Cross-Cultural Communication Case Study
Cross-Cultural communication refers to a process of recognizing both similarities and differences among the cultural groups for effectively engaging with a given context. However, in this context, different nation’s communication styles and approaches are to be explored during Covid19. Hence, this assignment aims at analyzing a given case discussing the cross-cultural engagement framework utilized by four different nations having a different style of dealing with conflict.
Discussion on each aspect of the case analysis
Overview of the case
This case study reveals that when a team consists of people belonging to different cultures working apart from different locations, and lacking an emotional connection may lead to distrust, miscommunication, and misunderstanding. Thus, working as a newly appointed manager of Amazon headquartered in Seattle handling a global team seeks to present an effective plan. This plan aims at communicating the potential pandemic with this company’s different branches across Italy, India, UAE, and Brazil. Being a manager of an MNC, Amazon the plan must be effective, which further needs to consider the cultural differences that each of the global teams belonging to each branch has, and respective implications of those differences into the communication plan.
Presenting a “Cross-Cultural Engagement Framework”
Six categories of different practices
Most of the professionals value the significance of cross-cultural (CC) training and education, however, many differ concerning both their firms’ and own perceived knowledge, and that aspect of CC education, they consider are relevant to their practice (1). Training based on language is another practice, where language along with the way it is utilized continues for receiving increasing attention in cross-cultural management or CCM (2).
The common six categories that MNCs utilize to manage cross-cultural communication or CCC are provided below:
Thus, from a managerial perspective, the above six categories of CCC practices enable them for understanding and communicating effectively with an individual belonging to a specific cultural group like African. Thus, the manager belonging to a Western Group needs to be open with the language that the African speaks and vice-versa.
Specific practices used by Brazil, India, Italy, and UAE in terms of dealing with a conflict_300
Cultural differences further continue to matter, however, the point reflects that the core issue seeking attention is globalization’s cultural consequences, not the effects of cultural differences (4). Thus, when a team consisting of different cultural members works on a single project, then cultural differences may lead to a conflicting situation, however, each of those cultures has different ways to handle that conflict. For instance, in the Brazilian workplace, differences based on age-based generations among the professionals, specifically in managing their careers in the organization seem to be huge. For instance, Generation X people of Brazilian workplaces are skeptical about and further disrespectful of firms, thus they do not share the same commitment of the baby boomers to the firm in which they also work (5). Hence, the conflict management of the Brazilian workplace seems to be the least effective as they have conflicts among their cultural groups. In the case of UAE, it is identified that the adeptness in managing conflicts of the expatriates getting deployed in the service operations of UAE business firms are high as they have a higher level of emotional maturity (6). Concerning India, it is found that Indians maintain interpersonal harmony and avoid conflict specifically with the superiors, as this nation has a high power distance culture (7). In Italy, work-family with work-life conflicts has been increased by the work-overload along with flexibility because of technological use (8).
Brazil utilizes the Brazilian model of conflict resolution to exert competitiveness, autonomy, and the need for controlling their conflict situations. Since Brazilian manager applies individualistic management style that reflects that this working culture assumes that the organizational interactions occur between conflict and individual seems to be a normal part of the respective interaction. Brazilian managers usually prefer not for seeing cross-cultural conflict as it does not form any natural part of their business practices.
In India, the HRM plays an important role in managing any conflicting situation, where Tone plays a critical role in a conflict. Fair Management Policy is applied by the Indian HR Manger, where the Management is bound for preventing the incidents from escalating, companies ensure redress the policy while the workers need to ensure that they do not need to always shut operations or resort to violence or hooliganism, as the employees do not result in any blot on their careers.
In Italy, a manager applies the practice of alternative labour resolution, which lies in the vast majority of the cases related to the non-conciliation type. Conciliation is not applied to all the practices of alternative resolution in Italy, it is due to that it gets accompanied by other actors such as private and trade-union, that are, although less frequent.
In UAE, it seems to be the duty of a senior manager and leader of organizations for understanding the challenges, which come with workplace diversity for avoiding conflicts. In addition, to resolve or even restrict conflicts, organizational policies and structure get adjusted by the senior manager for helping to avoid its negative effects. Most of the UAE firms manage conflict through formal procedures such as disciplinaries, employment tribunals, grievances, and major HR responsibilities (9).
The effective strategy aimed at achieving engagement
Specific practices for each population reveal that in UAE, managers apply paternalistic manner, cultural leadership methods, Islamic traditions, moral standards of behaviour, consultation, and, managing local staffs. However, practices applied by Italy cross-cultural skills, courtesy, own conduct by each employee, specific protocols and etiquettes, gift-giving, punctuality, business dress-code that is fashionable style, and somewhere bribery and corruption. In India, practices include introductions with greetings, communication in the English language, effective business relationship, the role of hierarchy, and generalization. In Brazil, practices include multiple regulations and rules, less individualistic, bureaucracy, intolerance of ambiguity and uncertainties, and high-context culture.
Now, the time comes when every branch of the respective company needs to be informed about the potential pandemic’s call that is overall communication planning of the respective company needs to be changed amid Covid19 and by considering the practices each country applies. Effective strategy and its implication direct the respective manager of the US firm to deliver the message in a smooth, transparent, and clear manner to every single recipient of the message. While delivering the message to the UAE, the effective strategy needs to indulge the respect and dignity to the Islamic traditions and moral standards of behaviour that need to be followed. Before that, the manager belonging to the US culture needs to have at least some knowledge about the UAE Cultural background.
However, when it comes to delivering the message about the pandemic to the Indian culture, the manager at first needs to greet the Indian workforce and follow generalization. Furthermore, since the Indian communication style tends to be indirect and polite, thus strategy needs to have a polite tone and delivers the message indirectly. The tone of communication matters where the target audience is the Indian workforce, thus the effective strategy to deliver the message to this workforce needs to involve an effective tone of communication.
Effective communication seems to be at the core of person-centred care (10). In order to deliver the same message to Italian workforce, the effective strategy reflects that the US manager needs to use the right gesture and right language as it seems to be the most important aspect for Italian people when it comes to business communication. This strategy further directs the manager not to show any sense of urgency as it could be weakness or rude to them, being trustworthy and sensible enough could be a key to an effective strategy.
The respective manager needs to have control over their own words when delivering the message to Brazilians, because, they avoid ambiguity or uncertainty, thus clearness, transparency, and honesty would be the key ingredients to develop an effective strategy. Furthermore, Brazilian work culture displays a higher level of contradiction, and their behaviour manifests a double facet, which could lead to misunderstanding or miscommunication. The effective strategy needs to have a thorough research/study about “the cultural context of Brazil, this is dynamic.
Customized message indulging a group of interest, medium, and technology
The customized message is “the most challenging situation has hit our company, which demands us to be ready for its every single, powerful, and sometimes unbearable kick in the form of effects”. The group of interest includes all the four branches with which this US Company deals such as Brazil, India, Italy, and the UAE, who has keen interests to not get affected by this challenging situation and to continue with the same phase of working with this US Company. The medium of delivering this message would be verbal and visual, where technology such as a live meeting on video conferencing through Zoom or Skype would be involved to deliver this message to each recipient. The frequency of communication needs to be every four days such as Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday would be utilized. The expected response time would be half an hour, furthermore, a two-way feedback approach would be followed. Expression of disagreement such as a facial expression or directly saying “No” would be considered. Diversity refers to the differences within any group, inclusion reflects that how those members are treated and how they are feeling. Hence, inclusion among the diverse members would be maintained throughout the meeting.
Potential communication barriers
Potential barriers include hierarchical barriers, for instance, members of this global team might hold different positions in their hierarchy, which could affect interaction with each other, problematic workplace layout, which could have either a destructive or wonderful effect on international communication. Organizational politics could also be a communication barrier to this meeting. Language can also be a barrier to this meeting, security issues could also be a communication barrier, and communication tone always sometimes gets observed as a barrier to any work. Language barriers usually go in hand with cultural differences, and messages can easily be misconstrued (12).
Associated mitigation strategies
The hierarchical barrier can be mitigated by encouraging feedback, for example, senior members need to regularly solicit feedback from their subordinates. Solution to workplace layout, a simple and traditional interactive workplace can play its role here, where clarity, honesty, and transparency are to be maintained. Promoting transparency helps the members trusting their partners in a virtual communication, which can only help to mitigate organizational politics. Documenting a communication policy only for the international meeting based on “English” a common language needs to be circulated through each branch, which could mitigate language barrier. In order to deal with security issue, effective technologies with regular update followed by strong anti-virus software need to be used. Tone of Communication could be improved if a continuous and fair practice is performed to follow a neutral and polite tone among each other, here mirror-test can also work.
Integration of the first two sections
Understanding and communicating with different cultural groups
Cross-Cultural communication aims at improving and facilitating the interaction between employees, partners, managers, and clients representing various cultures and nations (13). Thus, after integrating the first two sections, it has been identified that managing a cross-cultural communication seems to be one of the challenging tasks, specifically when a global team of different cultures or nations is to be handled. Therefore, it is important for every single manager to be competent enough and make the overall workforce competent in carrying out a CCC. For that, managers of a nation working with different nations need to have understanding and knowledge about every single culture with which their organization is working. In addition, Hofstede Cultural model based understanding can help a manager for interpreting the cultural context of every nation, as Brazil is found to have dynamic cultural context.
After analysing the overall scenario, it can be concluded that every country has a different concept in managing and dealing with cross-cultural communication. The four nations mentioned above have somewhere differences when it comes to communicate internationally, India seeks a polite tone, Italy seeks an effective gesture, Brazil do not like uncertainties, and UAE’s traditions are different from other three nations.
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