Intercultural Communication Competence
Intercultural competence is the individual’s ability to operate efficiently across cultures among people from different cultures across the globe. As a result of globalization, intercultural communication is becoming more necessary and shapes the experiences, beliefs, and values at the individual and societal levels (Godwin-Jones, 2019).
This competence is reflected in communication leading to intercultural communication competence, which leads to establishing a diverse and influential relationship by creating an understanding of each other. The occurrence of a global pandemic in December 2019 has led to the need for greater cooperation among people from various cultures to control and end the Coronavirus, for example, the creation of multiple vaccines.
Cultural Taxonomies Developed by Edward Hall and Gert Hofstede
Edward Hall and Gert Hofstede are some of the most dominant personalities in the case of cross-cultural analysis, which involves communication, psychology, sociology, and anthropology. Gert Hofstede focuses on the systematic differences between nations regarding values, attitudes, and beliefs.
On the other hand, Edward Hall attempted to analyze and interpret interactions and communication between cultures across time, space, and context (Godwin-Jones, 2019). Hofstede’s cultural taxonomies include restraint versus indulgence, short-versus long-term, uncertainty avoidance index, femininity versus masculinity, individualism versus collectivism, and power distance index. The cross-cultural analysis is criticized for being based on inconclusive research.
Intercultural Communication Competence: White Privilege
Yes, according to the critical race theory, there is a White privilege in the United States and Western civilization. White people tend to have embedded dominance, based merely on their race, a trait that has an overriding cultural significance. The main consequence of White privilege is the systemic oppression of other races (Lovoll, 2020).
This is based on the fact that the prosperity of our civilization is a result of the work done by people of color who were slaves for a century. It is essential to note that people of African decent provided slave labour in the plantation while the Asians were used as slaves in constructing railroads. This white privilege results from both covert and overt oppression of people of color.
Intercultural Communication Competence: Assimilating microcultures in the US
The First Amendment guarantees all Americans the right to associate and express themselves freely. This has led to creating one of the most vibrant cultures in history, as freedom leads to the generation and exploration of radical ideas (Lovoll, 2020). Therefore, it would be rather ignorant and vicious to claim that people from micro-cultures should assimilate into the mainstream American culture. Additionally, the claim that a mainstream American culture should override the micro-cultures is rather racists and oppressive. Furthermore, the existence of micro-cultures makes the American culture richer.
Intercultural Communication Competence: Categorization, Stereotyping, and Ethnocentrism
Intercultural communication is exchanging information and ideas across social groups and cultures. It, therefore, facilitates the recognition and respect for the differences between one’s own culture and the other cultures in the society. Cultural categorization is the grouping of the members of the society according to traits such as sexual orientation, age, gender, and ethnicity, which affects the way they interact and communicate with the rest of the society.
Stereotyping is the association of traits to an individual based on generalized belief associated with a category that they are culturally associated with (Godwin-Jones, 2019). On the other hand, ethnocentrism is a conscious or unconscious ethnic or cultural bias based on one’s own culture with cultures across the world.
Intercultural Communication Competence: Sapir-Whorf hypothesis
The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis suggests that the language structure affects the speaker’s cognition or worldview. One fundamental tenet of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, also known as linguistic relativism, is linguistic determinism which suggests that language affects thoughts and cognitive function. The second tenet is weaker and is known as linguistic diversity, which claims that languages tend to be different but influence thoughts and decisions. Because an individual’s language tends to affect how they think, intercultural communication becomes more challenging.
Intercultural Communication Competence: Verbal versus nonverbal codes
Verbal codes are a set of rules in the utilization of words in creating messages, something that can be oral or written. Non-verbal codes, on the other hand, facilitate the transfer of the message without words and instead involve music, chronemics, space, vocalists, and kinesics. However, in both, the goal is to communicate or pass a given message (Asan et al., 2020). It is also important to note that both verbal and non-verbal codes tend to differ from one culture to another, which creates the need for Intercultural Communication Competence.
Intercultural Communication Competence: An American business in Japan
The American and Japanese cultures are pretty different, evident in how these cultures conduct themselves. Being an American entrepreneur in Japan would be a delicate pursuit due to the cultural difference between the two countries. I would be concerned with Intercultural Communication Competence and that of the employee in the business with not only the Japanese language but also the culture. According to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, understanding the Japanese language may enable the employee and me to be more competent in Japanese thinking.
Intercultural Communication Competence: Context
Dr. Dinesh Mammen
According to the shocking nature of Dr. Mammen’s assertion, I would recognize that the Indian culture is quite different from the American culture. It is an indication that the Indian culture is significantly patriarchal, something that may have both positive and negative consequences. I would take the opportunity to understand this aspect of Indian culture and ask Mrs. Mammen why she prefers to remain at home while her husband pursuits his career. Are the family needs so much that she needs to attend to them full time? I also note that Dr. Mammen used the terminology; her husband needs something male chauvinistic but would not rush to criticize him, and instead, I would attempt to understand him.
An English-only movement is a form of White nationalism and cultural purists. Based on the fact that American society comprises people from different cultures, it would be necessary that the American government accommodate other languages like Spanish, Arabic, Swahili, Mandarin, and Japanese.
Additionally, businesses with signs in their store windows that read: “Only English spoken here” are responsible for discriminating against people who predominantly use other languages. The claim that there is an American identity that supersedes the individual’s right to use language they understand and should be protected is rather ignorant and a unique feature of the society evident in oppressive regimes in history like Nazi Germany.
The US marketing manager of a major car producer in Japan
The United States marketing manager of a major car producer is undergoing an experience known as culture shock. Here, he is operating in a foreign and unfamiliar culture, which leads to personal disorientation. It would be important to provide him with two alternatives, namely, an opportunity in a territory with a familiar culture.
Alternatively, the major car producer can educate all its workers on intercultural communication, whereby people seek to understand each other and cooperate across cultural boundaries. The Japanese workers need to know how the Westerners perceive their communication and mitigate this disparity.
A North American Consultant in an Indonesian bank
The North American consultant is seeking to motivate the workers in the Indonesian bank by granting them an elevated social status relative to their colleagues if they perform exemplary. However, it is essential to note a cultural difference between Indonesia and America. It would be necessary to explore whether the suggestion is suitable for the Indonesian cultural setting (Furnham, 2019).
It is crucial to identify other motivating means that resonate with the Indonesian culture. Singling an individual in the Indonesian culture may be perceived as rude or at least uncomfortable something that would disqualify it as a motivational technique.
A Singapore businessman in Saudi Arabia
This scenario indicates a difference in time perception between Singapore and Saudi Arabian culture. Singapore businesses are frustrated with their Saudi partner’s behavior due to the cultural difference between the two countries. One culture views time as linear and is thus a scarce resource that deserves to be conserved, while the other views time as endless and cyclical.
This can be mitigated by the Singaporean businessman accommodating the Saudi culture given that he is in Saudi Arabia. His schedule should accommodate any inconveniences in the utilization of time by the Saudis (Furnham, 2019). Upon creating a rapport, the Singaporean can casually relate to his Saudi counterpart on the specific difference between their culture, especially in relationship with time.
Intercultural Communication Competence: Scenario
1. A Better Way of Doing Things?
Mr. Jones seems to be culturally incompetent in his interaction with his Japanese workplace. He is currently undergoing an experience known as cultural shock. Due to his cultural incompetence, any frustration due to the cultural differences is taken as a personal vendetta. It would be important for him to understand that he is in a foreign culture that is quite different from America. Additionally, he is restless by hurriedly going through his work while his colleagues take their time to ensure that their reports are accurate.
A addresses the frustration by complaining and attempting to change the culture in the company to accommodate his understanding of intercultural communication competence and work. It would be more effective to become culturally competent and more self-aware. Therefore, Mr. Jones is a person who is experiencing culture shock and is unaware of the situation, something that can be attributed to bigotry.
2. American visitor
Being an American visitor in dining hosted by an English Family is a scenario that is expected to expose the differences between the two cultures. In this scenario, awkwardness arose due to the difference in the perception of nonverbal codes between the British and American cultures. While I communicated with John Creighton, he was very receptive but became uncomfortable when I extended his arm to the shoulders.
Therefore the mistake was violating his personal space by touching him. Upon such an occurrence, I would apologize and attribute the awkwardness of the differences between our cultures to continue conversing (Furnham, 2019). Additionally, due to my admiration of John Creighton, I am likely to experience social anxiety while interacting with him.
3. Speaking in Germany
The uneasiness in Mr. Smith’s public address in Germany results from the cultural shock arising from the unawareness of the differences between the American and German cultures. Being aware of these cultural differences, Mr. Smith could have changed his speech to match a manner that the Germans would be more receptive.
However, he can point out of the cultural diversity and point out that he is American, something that would enable the audience to be more accommodative of his unique way of communication. The awareness of cultural diversity would lead to more accommodation of other cultures. Mr. Smith ought to have considered intercultural communication competence when preparing for the speech.