Spain touching is tolerated whereas in Hong Kong for example, any type of physical contact is best avoided [7].

In some business cultures people favour direct eye contact, for example in the US, Great Britain, Eastern Europe, while in other cultures eye contact is avoided, and for example in the Middle East there is a prolonged eye contact which can be uncomfortable for those who are not accustomed to it. There can be cultural variations concerning the eye contact with women in different cultures. If you are not familiar with these customs you can misinterpret the eye contact [4].

In many countries in business meetings there is a given amount of “small talk” before gettingdown to business. But this might be a minefield for intercultural communicators as there aredifferences concerning the topics of this “small talk”: it is appropriate to talk about some topicsin some countries but they are considered inappropriate in other countries. Problematic topics could be politics, religion and family situations [26].

The role of silence as a form of nonverbal communication is different in different cultures. Some might interpret it as a sign of agreement, while others as a lack of interest [15].

These examples illustrate that communicators should take many aspects of intercultural business communication into consideration, which requires intercultural competencies, preparation and experience. These skills can be improved and nowadays multinational companies realise how important they are and they are willing to invest in improving them.

98

International Journal of Engineering and Management Sciences (IJEMS) Vol. 2. (2017). No. 3.

DOI: 10.21791/IJEMS.2017.3.9.

5. Conclusion

Intercultural communication is determined by sociocultural, and psychological considerations The success or failure of intercultural communication can depend on different factors but we can agree that culture has a very important role in it. There is a large variety of skills that communicators need to develop in intercultural communication and the more they have the better communicators they can be. The lack of a common language can act as a barrier to successful intercultural communication but this is not the only factor. There are a lot of other areas which might cause problems in intercultural communication so it is advisable to be well prepared before you communicate with people from other cultures. . Moreover, there is a growing interest in intercultural communication in international business life. Investment in exploring and developing the intercultural communication potential of employees is no longer a challenge, but should be a part of duties in everyday business operation, and also in strategical thinking.

About Professor C.J.M. Beniers


Prof. C.J.M. Beniers is a well known authority in the field of modern and international communication techniques. He developed the Six-Component-Model. This model enables companies, institutions and politicians to communicate and negotiate with counterparts from all over the world successfully. His career began as international manager at Philips and later he earned his doctorate as professor in communication. He has more than 35 years experience as manager and management trainer. Thus he knows both sides – theory and praxis – very well. As scientist, Prof. Beniers conducts frequently research in the field of intercultural communication. The results of his interesting research can be found in news articles, free pod casts, audio books and his E-books such as “Bridging The Cultural Gap.” Here, modern managers learn how to prepare for business meetings with people from different cultures; they acquire the techniques and tools to handle situations in times of crises successfully, master intercultural barriers, country-specific communication patterns, looking into personal cultural values & systems. Knowing all this, men can prevent cultural misunderstandings and misinterpretations – not only in business but also in private life.

NL Zoetermeer, 30-05-2019

 

Levels Of National Cultures

Levels of national cultures

 The first complexity in understanding culture is related to the different levels of depth of cultures. With the “onion assumption”, Hofstede (1980, 2001) explains that values drive practices (behaviors) in a positive way, i.e., when people value something, they act alike. The general consensus is that people behave based on their values and beliefs of how things should be done (e.g., Hofstede 1980; Schwartz 1999; Hofstede 2001; Schein 2004). This manifests in symbols, heroes and rituals.All three are visible to the outside world as practices of a certain culture; “their cultural meanings, however, are invisible” (Hofstede 2001: 10), referring to the core values at the heart of the culture. However, the notion that values and beliefs drive behavior has recently been questioned by House et al. (2004). They showed the opposite (Javidan et al. 2006b: 902): “People may hold views of what should be (i.e., [contextualized] values) based on what they observe in action (i.e., practices)”. One explanation is that people generally desire more of something they do not have. Another explanation could be found in the questionnaire design aimed at measuring “contextualized values”. House et al. conclude that the “onion assumption” of Hofstede is too simplistic and additional research is needed to explain such a complex relationship (Javidan et al.2006b: 901). For this study, cultural practices are considered to be more robust indicators or explanatory factors of actual behavioral differences compared to cultural values. For example, Smith et al. state that “the ‘as is’ ratings comprise the most extensive [cultural] survey to date that has focused on the description of behaviors” (2006: 49). In conclusion, taking the GLOBE study as the primary cultural study of choice, this study focuses on the cultural practices as independent variables explaining differences in the professional behavior of auditors. The cultural values will function as a set of “second-tier” independent variables of reflecting culture where relevant.

 



[1] dissertations.ub.rug.nl/FILES/faculties/…/dissertations.ub.rug.nl/FILES/faculties/… /03c3.pdf03c3.pdf

About Professor C.J.M. Beniers


Prof. C.J.M. Beniers is a well known authority in the field of modern and international communication techniques. He developed the Six-Component-Model. This model enables companies, institutions and politicians to communicate and negotiate with counterparts from all over the world successfully. His career began as international manager at Philips and later he earned his doctorate as professor in communication. He has more than 35 years experience as manager and management trainer. Thus he knows both sides – theory and praxis – very well. As scientist, Prof. Beniers conducts frequently research in the field of intercultural communication. The results of his interesting research can be found in news articles, free pod casts, audio books and his E-books such as “Bridging The Cultural Gap.” Here, modern managers learn how to prepare for business meetings with people from different cultures; they acquire the techniques and tools to handle situations in times of crises successfully, master intercultural barriers, country-specific communication patterns, looking into personal cultural values & systems. Knowing all this, men can prevent cultural misunderstandings and misinterpretations – not only in business but also in private life.

14-01-2015

Email: info@beniers-consultancy.com
Website: http://www.beniers-consultancy.com

 

Vertrauen im interkulturellen Kontext

Menschen mit einem Höchstmaß an Selbstvertrauen gehen elastischer selbstsicher vor. Sie zweifeln nicht an sich selbst und handeln, denken meistens zielorientiert. Das Wahrnehmen, Denken, Urteilen und Handeln dieser Menschen ist selbstverständlich von ihrer eigenen Kultur geprägt.
Menschen aus Fremdkulturen erzeugen eher erwartungswidriges Verhalten, bedürfen der besonderen Aufmerksamkeit, Rücksichtnahme und Beachtung und sind im allgemeinen unberechenbar in ihren Verhaltensweisen. Fremde müssen sich das Vertrauen erst ”verdienen” und ”erarbeiten”, indem sie sich die Werte und Normen der anderen Kultur entsprechend verhalten und diese internalisieren.
Es ist zu erwarten, dass in kollektivistischen Kulturen andere Regeln des Vertrauensaufbaus beachtet und andere Leistungen zur Vertrauensstärkung erbracht werden müssen sowie Vertrauenssicherung und Vertrauensfestigung andere Arten der Investition erfordern als in individualistischen Kulturen.
Menschen aus Kulturen mit hoher Unsicherheitsvermeidung werden von Menschen aus anderen Kulturen ein höheres Maß an Vertrauensaufbau erwarten.
Personen im Auslandseinsatz messen dem Thema des Vertrauensaufbaus große Bedeutung zu. Denn gerade unter fremdkulturellen Handlungsbedingungen wächst die Unsicherheit bezüglich des richtigen, das heißt kulturadäquaten Verhaltens. Außerdem herrscht in derartigen Situationen ein hoher Grad an Orientierungsunklarheit, Intransparenz und Verunsicherung, was man durch die Betonung von Vertrauen (Risikominimierung, Reduzierung von Komplexität, Herstellung von Informationsklarheit und Handlungssicherheit zu bewältigen versucht.
Interkulturelle Begegnung und Kooperation sind besonders im Anfangsstadium mit einem hohen Maß an Intransparenz, Verunsicherung und Orientierungsverlust und subjektivem Kontrollverlust belastet. Zielhandlungen, Handlungsabläufe, selbstverständliche, bislang keiner Beachtung mehr bedurfter Routineabläufe werden gestört, unterbrochen, behindert usw. und erfordern dadurch eine gesonderte Steuerung, Kontrolle, wiederholte Aufmerksamkeit, bewusste Planung und Initiierung. In dieser schwierigen und unüberschaubaren, oft spannungsgeladenen Situation soll zugleich ein erfolgreicher Vertrauensaufbau zum Partner, zu dessen sozialen Umfeld und zum eigenen Lebensumfeld geleistet werden. Im günstigsten Fall wird diese Arbeit mit Behutsamkeit, Vorsicht und einem hohen Maß an eigenkulturell geprägter sozialer Kompetenz angegangen. Der Handelnde bemüht sich, mit SensibilitUat, Empathie und hoher Aufmerksamkeit sein eigenes Verhalten und das seines Partners zu steuern und zu kontrollieren.

About Professor C.J.M. Beniers


Prof. C.J.M. Beniers is a well known authority in the field of modern and international communication techniques. He developed the Six-Component-Model. This model enables companies, institutions and politicians to communicate and negotiate with counterparts from all over the world successfully. His career began as international manager at Philips and later he earned his doctorate as professor in communication. He has more than 35 years experience as manager and management trainer. Thus he knows both sides – theory and praxis – very well. As scientist, Prof. Beniers conducts frequently research in the field of intercultural communication. The results of his interesting research can be found in news articles, free pod casts, audio books and his E-books such as “Bridging The Cultural Gap.” Here, modern managers learn how to prepare for business meetings with people from different cultures; they acquire the techniques and tools to handle situations in times of crises successfully, master intercultural barriers, country-specific communication patterns, looking into personal cultural values & systems. Knowing all this, men can prevent cultural misunderstandings and misinterpretations – not only in business but also in private life.

25-05-2014

Email: info@beniers-consultancy.com
Website: http://www.beniers-consultancy.com

Podcast Offene Kommunikation-1

Dieser Podcast beschäftigt zich mit dem Thema der offenen Kommunikation. Voraussetzung zur offenen Kommunikation ist effektive Dialogführung.  

Prof. C.J.M. Beniers

NL Zoetermeer 20-01-2014

 About Professor C.J.M. Beniers


Prof. C.J.M. Beniers is a well known authority in the field of modern and international communication techniques. He developed the Six-Component-Model. This model enables companies, institutions and politicians to communicate and negotiate with counterparts from all over the world successfully. His career began as international manager at Philips and later he earned his doctorate as professor in communication. He has more than 35 years experience as manager and management trainer. Thus he knows both sides – theory and praxis – very well. As scientist, Prof. Beniers conducts frequently research in the field of intercultural communication. The results of his interesting research can be found in news articles, free pod casts, audio books and his E-books such as “Bridging The Cultural Gap.” Here, modern managers learn how to prepare for business meetings with people from different cultures; they acquire the techniques and tools to handle situations in times of crises successfully, master intercultural barriers, country-specific communication patterns, looking into personal cultural values & systems. Knowing all this, men can prevent cultural misunderstandings and misinterpretations – not only in business but also in private life.

Contact:


Prof. C.J.M. Beniers

Amaliaplaats 
2713 BJ Zoetermeer

The Netherlands

Telefone: +31 (0) 79 – 3 19  03 81

Mobile:  +31 (0) 6 2 061 8494

Email: info@beniers-consultancy.com

http://www.beniers-consultancy.com

 

Podcast Interkulturelle Kommunikation: Empathie-2

In diesem Podcast fahren wir weiter mit dem Thema der Empathie in der interkulturellen Kommunikation. Wir zeigen in diesem Podcast wie der Höflichkeitskodex unserer Kultur die Sensibilität im Umgang mit Empathie im allgemeinen und in der (inter)kulturellen Kommunikation bestimmt.

 

Prof. C.J.M. Beniers

NL Zoetermeer 01-10-2013

© Copyright 2013

About Professor C.J.M. Beniers


Prof. C.J.M. Beniers is a well known authority in the field of modern and international communication techniques. He developed the Six-Component-Model. This model enables companies, institutions and politicians to communicate and negotiate with counterparts from all over the world successfully. His career began as international manager at Philips and later he earned his doctorate as professor in communication. He has more than 35 years experience as manager and management trainer. Thus he knows both sides – theory and praxis – very well. As scientist, Prof. Beniers conducts frequently research in the field of intercultural communication. The results of his interesting research can be found in news articles, free pod casts, audio books and his E-books such as “Bridging The Cultural Gap.” Here, modern managers learn how to prepare for business meetings with people from different cultures; they acquire the techniques and tools to handle situations in times of crises successfully, master intercultural barriers, country-specific communication patterns, looking into personal cultural values & systems. Knowing all this, men can prevent cultural misunderstandings and misinterpretations – not only in business but also in private life.

Contact:


Prof. C.J.M. Beniers

Amaliaplaats 2
2713 BJ Zoetermeer

The Netherlands

Telefone: +31 (0) 79 – 3 19  03 81

Mobile:  +31 (0) 6 2 061 8494

Email: info@beniers-consultancy.com

http://www.beniers-consultancy.com

Podcast Interkulturelle Kommunikation: Vertrauen (Teil 3)

August 22, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: interkulturelle Kommunikation, Psychologie 

Die Globalisierung, die sich daraus ergebenden Kontakte und die damit einhergehenden Missverständnisse und Probleme im Bereich gegenseitigen Kulturverständnisses hat deutlich gemacht, dass man ohne Vertrauen zu sich selbst und zu anderen nicht erfolgreich mit anderen Personen und vor allem nicht mit anderen Kulturträgern kommunizieren kann. In diesem Podcast gehen wir tiefer darauf ein.

 

Prof. C.J.M. Beniers

NL Zoetermeer 22-08-2013

© Copyright 2013

About Professor C.J.M. Beniers


Prof. C.J.M. Beniers is a well known authority in the field of modern and international communication techniques. He developed the Six-Component-Model. This model enables companies, institutions and politicians to communicate and negotiate with counterparts from all over the world successfully. His career began as international manager at Philips and later he earned his doctorate as professor in communication. He has more than 35 years experience as manager and management trainer. Thus he knows both sides – theory and praxis – very well. As scientist, Prof. Beniers conducts frequently research in the field of intercultural communication. The results of his interesting research can be found in news articles, free pod casts, audio books and his E-books such as “Bridging The Cultural Gap.” Here, modern managers learn how to prepare for business meetings with people from different cultures; they acquire the techniques and tools to handle situations in times of crises successfully, master intercultural barriers, country-specific communication patterns, looking into personal cultural values & systems. Knowing all this, men can prevent cultural misunderstandings and misinterpretations – not only in business but also in private life.

Contact:


Prof. C.J.M. Beniers

Amaliaplaats 2
2713 BJ Zoetermeer

The Netherlands

Telefone: +31 (0) 79 – 3 19  03 81

Mobile:  +31 (0) 6 2 061 8494

Email: info@beniers-consultancy.com

http://www.beniers-consultancy.com

Podcast Interkulturelle Kommunikation: Vertrauen (Teil 2)

In diesem Podcast behandeln wir drei Möglichkeiten zur Stärkung unseres Selbstvertrauens: Kopf (Denken), Herz (Fühlen) und Hand (Handeln).

 

Prof. C.J.M. Beniers

NL Zoetermeer 20-08-2013

© Copyright 2013

About Professor C.J.M. Beniers


Prof. C.J.M. Beniers is a well known authority in the field of modern and international communication techniques. He developed the Six-Component-Model. This model enables companies, institutions and politicians to communicate and negotiate with counterparts from all over the world successfully. His career began as international manager at Philips and later he earned his doctorate as professor in communication. He has more than 35 years experience as manager and management trainer. Thus he knows both sides – theory and praxis – very well. As scientist, Prof. Beniers conducts frequently research in the field of intercultural communication. The results of his interesting research can be found in news articles, free pod casts, audio books and his E-books such as “Bridging The Cultural Gap.” Here, modern managers learn how to prepare for business meetings with people from different cultures; they acquire the techniques and tools to handle situations in times of crises successfully, master intercultural barriers, country-specific communication patterns, looking into personal cultural values & systems. Knowing all this, men can prevent cultural misunderstandings and misinterpretations – not only in business but also in private life.

Contact:


Prof. C.J.M. Beniers

Amaliaplaats 2
2713 BJ Zoetermeer

The Netherlands

Telefone: +31 (0) 79 – 3 19  03 81

Mobile:  +31 (0) 6 2 061 8494

Email: info@beniers-consultancy.com

http://www.beniers-consultancy.com

Podcast Interkulturelle Kommunikation: Vertrauen (Teil 1)

Interkulturelle Kommunikation ist nicht so einfach, denn in diesem Bereich spielt Vertrauen, und vor allem Selbstvertrauen, eine wesentliche Rolle. Dieser Podcast behandelt einige Grundsätze des Selbstvertrauens im interkulturellen Bereich.

 

Prof. C.J.M. Beniers

NL Zoetermeer 20-08-2013

© Copyright 2013

About Professor C.J.M. Beniers


Prof. C.J.M. Beniers is a well known authority in the field of modern and international communication techniques. He developed the Six-Component-Model. This model enables companies, institutions and politicians to communicate and negotiate with counterparts from all over the world successfully. His career began as international manager at Philips and later he earned his doctorate as professor in communication. He has more than 35 years experience as manager and management trainer. Thus he knows both sides – theory and praxis – very well. As scientist, Prof. Beniers conducts frequently research in the field of intercultural communication. The results of his interesting research can be found in news articles, free pod casts, audio books and his E-books such as “Bridging The Cultural Gap.” Here, modern managers learn how to prepare for business meetings with people from different cultures; they acquire the techniques and tools to handle situations in times of crises successfully, master intercultural barriers, country-specific communication patterns, looking into personal cultural values & systems. Knowing all this, men can prevent cultural misunderstandings and misinterpretations – not only in business but also in private life.

Contact:


Prof. C.J.M. Beniers

Amaliaplaats 2
2713 BJ Zoetermeer

The Netherlands

Telefone: +31 (0) 79 – 3 19  03 81

Mobile:  +31 (0) 6 2 061 8494

Email: info@beniers-consultancy.com

http://www.beniers-consultancy.com

Podcast Interkulturelle Kompetenz: Begriffsinhalte

In diesem Podcast gehen wir tiefer auf die Komponenten interkultureller Kompetenz ein, wie: Begegnung, Kooperation, Erfahrung, Sachkompetenz, Selbstkompetenz und Sozialkompetenz.

 

Prof. C.J.M. Beniers

NL Zoetermeer 01-07-2013

© Copyright 2013

About Professor C.J.M. Beniers


Prof. C.J.M. Beniers is a well known authority in the field of modern and international communication techniques. He developed the Six-Component-Model. This model enables companies, institutions and politicians to communicate and negotiate with counterparts from all over the world successfully. His career began as international manager at Philips and later he earned his doctorate as professor in communication. He has more than 35 years experience as manager and management trainer. Thus he knows both sides – theory and praxis – very well. As scientist, Prof. Beniers conducts frequently research in the field of intercultural communication. The results of his interesting research can be found in news articles, free pod casts, audio books and his E-books such as “Bridging The Cultural Gap.” Here, modern managers learn how to prepare for business meetings with people from different cultures; they acquire the techniques and tools to handle situations in times of crises successfully, master intercultural barriers, country-specific communication patterns, looking into personal cultural values & systems. Knowing all this, men can prevent cultural misunderstandings and misinterpretations – not only in business but also in private life.

Contact:


Prof. C.J.M. Beniers

Amaliaplaats 2
2713 BJ Zoetermeer

The Netherlands

Telefone: +31 (0) 79 – 3 19  03 81

Mobile:  +31 (0) 6 2 061 8494

Email: info@beniers-consultancy.com

http://www.beniers-consultancy.com

Podcast Interkulturelle Kompetenz: Wesensmerkmale

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In diesem Podcast beschäftigen wir uns mit dem Phänomen des interkulturellen Verständnisses. Bekanntlich ist Kommunikation zwischen Fremdkulturträgern in manchen Fällen ungemein schwierig und führt oft zu Missverständnissen. Dieser Podcast skizziert ein wichtiges Hilfsmittel, mit dem man möglichst viele interkulturell bedingte Missverständnisse vermeiden kann.

 

Prof. C.J.M. Beniers

NL Zoetermeer 01-07-2013

© Copyright 2013

About Professor C.J.M. Beniers


Prof. C.J.M. Beniers is a well known authority in the field of modern and international communication techniques. He developed the Six-Component-Model. This model enables companies, institutions and politicians to communicate and negotiate with counterparts from all over the world successfully. His career began as international manager at Philips and later he earned his doctorate as professor in communication. He has more than 35 years experience as manager and management trainer. Thus he knows both sides – theory and praxis – very well. As scientist, Prof. Beniers conducts frequently research in the field of intercultural communication. The results of his interesting research can be found in news articles, free pod casts, audio books and his E-books such as “Bridging The Cultural Gap.” Here, modern managers learn how to prepare for business meetings with people from different cultures; they acquire the techniques and tools to handle situations in times of crises successfully, master intercultural barriers, country-specific communication patterns, looking into personal cultural values & systems. Knowing all this, men can prevent cultural misunderstandings and misinterpretations – not only in business but also in private life.

Contact:


Prof. C.J.M. Beniers

Amaliaplaats 2
2713 BJ Zoetermeer

The Netherlands

Telefone: +31 (0) 79 – 3 19  03 81

Mobile:  +31 (0) 6 2 061 8494

Email: info@beniers-consultancy.com

http://www.beniers-consultancy.com

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