Cross-Cultural Communications in Business MGT 3003: Business Communication & Professional Development Dr. Bennie Wilson University of Texas at San Antonio
We’re Going To Talk About…. • A Communications Model • What is “Culture”? • Good Cross-Cultural Communicators • High-Context Cultures • Low-Context Cultures
A Communications Model Channel Sender Message Audience Feedback
A Better Communications Model Context Channel Sender Message Audience Feedback
What is Culture??? • Provides patterns of acceptable behavior & beliefs. • May be based on…. • Nationality • Race and Religion • Historical Roots • …All of the Above
Good Intercultural Communicators Are…. • Aware values & behaviors not always “right.” • Flexible & open to change.
And….. • Sensitive to verbal & nonverbal behavior. • Aware of values, beliefs, practices of other cultures. • Sensitive to differences withincultures.
Infer information from message context, rather than from content. Prefer indirectness, politeness & ambiguity. Convey little information explicitly. Rely heavily on nonverbal signs. Asian Latin American Middle Eastern High-Context Cultures
Rely more on content rather than on context. Explicitly spell out information. Value directness. See indirectness as manipulative. Value written word more than oral statements. European Scandinavian North American Low-Context Cultures
Some Cultural Scenarios Japan China India Mexico
JAPAN To help her American Company establish a presence in Japan, Mrs. Torres wants to hire a local interpreter who can advise her on business customs. Ms. Tomari has superb qualifications on paper, but when Mrs. Torres tries to probe about her experience, Ms. Tomari just says, “I will do my best. I will try very hard.” She never gives details about any of the previous positions she has held. Mrs. Torres begins to wonder if Ms. Tomari's résumé is inflated.
CHINA Stan Williams wants to negotiate a joint venture between his American firm and a Beijing-based company. He asks Tung-Sen Lee if the Chinese people have enough discretionary income to afford his product. Mr. Lee is silent for a time, and then says, “Your product is good. People in the West must like it.” Stan smiles, pleased that Mr. Lee recognizes the quality of his product, and he leaves a contract for Mr. Lee to sign. Weeks later, Stan still hasn’t heard anything. If China is going to be so inefficient, he wonders if his company should try to do business there.
INDIA Gloria Johnson is proud of her participatory management style. Assigned in Bombay on behalf of her U.S.-based company, she is careful not to give orders but to ask for suggestions. But the employees rarely suggest anything. Even a formal suggestion system she established does not work. Worse still, she doesn’t sense the respect and camaraderie that she felt at the plant she managed in Texas. Perhaps the people in India just are not ready for a woman boss.
MEXICO Alan Caldwell is a U.S. sales representative in Mexico City. He makes appointments with Senõr Lopez and is careful to be on time, but his host is frequently late. To save time, Alan tries to get right to business, his host wants to talk about sightseeing and about Alan’s family. Even worse, the meetings are interrupted constantly with phone calls, long conversations with other people, and even customers’ children who come into the office. Alan’s first report to his home office is very negative. He hasn’t yet made a sale. Perhaps Mexico just isn’t the right place to do business.
Cross-Cultural Communications in Business MGT 3003, Business Communications Dr. Bennie Wilson University of Texas at San Antonio