In business the most valuable thing would be information and for it to be transferred from one body to the other, communication is the vital element that drives such process. But when the communication comes to certain influenced by culture, it is a whole new chapter to be understood.
International businesses are facing a new dilemma whereby cross-cultural communication is introduced due to the major reforms brought about through internationalization, merging and joint ventures. This would make culture an important aspect when it comes to business communication.
Lack of understanding or investment in cross-cultural training would lead to major business problems. Such as loss of clients, poor staff motivation, lack of team building, internal conflicts, and poor productivity. These are all only the icing of the by-products of poor cross-cultural communication.
International companies with highly diverse workforce in terms of nationality and cultural background all face the same problem when conflict arises from the difference of culture, language, value, belief, business ethic, behavior, and cultural etiquettes.
Such conflict could prove to be a negative impact on the business mainly in team cohesion and staff productivity. Cross-cultural communication problems can manifest into the downfalls of big international companies when taken lightly. That is why more and more companies have realized such dilemma and are upgrading intercultural communication skills within its organization.
Cross-cultural consultants and intercultural team builders are summoned to deal with such dilemma as technology and science is improving by the second. Communication within companies is now more efficient and fast phones, fax and various other means of communication tools are invented closing in on the barriers of distance but introduces cross-cultural communication awareness.
Other than the differences of culture in the company, the company’s working culture is also important as the company’s culture projects the company’s managerial abilities. Company’s culture depends on how it views its staff and departments; does it see it as a close or open system? For example when one works in the engineering department and one works in the HR department, is there cross communications of synergy between the two departments?? If there isn’t this means lack of communication is at present and team building is vital in improving such situations.
Such situations are usually endorsed by joint ventures and mergers of two separate cross-cultural companies whereby co-operation is required for their commitment to an open system. Without a doubt, most companies are form or merged in the expectations of better financial and strategic managements without realizing the consequences of intercultural communication mishaps.
As more and more companies realize that their business problems are not just mere financial flaws made by lack of education in their staff’s but to the cross-cultural environment in which their staff’s work in. The need for understanding communication between cultures and managing intercultural business management has rocketed ever since the discovery of such events during the globalization era.
The main reason for most failed ventures or cross-cultural business is mostly due to the underestimation of the effects of culture in a working environment especially in communication. Seeking expertise help on such situation would prove to be better investments once the differentiation is been straighten out.
Neil Payne is Managing Director at the London based consultancy Kwintessential. For more information on their services please visit Translation Services