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Intercultural Communication in the Workplace Paper - Essay Example

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Ke Kou Ke La" - this is the phonetic equivalent of Coca Cola in Chinese language. From the first glance, everything is ok; however, the Chinese person will laugh at this phrase because its translation is "female horse stuffed with wax". The famous slogan of Pepsi "Come alive with the Pepsi generation" in Taiwan sounds as "Pepsi will bring your ancestors back from the dead." There are many similar examples in practice of the international business (Spangle 2002)…
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Intercultural Communication in the Workplace Paper
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Download file to see previous pages It has become the common practice for the international companies to invite foreign partners to work on the projects. For example, if IKEA plans to expand its operations to the Korean market, the top management might consider an option of cooperation with Korean sales representatives who have both the knowledge and skills to make the integration more successful. Such cooperation is not always successful, unfortunately. The major problem is caused by the lack of cultural understanding.
The American company plans to start the new marketing campaign to be used both in United States and in Japan, one of the key target markets. Being aware of cultural differences and willing to avoid wrong perception or translation of the slogan, it was decided to invite the group of marketing specialists from Japan. Five Japanese specialists came to United States and joined the company's marketing team. It was the well-thought-of decision to invite them; however, the project initiator has not paid enough attention to a very important issue - intercultural communication in the workplace setting. So, what was the problem The American member of the team presented his proposal to the Japanese member. While explaining his ideas, the American points to the paragraph he considered the most important. The Japanese draws in his breath and says that this idea needs special attention. The American decides that his idea is considered favorably. The misunderstanding here is that the American specialist concluded that the meeting is successful while the Japanese specialist wanted to point out that there are serious difficulties.
Miscommunication is the major source of discomfort and conflict at work. More women, ethnic minorities and foreigners are entering the workforce and, as the result, the workplace is getting increasingly multicultural. Communication is more than what is said, written or expressed. Representatives of the different cultures have different communication styles: it means how, when and why the information is said. Misunderstanding occurs when the communications style of one individual differs from communication style of another individual (Ting-Toomy 2001). The problem becomes more complex when the communication styles differ based on the cultural heritage and both parties lack the knowledge of these differences.
Americans v Japanese
Americans are more direct in communication and if there is the problem, they expect to hear it in forthright manner; while the Japanese specialists prefer indirect communication style: less assertive. Sayings like "special attention is needed" might indicate that there are serious problems. In addition, Japanese are more reluctant to say "No". For example, the indefinite answer in perceived as undesired to cooperate by American business people, while Japanese are willing to say "Yes" as the sign that they are listening. When is comes to making an agreement, Japanese are not likely to say unconditional "Yes" or "No". This small cultural peculiarity might lead to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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