Communication in the E-World
Most often when people think of communication, they think of particular activities such as verbal, written, and audio/visual presentations. This is especially true in business; indeed a review of almost any organization will find a function called "Communications". Within this function you can see activities such as advertising, direct mail, publishing and press relations. Nowadays, you will also typically find a collection of activities around the new e-technology with Intranets, Internets and Extranets.
In consideration of the way we organize and discuss communication, it is quite easy to forget that while it covers a broad range of activities, communication is, in fact, a process. We communicate not only when we speak but also when we listen. We communicate not just when we hear but when we understand and that process needs to be regularly tested. You have not succeeded in communicating if you have not created that shared understanding.
The communication process in business extends far beyond the interface between the organization and the client. For any group activity requires communication and business is inherently a group activity. People must come together in teams to deliver the desired output. Suppliers, Employees, Investors, Partners - all have an important role in the communication process.
Based on my experience with my employer (a specialty retailer) and our experience of working with many vendors throughout the world, the likelihood of the communication process being derailed due to "noise" of cultural differences is very likely. One instance in which this occurred was with a filled textile product from India. My company has a manual of standards clearly dictating the requirements for textile labeling: the care, content and country of origin label, the US law label and the Canadian law label. It also itemizes which states and provinces the vendors must...