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This concise, practical book will help you communicate successfully in culturally-diverse workplaces at home and abroad. The Second Edition of the Guide to Cross-Cultural Communication:
Explores ways that new technology impacts cross-cultural communication
Presents data on the global impact of the Millennial Generation
Includes updated intercultural examples, suggested readings, and films
Targets a world-wide audience
Like all the books in the Prentice Hall "Guide To" Series in Business Communication, this book is . . .
Brief: summarizes key ideas only
Practical: offers clear, straightforward, useful tools
Reader-friendly: provides an easy-to-skim format
As U.S. companies become global entities and as the American workplace and American workers become increasingly multicultural, we face complex challenges in cross-cultural communication. For example, foreign direct investments in the United States are approaching $273 billion; because of these investments, millions of Americans now work for foreign employers. In addition, the United States has invested almost $125 billion abroad, which means that many Americans now work with foreign clients. Our workplaces also are becoming more and more diverse: The most recent Census Bureau statistics show that the total U.S. population of almost 300 million people includes over 35 million Latinos, over 34 million African-Americans, more than 12 million Asian and Pacific Islanders, and over 18 million people from a variety of races and ethnic groups. These groups represent many cultures, each with distinct preferences in communication styles.
Unfortunately, our success rate working in this rich and demanding environment is not as high as it might be. Many instances of failure are caused not by inadequate management competencies or technical skills, but by lack of cultural sensitivity. Because the United States is geographically separate, Americans historically have been poor internationalists. We generally do not speak other languages (an indication that we don't take the international world seriously), and we often fail to recognize that people of other cultural backgrounds may have different goals, customs, thought patterns, management styles, and values. When we understand differences at all, we tend to be judgmental. Our attitude often is "If they knewbetter, they would do it our way." Even if we understand and attempt to work well with others in a multicultural context, we may suffer from tunnel vision based on experience acquired in purely American organizations.
It's easy to find examples of this lack of ability to communicate cross culturally; miscommunication occurs every day in the American workplace:
If you have been puzzled by the beliefs, behaviors, and work ethic of others; if you plan to work abroad in the future; or if you wish to become a more successful communicator in culturally diverse workplaces both at home and abroad—this book will help by providing essential information and practical examples for these important aspects of intercultural communication. WHO CAN USE THIS BOOK
If you are interested in understanding and improving cross-cultural communication both inside and outside your organization, you will benefit from the information presented here. Many readers will find this book useful:
We have taught thousands of business professionals and MBA students at corporations and universities in the United States and abroad, and have been both surprised and dismayed at the lack of awareness of effective cross-cultural communication. Even among people who have worked abroad, there is ignorance and misunderstanding.
For example, we have worked with managers who considered Chinese staff as uncommitted, disinterested, and unmotivated because they failed to make eye contact during performance evaluations. We have trained pharmaceutical representatives who misunderstood the unwillingness of Indian, Malaysian, and Hasidic doctors to shake hands. We have taught MBA students who were completely unaware of cultural issues, even after having worked overseas.
Other books on this subject, however, are too long or academic for the needs of busy professionals. That's why Prentice Hall is publishing the Prentice Hall Series in Advanced Business Communication—brief, practical, reader-friendly guides for people who communicate in professional contexts. (See the inside front cover for more information on the series.)
We begin with an introduction which defines culture, discusses the relationship between culture and communication, and explores the various ways culture affects values, attitudes, and behavior. Part I: Understanding Cultures (Chapters I-IV)
The four chapters in Part I summarize the research on what differentiates cultures.
Part II will help you apply what you've learned about cross-cultural differences by discussing how to write, speak, and negotiate in different cultures.
The book ends with a conclusion, a cultural questionnaire to develop personal awareness, a bibliography listing the sources that shaped the academic and research backdrop for our discussions, and suggested readings and films for your continuing growth in effective cross-cultural communication.
Throughout the book, we use proverbs to illustrate major points. Proverbs reveal the wisdom and character of a people, or, as they say in Sweden, "A proverb says what a culture thinks." We also introduce each chapter with a set of proverbs that crystalizes the different cultural characteristics covered in that chapter.
Part I Understanding Cultures
Chapter I Relationships: Individual or Collective? 3
Characteristics of individualist cultures 5
Characteristics of collective cultures 7
Guidelines: Individualist or collective? 11
Chapter II Social Framework: High Context or Low Context? 13
High-context cultures 15
Low-context cultures 19
Guidelines: High or low context 24
Chapter III Time: Linear, Flexible, or Cyclical? 27
Linear time 28
Flexible time 30
Cyclical time 32
Guidelines: Attitudes toward time 36
Chapter IV Power: Hierarchical or Democratic? 39
Hierarchical cultures 41
Democratic cultures 44
Signs and symbols of power 46
Guidelines: Attitudes toward power 50
Part II Communicating Across Cultures
Chapter V Using Language 53
English: a language of action 55
Sino-tibetan languages: A rich contrast 56
Guidelines for using language 58
Chapter VI Writing 63
Preferred channel 65
Clarity and conciseness 69
Guidelines for writing across cultures 71
Chapter VII Communicating Nonverbally 75
Eye contact 77
Facial expression 81
Hand gestures 83
Silence and the rhythm of language 89
Chapter VIII Negotiating: Process, Persuasion, and Law 93
Analyzing the negotiation process 95
Enhancing your persuasiveness 101
Understanding international law 105
Guidelines for negotiation 109
Cultural Questionnaire 113
Suggested Readings 120
Suggested Films 123