Intercultural Differences

Essay by JailahworldUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, March 2004

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Recognizing cultural differences when you write or speak with someone from another culture, you encode your message using the assumptions of your own culture. Members of your audience decode the message relating to the assumptions of their culture. So your meaning may be misunderstood. The greater the difference between cultures, the greater the chance for misunderstanding. Cultural differences are listed in four categories: Contextual, Legal and Ethical, Social, and Nonverbal.

Cultural context is the pattern of physical cues, environmental stimuli, and implicit understanding that conveys meaning between members of the same culture. High context cultures encourage lengthy decision making, concentrating on everything detail, and avoids confrontation and debate. Whereas low-context cultures emphasize quick, efficient decisions on major points while leaving the details to be worked out later and encourages open disagreement.

Cultural context also influences legal and ethical behavior. Legal systems differ from culture to culture the high context cultures views laws as being more flexible, low-context tend to value written agreements and interpret laws strictly..

Ethical choices can be even more complicated when communicating across cultures. Keep your messages ethical by actively seeking mutual ground exchanging messages without judgement, sending messages that are honest, and showing respect for cultural differences.

Social differences there are four types among cultures. In any culture etiquette play a major part. Formal rules of etiquette are explicit and well defined, but informal rules are learned through observation and imitation. When informal rules are violated members of the culture are likely to feel uncomfortable, they may not be able to say exactly why. Attitudes toward materialism people from the United States emphasize hard work, material success, and efficiency more than many people in other countries do. Roles and status, respect and rank are reflected differently from culture to culture and in their working environment. Use...