Borderless Communications and Management
Select two of the strategies that align with your professional experiences and answer the following questions about each:
1. What would be the advantages and disadvantages of such a strategy? How realistic would it be to implement?
2. Would such a strategy be sustainable in the long-term?
The basic communication practices are now evolving due to the globalization that brings different business cultures together, especially in the airline and hospitality industry (Samovar, Porter & McDaniel, 2010). Having such diversity in culture, the communication process is a challenging practice, particularly in the workplace. According to Norris & Inglehart (2009), basically, the problems that arise in a workplace originated from the communication process. The relationship between employees and employers or among co-workers will be impacted if there are any miscommunications. Therefore to prevent such incidents from happening, several strategies can be develop.
First of all, is to take the communication process slow. Different personnel from different culture tend to speak in a different rate. Usually, employees from another country need more time to digest a spoken message, therefore to prevent miscommunication, try speaking to them in a slower pace (Castells, 2013). Such approach can also be used while serving customers in both airline and hotel industry. Generally, some of the customers do not have a diverse knowledge on English language; therefore to ensure the customer service staff is able to convey the exact information across, a slower pace in speaking is essential.
However, by taking the communication process slow also suggest that time are being wasted, which leads to the decrease in working efficiency. Reason is because, the time used to serve a particular customers through slow communication can prolong the whole ‘checking-in’ or ‘checking-out’ process, which means other hotel guests will have to wait longer in line, hence leading to the decrease in working efficiency (Barker & Gower, 2012).
Besides, an effectual strategy in promoting cross-cultural communication is via ‘active listening’. This is a method to restate the message again to the speaker as to verify that the recipient had the correct information. What’s more, by asking more questions to verify the ‘received message’ can also minimized miscommunication (Carey, 2009). However, despite being an effective strategy, the customers might feel irritated if the recipient of message constantly repeat what he or she says, which then minimizes the tendency of customer satisfactions, as a result preventing the customer from re-visiting the hotel or airline company (Seymen, 2006).
Furthermore, education on cross-cultural verbal and non-verbal communication should be taught. Generally, in different countries, the verbal and non-verbal communication differs; therefore proper education in determining the appropriate way of communicating is essential in both airlines and hospitality industry. Jokes, usage of slang should be minimized as to eliminate confusion and miscommunication, especially if the guest is not fluent in English language (Samovar, Porter, & McDaniel, 2010). By doing so, it also shows that the company’s staff is showing respect to the customer’s culture, hence boosting customer satisfaction. However, such education on cultural behavior might incur some cost which will push the cost of operation upward (Castells, 2013).
What’s more, by keeping the communication simple and direct can minimize miscommunication among different cultures. At times, even personnel that is fluent in their language and understands each other’s culture might interpret a message differently due to the jargon wording or tone of the voice. Therefore to minimize such incidents from happening, usage of simple English that is straight to the point is essential (Norris & Inglehart, 2009). However, in the service line, some customers might view such practices as blunt and rude, which might minimize customer satisfaction (Castells, 2013).
Having implemented strategies of cross-cultural communication such as taking the communication process slow, practicing active listening, educating employees on cross cultural differences as well as keeping the communication simple and straight to the point can be use as long-term strategies in sustaining effective communication between two cultures.
Reason is because firstly, the communications were made based on a culturally applicable manner. If the speaker is presume to have a dominant position while communicating, the respondent might feel offended and withhold all necessary information, and communication of this kind will be particularly sensitive among culture that were being discriminate since yesteryears such as Hispanic, Native Americans or Asians (Carey, 2009). Therefore, to ‘break’ the defensive wall of such culture, a more down to earth communication method should be adopted. In order to do so, companies that are selling services are offering training classes and programs to educate their employees in the knowledge of local primary language so that a closer connection with the customers can be felt. For instance, the employees that are working in Hilton hotel chain of China were all sent to Chinese classes so that they will be able to converse in mandarin with the locals, and in English with the foreigners, hence allowing the cross cultural communication to take place effectively (Barker & Gower, 2012).
Besides, according to Geert Hofstede, the analysis on different culture reflects different personality and behavior, such action also contributes to the practice of communication. For instance, American tends to communicate in a direct formation as compared to Asian culture that are more reserve in communication (Samovar, Porter & McDaniel, 2010). Asians were taught not to ‘offend’ anyone hence; a softer communication mode will be used whereas American was taught to deliver the message across clearly and precisely, hence are more direct and aggressive (Norris & Inglehart, 2009). Therefore having to put two different cultures under one roof, the company leader will have to provide information and guidance on the variation of beliefs, values and communication style between Americans and Asians. In the case of Hilton group, the American employees were taught on how to communicate in mandarin, while the local Asian employees were taught on English language. This way, both culture share each other’s primary language, hence promoting more communication and interaction as to minimize any misconceptions between both cultures (Barker & Gower, 2012).
Also, with constant evaluation on the adopted strategies such as practicing communication in a slower rate, promoting active listening, educating employees on the variation of cultural values, beliefs and communication styles as well as to keep communicate in a simple form can sustain the cross-communication between different cultures within a company, while minimizing miscommunication. Evaluation such as employee’s evaluation form or interview can be conducted to draw the possible problems that might result in miscommunication. By determining the possible factors; solutions can be fabricated and implemented in a more effective manner (Carey, 2009). Hence promoting sustainability in cross-cultural communication.
Barker, R. T. & Gower, K. (2012). Strategic Application of Storytelling in Organizations: Toward Effective Communication in a Diverse World. International Journal of Business Communication, Vol. 47 (3), pp. 295-312
Carey, J. W. (2009). Communication as Culture: Revised Edition. Routledge Taylor & Francis
Castells, M. (2013). Communication Power. Oxford University Press.
Norris, P. & Inglehart, R. (2009). Cosmopolitan Communications: Cultural Diversity in a Globalized World. Cambridge University Press.
Samovar, L., Porter, R. & McDaniel, E. (2010). Communication Between Cultures. Cengage Learning.
Seymen, O. A. (2006). The cultural diversity phenomenon in organisations and different approaches for effective cultural diversity management: a literary review. Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, Vol. 13 (4), pp. 296- 315