Intercultural Communication in the Workplace

Essay by KatinaccA+, June 2005

download word file, 4 pages 3.5 1 reviews

Employers today face many challenges trying to ensure that diversity in their workplace is not a source of conflict, but a source of strength. The workplace today is a constantly changing environment. As the company's needs change so does the employees. In a lot of companies there are employees, from many different cultures, that speak different languages. While it is the companies' responsibility to ensure that the environment is comfortable for their employees, it is important for other employees to play a role in helping to make a diverse environment a comfortable one as well. Thus leading to the example that I am about to give.

I am an employee with Johnson Controls. The company has over three hundred people working in the same plant or location. There are employees from all different cultures there. There are primarily African Americans, but there are also Caucasians, Arab Americans and Germans as well.

The Arab American employees do not speak English fluently and some of the German employees cannot read or write in the English language as well. Most of those employees required the assistance of an interpreter just to complete an application and the rest of the hiring process. This is where the communication issue lies.

A communication issue arose when there was a project that needed to be completed and each person was responsible for choosing a partner to assist them in completing their portion of the project. Everyone paired up in teams of two, but there was one man, a Caucasian, that did not want the partner that he was left with, who was an Arab American. The Caucasian man complained of the fact that the Arab American man could not speak English well enough for them to communicate with one another. When it was time to relay information...