How to Master Intercultural Communication

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Interacting with people from other cultures can be fascinating.  Whether you are abroad or on home turf, you are often exposed to new and fascinating ways of doing things.  If you are about to take a trip to another country, it is a good idea to brush up on the culture and traditions in advance of your departure.  This can be instrumental in avoiding potential miscommunication.  If you are dealing with people from many cultures on a routine basis, some fundamental  information about value systems and how people relate in certain parts of the world can be invaluable. It will help you know how to interact in an appropriate way. Concentrating on five basic categories will give you a running start when interacting with individuals from other cultures.

INDIVIDUALISTIC and COLLECTIVISTIC CULTURES

Individualistic Cultures foster individualism and focus on individual goals.
There is a preference for ‘equal’ relationships, and behavior cannot be predicted from group memberships.  Representative Cultures: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Sweden and the United States.

Collectivistic Cultures focus on group goals. There is strong emphasis on traditions and conformity. Representative Cultures:  Argentina, Brazil, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, Greece, Guatemala, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico and Saudi Arabia.

MASCULINE and FEMININE CULTURES

Masculine Cultures have differentiated gender roles and are characterized by power, assertiveness and performance. Representative Cultures: Arab cultures, Austria, Germany, Italy,Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Switzerland and Venezuela.

Feminine Cultures value quality of life and service. Sex roles are androgynous. Feminine cultures have overlapping gender roles. Representative Cultures: Chile, Costa Rica, Denmark, East African cultures, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and Thailand.

LOW and HIGH POWER DISTANCE CULTURES

With Low Power Distance Cultures, individuals are viewed as equals. Emphasis is placed on legitimate power. Superiors and subordinates are interdependent. Representative Cultures: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand, Sweden and the United States.

With High Power Distance Cultures, individuals are seen as unequal. Subordinates are dependent on those above them. Representative Cultures: Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Malaysia, Nigeria, Panama, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

LOW and HIGH UNCERTAINTY AVOIDANCE CULTURES

Low Uncertainty Avoidance Cultures are characterized by low stress and anxiety. Dissent is acceptable. There is a high level of risk taking. Uncertainty is OK. Representative Cultures: Canada, Denmark, England, Hong Kong, India, Jamaica, Sweden and the United States.

High Uncertainty Avoidance Cultures are characterized by high stress and anxiety. There is a strong desire for agreement. People do not like to take risks. Representative Cultures: Egypt, Argentina, Belgium, Chile, France, Greece, Japan and Mexico.

LOW CONTEXT and HIGH CONTEXT COMMUNICATION

High Content/Low Context Messages are direct and clear with most of the message explicit in the code. This form predominates in individualistic cultures.

High Context/Low Content Messages are indirect and ambiguous. Most of the information is internalized in the person or his surroundings. This form is found more typically in collectivistic cultures.

Be  aware of cultural differences and how they should impact your communication.  When you’re not sure how to proceed, be respectful.  That goes a long way in successfully establishing relationships.
~~~

Article Author: Carol Dunitz, Ph.D.

Carol Dunitz, Ph.D. is president of The Last Word LLC, a communication and creative services company.  She is a professional speaker and author of ‘Louder Than Thunder,’ a parable about listening and interpersonal communication.  Dunitz is the playwright, lyricist and composer of ‘Bernhardt on Broadway,’ a musical about Sarah Bernhardt.  She can be reached at 312.523.4774, cdunitz@lastword.com or www.DrCarolDunitz.com.

Article Source: http://www.articlealley.com/article_1175282_15.html

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Tips on Business Culture in Dubai

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Doing Business in DubaiBusiness is booming in Dubai and many Britons are heading out there to work. But, anyone thinking of working there must familiarise themselves with the cultural etiquette before starting work there, if they are to avoid insulting Dubai nationals, or even break the country’s laws.

The first thing to consider is respect. Never criticise or correct a client or colleague in front of others. Causing such a public loss of face will ensure that the individual concerned with be filled with resentment and make any future co-operation extremely difficult.  Sensitive discussions with a colleague or client should be done in private.

Western businesses may choose their own working hours, but bear in mind that Arab companies schedule their working week from Saturday to Wednesday; working hours start at 8 a.m. and stop at 1 p.m. In the scorching heat of summer a siesta is a common practice taken until 4 p.m. with work resuming immediately afterwards until 7 p.m. During the Muslin festival of Ramadan the working day becomes two hours shorter.

Arab cultures dress much more conservatively than western cultures as a rule, and although it may be more relaxed in Dubai there is still an unspoken dress code that must be closely followed. Ensure clothes are worn that cover both the body and limbs – however hot and oppressive the heat may be – and they must be smart.

The Muslim day of prayer and rest is Friday, so avoid making phone calls or scheduling meetings with any Muslim clients or colleagues on that day. During Ramadan Muslims are not permitted to eat, drink or smoke during daylight hours but non-believers can, although they must be sensitive to the occasion and do so away from public gaze.

Business meetings with Arab clients or colleagues may begin with a very informal preamble. They often take place in restaurants or cafes at a Dubai business hotel rather than an office, beginning with polite conversation, usually about each other’s families. However, whenever the conversation turns to business it is usually resolved much quicker than in formal western business meetings. When meeting a handshake is followed by a touch of the heart with the right hand to show sincerity, and a woman’s hand is shaken only if it is offered.

Although business meetings are less formal than western standards, by contrast business lunches tend to be more formal. As a strict rule alcohol is never involved, and it is essential that when sitting opposite an Arab colleague or client that the soles of shoes are not directed towards them as that is considered extremely offensive in Arabic culture.

There are many other less obvious do’s and don’ts involved with ensuring that business is conducted efficiently, properly and without offence in Dubai, and as with any business deal anyone travelling there should ensure that they are thoroughly briefed before they leave.

Author: Andrew Regan

Article Source: http://www.articlealley.com/article_479875_15.html

About the Author:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/andrew_regan/

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How to Master Intercultural Communication

0

Interacting with people from other cultures can be fascinating.  Whether you are abroad or on home turf, you are often exposed to new and fascinating ways of doing things.  If you are about to take a trip to another country, it is a good idea to brush up on the culture and traditions in advance of your departure.  This can be instrumental in avoiding potential miscommunication.  If you are dealing with people from many cultures on a routine basis, some fundamental  information about value systems and how people relate in certain parts of the world can be invaluable. It will help you know how to interact in an appropriate way. Concentrating on five basic categories will give you a running start when interacting with individuals from other cultures.

INDIVIDUALISTIC and COLLECTIVISTIC CULTURES

Individualistic Cultures foster individualism and focus on individual goals.
There is a preference for ‘equal’ relationships, and behavior cannot be predicted from group memberships.  Representative Cultures: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Sweden and the United States.

Collectivistic Cultures focus on group goals. There is strong emphasis on traditions and conformity. Representative Cultures:  Argentina, Brazil, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, Greece, Guatemala, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico and Saudi Arabia.

MASCULINE and FEMININE CULTURES

Masculine Cultures have differentiated gender roles and are characterized by power, assertiveness and performance. Representative Cultures: Arab cultures, Austria, Germany, Italy,Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Switzerland and Venezuela.

Feminine Cultures value quality of life and service. Sex roles are androgynous. Feminine cultures have overlapping gender roles. Representative Cultures: Chile, Costa Rica, Denmark, East African cultures, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and Thailand.

LOW and HIGH POWER DISTANCE CULTURES

With Low Power Distance Cultures, individuals are viewed as equals. Emphasis is placed on legitimate power. Superiors and subordinates are interdependent. Representative Cultures: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand, Sweden and the United States.

With High Power Distance Cultures, individuals are seen as unequal. Subordinates
are dependent on those above them. Representative Cultures: Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Malaysia, Nigeria, Panama, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

LOW and HIGH UNCERTAINTY AVOIDANCE CULTURES

Low Uncertainty Avoidance Cultures are characterized by low stress and anxiety. Dissent is acceptable. There is a high level of risk taking. Uncertainty is OK. Representative Cultures: Canada, Denmark, England, Hong Kong, India, Jamaica, Sweden and the United States.

High Uncertainty Avoidance Cultures are characterized by high stress and anxiety. There is a strong desire for agreement. People do not like to take risks. Representative Cultures: Egypt, Argentina, Belgium, Chile, France, Greece, Japan and Mexico.

LOW CONTEXT and HIGH CONTEXT COMMUNICATION

High Content/Low Context Messages are direct and clear with most of the message explicit in the code. This form predominates in individualistic cultures.

High Context/Low Content Messages are indirect and ambiguous. Most of the information is internalized in the person or his surroundings. This form is found more typically in collectivistic cultures.

Be  aware of cultural differences and how they should impact your communication.  When you’re not sure how to proceed, be respectful.  That goes a long way in successfully establishing relationships.

Carol Dunitz, Ph.D. is president of The Last Word LLC, a communication and creative services company.  She is a professional speaker and author of ‘Louder Than Thunder,’ a parable about listening and interpersonal communication.  Dunitz is the playwright, lyricist and composer of ‘Bernhardt on Broadway,’ a musical about Sarah Bernhardt.  She can be reached at 312.523.4774, cdunitz@lastword.com or www.DrCarolDunitz.com.

Article Author: Carol Dunitz, Ph.D.

Article Source: http://www.articlealley.com/article_1175282_15.html

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