Cross-Cultural Communication


There is much culture around the world with many different forms, rules, values, and beliefs. A workplace that has not established intercultural communication can be a very expensive mistake. Communication is important in workplaces for it has shaped the culture and has also been influenced by culture through interaction of people from different ethnic background. When culture is based on policies and control model in place, communication is likely to follow the trend. When cultural norms are integrated well and promote workforce respect among themselves and worker involvement, then communication in that organization will be very efficient and continued participation will be achieved at both sending and receiving ends. Thesi s Statement

: cultural stereotypes are very significant part of understanding business communication and greatly enhance cultural communication in an organization.

Scope: A supportive workplace in terms of cultural stereotypes is very efficient in performance as these benefits both managers and junior employees (Rodgers & Steinfatt 1999). It also results in commitment to the organizational goals and reduces chances of leaving

Models of Cultural Stereotypes

Cultural stereotyping is very common in the daily lives of many people and many of them are so used to it that they do see it as a problem. There are several models that are used to describe these treatments of perception of people in different organizations like a business and so on (Cuddy et al 2009). The stereotype content mode suggests that the social setting was the greatest determent of the specific cultural stereotypes and was closely related to the emotional unfairness. There are possible universal principles of the stereotypes in the society and that association to social culture. The advantage of this model is that status quo is maintained where the status determine competence of individuals (Cuddy et al 2009. Disadvantages are that the

Cross-Cultural Communication

competition in an organization and also the people under question can just infer certain traits depending on the societal circumstances and the position (McAllister & Irvine 2000). Hofstedes model is the second model. In this model, Hofstede describes culture as collective indoctrination of people perception that makes them belong to a certain group, category or clique of people different from the other (Rodgers & Steinfatt 1999). Culture here is defined as having five dimensions;


Power distance – the different

resolutions to vital human inequalities or problems


Uncertainty avoidance – stress level

in that society concerning the unsure future

3. individualism versus collectivism –   incorporations of individuals to major groups

4. Masculinity versus femininity –   separation of emotional roles between male and female

personalities based

on their gender orientation, Baskerville (2003)

5. Long-term versus short-term

orientation – the choice of concentration of effort by the

people either

at present or in the future (Caprariello et al 2009).

The major advantage of this model is that it’s very simpler to understand and apply in real life since the differences are so evident, like feminine and masculine. However the model has the disadvantages of using the national boundaries as restriction for communication behaviour and ethnical origin yet some ethnicities go beyond the national boundaries (Hammer et al 2003). Its very imperative the with the current development and changes in the society, the institutions of government (like schools) and other organizations like businesses to proactively encourage the use of the new and emerging models of cultural communications (Eunson 2008)

Approaching Communication Using Cultural Stereotypes

Stereotypes are used partly because it’s generally very difficult if not impossible to find the individual aspects and characteristics of every person we are dealing with. People have different and very complicated information about them. It’s even more expensive spending time knowing or trying to comprehend why or in how many different ways do people act differently or act the same (McAllister & Irvine 2000). However with stereotypes, it’s very easy to learn to accept them in terms of groups or even just as individuals. So stereotyping can make communication very efficient. This is because it eliminates the challenges of trying to understand people who are not acting in the ways we perceive normal. Unfortunately, in most cases these stereotyping

Cross-Cultural Communication

are usually incorrect and has been used by some people as a scapegoat to separate their behaviour from those of others (Caprariello et al 2009). In most instances people usually do not agree with the acts of other cultures and as a result tend to develop negative stereotype because they differing from our own we deem them wrong.

Cultural Stereotypes are Dynamic

The cultural norms are usually very dynamic and this is usually because, the society make up is constantly changing in terms of newer technology, multiracial integration, education among others. Everyone is very much different from the other at individual level. Inn the U.S for instance, it’s estimated that, there is always an influx of about 10% of people every year (Hammer et al 2003). Since people must interact, there is always and ongoing creation of new equilibrium or balances as they try to adjust and accommodate each other despite the difference in culture. It’s very important therefore to understand that being so different does not imply that others are wrong. Several strategies to deal with these communication issues include: Ask Questions: it’s important to find out what you don’t from others. Some fear to ask others where they are from as they are scared of sounding offensive or be seen as a racist. This hinders communication efforts. People should be encouraged to talk about culture, form friendship and soon will be able to work together efficiently. Learning about other people’s culture has proved to be a better way of appreciating cultural diversity (Thorne 2003). Be

Open-Minded and Respectful:

cultural diversity can be misinterpreted of confused. Respecting the way others work and how you interact with them is very important as they are likely to respect you back. Learn from others rather than considering yourself to be the best and only make logical critics. Apologize for you actions and ask how you can improve on your character. Celebrate cultural holidays together and even hold cultural awareness meetings (Barna 1994).

Indulge People as Individuals:

stereotyping is very detrimental to people’s morale to work at times and also culture does not define who a person is. This means that moral understanding can result if one is not critical in evaluation. Do not rush into solutions or conclusions based on ethnicity. Get to understand workmates despite their culture

(Matveev &

Nelson 2004)



Cross-Cultural Communication

Culture, apart from the direct benefits of positive attitude towards work, it also increases the utilization rates of work and personal; life balance policies. Recognition and appreciating different cultural norm will help to come up with a communication model that will be very effective, efficient and satisfactory in handing conflicts at workplaces. The cultural norms about the appropriate behaviour at workplaces are not clearly stated neither have they evolved enough to be traditional recognized. This is the basic concern for fostering effective dialogue at workplaces.

Cross-Cultural Communication


Barna L.M (1994). Stumbling Blocks to Intercultural Communication. A Reader. Wadsworth Publishing pp 337 – 346

Baskerville R.F. (2003). Hofstede Never Studied Culture’, Accounting, Organizations and Society, Vol. 28, No. 1, pp. 1-14.

Caprariello. P.A, Cuddy A.J.C & Fiske .S.T (2009). Social Structures Shapes Cultural Stereotypes and Emotions — A Causal Test for Stereotype Model. Group Processes &

Cross-Cultural Communication

Inter-group Relations, Vol. 12: No. 2: pp 147-155

Cuddy A.J et al (2009). Stereotype Content Model across Cultures. To Universal Similarity and Differences. British Journal of Psychology 48; 1 – 34

Eunson. B (2008). Intercultural Communication, In Communicating In the Twenty-First Century, Chapter 16, 2nd Ed, Wiley, Milton, Queensland, pp 457-481.

Hammer, M. R., Bennett, M. J., & Wiseman, R (2003). Measuring intercultural competence: The Intercultural Development Inventory. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 27(4), 421-443.

Matveev A.V Nelson P.E (2004). Cross Cultural Communication Competence and Multicultural Team Performance International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, Vol. 4, No. 2. pp 253-270

McAllister G. & Irvine J.J (2000). Cross Cultural Competency. Educational Research. Vol. 70. No. 1 pp 4 – 25

Rodgers E.M & Steinfatt T.M (1999). Intercultural Communication. American Communication Journal. Vol. 4 issue 2

Thorne. S.T (2003). Artefacts and Cultures-of-Use in Intercultural Communication. Language, Learning & Technology Journal, Vol. 7.