The role of intercultural communication in business in the face of global change
Updated: Jan 9, 2021
Dr. Edit Bregu, Senior Lecturer at “Wisdom” University College, Vice Dean at the Law Department, Trainer and Development Officer at CENTURY 21 Albania Macedonia and Montenegro, also taught the CSB Pilot Course proposed by Wisdom, core activity of the Erasmus Plus K203 Project "Cultural Studies in Business".
In this article she analyzes all the aspects related to culture taking into account globalization, intercultural communication in business, the cultural changes and conflict which can arise due to differences in values and norms of behavior of people from different cultures.
Culture is about the ideas, habits and social behavior of people and society. A culture is a way of life of a group of people; behaviors, beliefs, values and symbols that they accept and that are passed along with communication and imitation from one generation to another.
According to Walter Lippmann: Culture is the name for what people are interested in, their thoughts, their patterns, the books they read, and the speeches they hear.
One of the most interesting aspects of studying the culture is the identification of cultural differences, which create diversity in cultural elements. The four main pillars of cultural change are: communication styles, attitudes towards conflict, decision-making style and the desire and willingness to learn. While the elements that orient the culture are: beliefs, values, expectations and behaviors. Meanwhile, if we refer to communication and culture, we can say that both influence and direct each other.
Intercultural communication is a field of study that studies how people from different cultural backgrounds communicate, in similar and different ways, and how they try to communicate through the different cultures from which they come. People in different countries have different ways of interpreting events and situations; they have different habits, values and ways of relating to each other. When these differences encounter each other, problems appear!
The development of globalization has made people belonging to different cultures to work together. During this process, in addition to the climate of understanding and cooperation, various conflicts can be created. Cultural conflicts arise due to differences in values and norms of behavior of people from different cultures. A person acts according to the values and norms of his culture; another person who has a different worldview may interpret his behavior from a different perspective. This situation creates misunderstandings and can lead to conflict inside a company or business. The same gestures can be accompanied by different interpretations.
Cultural changes can affect business communication and consequently the success of a business. It is important to understand the logic that everything we communicate is a battle of perception! We are not Robinson Crusoe in this world and we need our communication in business to be effective… and above all we want to be understood by others!
The most important elements in intercultural communication in business are: first impressions, opening and closing conversations, choosing appropriate conversation topics, respecting others during conversations, knowing how to interrupt others without creating misunderstandings. Meanwhile, the differences to be considered in intercultural communication in business are: frequency of eye contact, use of hands while talking, use of first names against titles, physical distance between communicators, perseverance, speed of speech, tone of voice and the use of facial expressions. Intercultural communication in business is of great importance.
Three important elements that highlight the value and importance of intercultural communication in business are:
First, productivity. Communication across cultures effectively improves productivity and efficiency within a company. Undoubtedly, a lot of work must be done by each company in order to improve and increase the effectiveness in the culture of communication within a company, which will undoubtedly affect the overall productivity of that company.
Second, synergy between colleagues. It's important to create a cultural synergy between people from different cultures within a business. Communication is definitely one of the most important factors that influence the creation of the right climate of cooperation between employees in a company.
And the third, is global expansion. Globalization has enabled people from different cultures to work together. Communication serves as a catalyst and highly effective tool to avoid problems arising from misinterpretation when professionals from different cultures and societies work together in businesses which are expanding globally day by day.
Article written by
Dr. Edit Bregu, Senior Lecturer at “Wisdom” University College, Vice Dean at the Law Department, Trainer and Development Officer at CENTURY 21 Albania Macedonia and Montenegro. Lecturer on the behalf of the CSB Pilot Course, core activity of the Erasmus Plus K203 Project "Cultural Studies in Business".