Hidden Barriers to Communicating in Multicultural Business.

Essay by cityfanUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, December 2003

download word file, 4 pages 4.0

Downloaded 161 times

One of the most important assertions that I personally, and I know most of us in the J08 class have learnt during our time together, is what is stated at the bottom of the first page of this article - "we must know ourselves before we can begin to understand others". In fact this is the main point that those in my discussion group came out of this course thinking. Before we can get to learn and communicate competently and coherently with those of a different culture, and be able to navigate through the nuances of their cultural reservation points and frames of reference, we first have to appreciate our own and realise the extent to which it places demands and expectations upon us. Until we do this and fully appreciate how our ways of thinking are affected and in some ways determined by our cultural self we will be at pains to communicate in an effective intercultural way.

The decisions we make and the decisions other people make are all affected by this sentiment. How different cultures view our decision making or actions taken, or how they explain our actions in the context of their perceived validity is all affected by cultural assumptions. Another quotation from the article that is particularly pertinent is "what is plausible as a problem and credible as a solution is largely cultural". Indeed even "rationality is largely cultural".

Therefore for a multinational company (MNC) to employ staff who can manage relationships of cultural diversity well this is obviously a huge asset. Those people who can work for a company with international and multicultural diversity, and understand these different cultural requirements are therefore incredibly desirable. What the article says however is that for the proportion of MNCs operating in these environments there is a relative...