The paper ' The Importance of Effective Cross-cultural Communication in Business Today' is a wonderful example of a Busines Essay. A major challenge that companies operating internationally faces is the increased diversity in the workforce and likewise, multifaceted prospective consumers who have different cultural backgrounds. Cultural nuances, language barriers, and divergence of values can lead to unintended misunderstandings as well as low efficiency when it comes to internal communication in a multinational setting. Cross-cultural communication serves as a lubricant that lessens the frictions, make improvements to the overall work efficiency, resolve conflicts, integrates collective strength and wisdom, and uniting different cultures.
Cultural factors influence communication as well as the success potential of communication. Cultural awareness, therefore, plays an essential role in shaping the manner in which firms behave in cross-culturally reflected markets such as in international markets. Cultural factors function as invisible barriers when it comes to international business communication. For firms to gain a competitive advantage in international markets they need to have a clear and concise understanding of the cultural differences. This paper sets out to discuss the importance of effective cross-cultural communication in business today.
This will be done in four stages. The first section will be a literature review, and it will focus on a summary of views presented by at least three sources. This will section will be followed by the description and explaining of three problems or issues that business students and companies need to be aware of in relation to the importance of cross-cultural communication in goal achievement and business productivity. The next section will identify and analyze three approaches that can be used to overcome the issues.
The last section will compare two companies: one which shows success in overcoming cross-cultural communication problems while the other shows failure. Discussion Various sources have examined the reasons as to why cross-cultural communication is important in modern-day business. According to Guang and Trotter 2012, effective intercultural communication is essential for success. Business communication is seen as two interactive communication. Marketers need to convey information to the market, gather and collect and make use of the information obtained. Failure to do so may lead to loss of business. A critical issue that business students and companies need to be aware of in relation to the importance of cross-cultural communication in goal achievement and business productivity is that, culture has an effect on the effectiveness of advertising.
Advertising is significantly influenced by language and language is one of the major elements of culture. Furthermore, the adverting structure and budget are formulated based on consumption styles and buying habits (Guang and Trotter 2012). These are also influenced by norms and values. Theorists such as Pollay and Gallagher 1990 supports this concept when they make claims that, culture affects the choices of themes and roles that are depicted in advertising.
These concepts are related to the underlying cultural norms and values. Thus in essence, every element of culture has an influence on the facet of advertising that is an essential part of business communication. To solve this issue, different advertisements need to be made for different people based on their culture. At the same time, companies need to research on the most appropriate form of advertising to use for particular audiences. Another importance of effective cross-cultural communication is that enterprises can understand cultural diversity and how they can manage it effectively in a bid to improve workplace performance.
This includes teamwork, relationships, productivity, competitiveness, market knowledge, customer service, and competitiveness (Australian Multicultural Foundation 2010). When people communicate with each other irrespective of their diversity, they are able to work in teams to improve the performance of the organization. A major issue that relates to cross-cultural communication refers to how people deal with diversity. A great number of managers all over the world have in one way or another managed diversity.
A great number of managers and business owners have to deal with situations that involve cultural differences as they occur or at times they ignore or avoid them (Guang and Trotter 2012). In reality, those who actively manage cultural diversity are the ones who are likely to be more competitive in the market. A major way to deal with diversity issues is to have a clear and concise understanding of what satisfies and motivates employees irrespective of the circumstances and backgrounds.
Cultural history is one of the most complexes of the various dimensions of diversity that has an influence on individual motivations and expectations along with other aspects such as gender, age, mental ability, education, and physical ability (Cheng & Seeger 2012). Additionally, there is a need for the formulation of diversity management strategies that are closely linked to both individual and organizational performance. By knowing how the differences affect decisions, relationships, and actions in the social environment and the workplace, managers can put measures in place to assist in improving team and individual performance. The other importance of effective cross-cultural communication is that, when managed effectively and diversity encouraged, it can act as a source of competitive advantage.
There is a widely accepted conception that while particular experience and knowledge of diverse culture is beneficial, it does not in any way guarantee intercultural competence (Chitrao 2010). There seems to be a lack of training, as well as preparation. It is, therefore, essential that intercultural competence needs to be developed in organizations through continuous training as well as skills updating. As a matter of fact, this competency needs to be developed in the early stages by various educational institutions. A major issue relates to communication challenges.
This issue has a significant impact on businesses since, when people are not able to communicate effectively, they are likely to misunderstand and misinterpret each other. The communication challenges can be overcome through personnel exchange and learning. Based on Pothukuchi, Damanpour, Choi, Chen, & Park (2002), the joint venture that has organizational structures that are delicately proactive to the various cultural differences, have enhanced ability in overcoming cultural barriers.
Also, communication needs to be accurate, timely, and accessible to all members. When companies get these concepts wrong, they are likely to hit the headlines, and this could be damaging to their reputation. A bad reputation mainly leads to reduced sales and the business may eventually fail if the bad reputation is not managed effectively. Companies going through a merger and acquisition may be faced with a collection of intense external and internal challenges. One company that demonstrates the failure in overcoming the cross-cultural communication problems is BenQ.
BenQ, which is a Taiwanese based company, was in the headlines in June 2005, when they successfully acquired the money-losing division of the mobile phone of Germany Siemens. The acquisition was seen as a strategic mistake; this was because the two companies were not able to integrate successfully. The two companies reflected different cultural realities with Taiwan representing the oriental Confucian group and Germany representing the Germanic European culture (Cheng & Seeger 2011). The German culture tends to be more focused on individual rights, personal independence, and contracts, and the Taiwanese culture seems to be less future-oriented, more collectivist, less assertive and more rule-oriented.
The two companies were very different from the organizational cultures to the national cultures. The failure of BenQ needs to offer a valuable lesson to companies that plan to integrate in the future to create their global brand. Mergers and acquisitions can be successful if managers take note of different cultures and allocate an adequate amount of resources and time in assimilating the host country’ s culture. In regard to the internalization project in Australian education, proper support needs to be offered to the international students studying in Australian and other offshore locations.
This will play an essential role in encouraging other students to embark on an international study program (Brydon & Liddell 2012). A company that demonstrates success in overcoming the cross-cultural communication problems is Volvo Construction Equipment's acquisition of Samsung Heavy Industry's Division of construction equipment. During the early stages of the acquisitions, the interviewees from both companies depicted conflicting opinions in regard to a number of HRM-related issues, and this eventually led to various problems. Acquired employees tend to view natural culture differences negatively, and this mostly leads to clashes during the post-acquisition process (Lee, Kim & Park 2014).
With time, the employees were able to deal with the differences and work collaboratively with each other. Conclusion The above discussion clearly evidences that, effective cross-cultural communication is an essential factor for modern-day businesses. Managers operating in global marketplaces need to be aware of the various issues and the way they can address them, and this goes a long way in making their organizations more efficient since, employees understand each other and work towards the achievement of organizational goals. Prior to venturing into markets that have diverse cultures, managers need to allocate an adequate amount of resources and time in assimilating the host country's culture.
By doing so, they are likely to eliminate all the barriers related to cross-cultural communication.
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