Intercultural communication In business And Organisations
Romania-Insider.comStarts a series of articles on intercultural communication, focusing on practical aspects that will help you deal with your Romanian business partners as well as with partners in the Eastern Europen region, while bridging the cultural differences between them. Read the introductory article of this series below and feel free to send us your ideas or examples of actual situations where more knowledge on intercultural communication would have come in handy.
By Irina Budrina
Where the cultures meet
Let’s imagine that somebody has asked you to dance and you are moving on the dance floor with your partner in the belief that you know this dance. But it takes you a few steps to realize that something is wrong. Your movements do not match your partner’s movements as a result you both do not follow the music and each other’s expectations. Your partner’s rhythm is different from yours and you feel that you are often about to step on each other’s toes. But you do want to dance together, and neither of you leave the dance floor and you both take the initiative to find a solution. Your body is super-attentive in the attempt to find steps that will allow you to move together with the music. Finally you both succeed in creating a pattern of a joint dance. It isn’t the dance that you both first expected and probably not the one that your partner imagined either.
This situation on the dance floor is very similar to the Intercultural Communication (ICC) where doubts and misunderstandings arise because parties have different views and expectations of what should happen. The response you get may be different from the one you expect, and it makes you uncertain about the other party’s intentions. If a cross-cultural environment is to be constructive and fruitful, both parties must bring their cultural intelligence into play and this is very similar to what happened during dancing.
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How best can an organisation ensures effective intercultural communication
Firstly, an organization should start with being respectful of other cultures. By learning about the other culture, the organization will be able to be more effective at communicating.
Secondly, if the organization is really big, it can hire people who are multi-lingual full-time. If it is a smaller organization, it can hire an interpreter part-time.