By: Jonathon Hardcastle
According to Peter Drucker in his article “The Transnational Economy” written back in 1987, “To maintain a leadership position in any one developed country, a business-whether large or small-increasingly has to attain and hold leadership positions in all developed markets worldwide. It has to be able to do research, to design, to develop, to engineer and to manufacture in any part of the developed world, and to export from any developed country to any other. It has to go transnational.” But is going international as simple as it sounds in this passage, or business leaders and executives need to consider another usually unforeseen barrier commonly referred to as “the effective communication principle?”
Companies in developed countries such as the United States must engage in international business transactions or lose an important competitive advantage. Such firms have not only found tremendous commercial opportunities a thousand or ten thousand miles from their plants, but they have also found cooperative partnerships because of a community of interest. Community of interest is in fact the common ground upon which a business relationship can be based and later flourish. If a firm in Japan, for example, finds an American company with expertise in marketing and handling its products in foreign markets, then a community of interest has been found and remains to be exploited to the advantage of both. But how is that possible and on which factors does it depend upon?
Although the answer is rather complex, undoubtedly one factor is that the worldwide level of technology has greatly advanced easing the process of communicating among people located in different countries. Their ability to share information almost instantly has turned the globe to resemble a village, and as a village its citizens can communicate with one another quickly and easily with the use of various technology-based methods. But then again how come and the message is not received in the manner intended when sent by the messenger? The answer is simple: worldwide we share the much of the same information and technology, but no the same culture. Our family, recreational, financial and other values are different, as these values spring from diverse experiences, expectations and habits. Even if the language used to communicate is the same, the cultural differences between states are evident and a message can be distorted or at least not understood as one intended.
Technological advances in the last 100 to 200 years have spread and been adopted and refined worldwide. But cultures based on thousands of years of development are slow to change. For many, they should not change, as these cultural differences among societies and nations give individual identity to each group. In fact, this persistence diversity in the thinking of human beings has made this world an exciting place to be in. But at the same time it has also created barriers that constitute a major challenge for communicators. Even with the advancement in the transition of information, when words and actions are not understood in the same way because of differences, communication can suffer. This is a key factor for people to remember when dealing with different cultures or employed in different countries from that of their origin. Verbal or nonverbal communication can have different meanings to different people and thus careful consideration and examination of the others’ environment can ensure a better delivery of a message and overall a much more successful communication process.
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