The cultural dimension of communication
The concept of culture often evokes nations and a national culture. However, there are cultural groups of many different natures that are not national, such as corporate and professional. All of us are therefore likely to be confronted with communication challenges across cultures, whether we live and work across cultures in the national sense or simply need to communicate with people from various backgrounds and organisations. In this edition of the newsletter, we offer you some insight into the cultural dimension of communication.
Tips out of The Training Box
Culture: a group phenomenon
Culture is a collective phenomenon and it comes in “layers”. Understand how it impacts you to prepare for the cross-cultural challenge.
The cross-cultural challenge
Choose a different default setting in your mental programming and value diversity rather than judging it.
Don’t use culture as an excuse
Don't play the blame game - distinguish between cultural orientations, abilities and behaviours.
The Training Box Quick Fix
One definition (Bates and Plog,1990) defines culture as “the system of shared beliefs, values, customs, behaviours, and artifacts that the members of society use to cope with their world and with one another, and that are transmitted from generation to generation through social learning”. At The Training Box, we like a much simpler definition, “The way
we do things around here.”
1. Culture has an impact on every human activity: how we view time, how we organise ourselves, define our purpose, relate to power etc. and it leads to perceptions, beliefs, values, behaviours, norms that may not always be clear to others.
2. We are all culturally unique: every person carries patterns of thinking, feeling and behaviour, much of which has been learned or assimilated, starting in childhood.It can be difficult to “unlearn” these things and adapt our communication style and behaviour.
3. Different is different – not necessarily better or worse: cultural orientation can divide or enrich depending upon your ability and inclination to rise to the challenges presented by cross-cultural communication.
If you enjoyed reading this newsletter and find our tips useful, why not forward it to your colleagues, friends and families?
“This book walks the talk.”
Check out “52 Brilliant Communication Tips” by Maureen Steele.
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