Communication is a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs or behaviors. Since the world has changed, the advancements of economy relationships, political system and technological options began to break down old cultural barriers between each country in this world. Businesses began in each country, and they have been expanded globally. They became more and more international. Every country around the world has to communicate to each other so that they can achieve their business goal. The problem is the differences of languages and cultures. The effective communication with people who are from the different cultures is very challenging because cultures provide the way of people thinking, seeing, hearing and interpreting of the world.
Cross–cultural communication has been an interesting and important issue that many experts and researchers need to study how to transmit and generate cross culture knowledge and information to people who have different backgrounds. Nowadays we have tons of research and theory about cross-cultural communication from many educational institutes. And also a lot of companies have prepared their employees to work in cross-cultural environments, for instance, training courses, workshops and activities.
In the business world, there's no secret that today's workplace is rapidly becoming vast. The business environment expands to include various geographic locations and span numerous cultures. The thing that can be difficult is understand how to communicate effectively with individuals who speak another language, or who rely on different means to reach a common goal, just like the quote "We didn't all come over on the same ship, but we're all in the same boat.” by Bernard Baruch, American financier and statesman. However, businesses have to deal with the barriers that affect to the effective of cross-cultural communication.
Knowing the common barriers to effective communication makes it easier to either avoid them, or even find a better solution to these barriers. A lot of barriers may exist in the cross-cultural communication leading to failure in cross cultural management. There are three main barriers that block the communication of people who belong to different cultures. People who are exposed to situation of confronting others from different background include those who deal with international business, people who are not living in their home country, people who communicate globally through the internet, among others. Those major barriers are;
The most significant barrier to effective cross-cultural communication is the tendency of human beings to stereotype, or more specifically, to categorize and make assumptions about others based on identified characteristics such as gender, race, ethnicity, age, religion, nationality, or socioeconomic status. Stereotypes are essentially assumptions that are made about a person or group’s character or attributes, based on a general image of what a particular group of people is like. Stereotypes are generalizations that are often oversimplified and wrong. Stereotypes are especially likely to be wrong in conflict situations. When people are engaged in a conflict, their image of their opponent tends to become more and more hostile. Negative stereotypes make any sort of conflict resolution or conflict management process more difficult.
2. Lack of understanding
One of the major barriers to effective cross-cultural communication is the lack of understanding that is frequently present between people from diverse backgrounds. As they may have different values, beliefs, methods of reasoning, communication styles, work styles, and personality types, communication difficulties will often occur. This is compounded by the fact that many of us are not very effective at getting to understand the ways in which others may differ.