Skip to main content

Obstacles in achieving efficient cross cultural communication


Effective cross cultural communication is increasingly becoming more important in a business. Employees usually consist of diverse cultures with different backgrounds.  Although all employees need to adhere to the corporate culture in a business (the way things are usually done), a manager needs to have good cross cultural communication skills when it comes to dealing with employees with different cultural backgrounds.  Many managers want to achieve better cultural communication, but still face many barriers.  The following are the most common cross cultural communication barriers many managers still have to overcome in their attempt to communicate better with diverse employees:

Values and attitudes: The manager may have different values than his or her employees or the employees may even have different values and attitudes. At the end of the day it is the task that has to be completed and having different values and attitudes can be overcome if all employees all share a common vision and goals. Employees need to know their own roles in the success of the business and also why the mission and vision of the business are important.

Apprehension: The manager may not have enough knowledge about how to deal with diverse employees in a specific situation.  This may result in misunderstandings and even conflict in the business.  The manager needs to acquire “cultural skills”.

Ignorance:  Managers should never assume that all employees are similar.  Communication should never be offensive to employees of a different cultures because of ignorance.  That is why it is so important that managers should know how employees differ in terms of their own cultures.

Ethnocentrism: This is one of the most important obstacles that hinders effective cultural communication which refers to not appreciating another culture for what it is.  The manager needs to appreciate the different cultures of his or her employees and never judge other cultures because of differences to his or her own culture.  One culture is not superior to another culture and all cultures should be treated equally important.

Stereotyping: Stereotyping can harm cultural communication immensely because of  negative or positive judgments made about employees based on any visible different cultural characteristics.  Even the most harmless events could become a negative experience to employees because of widely held beliefs.

Racism:  The danger of racism or prejudice towards employees because of their race is that it can be conscious or unconscious, intentional or even unintentional.  It is important that a manager who fulfills a leadership position in a business, should never show any intolerance against employees with different cultural backgrounds.

The most important is that a manager should manage cultural diversity in  a business. Also read my post on managing cultural diversity in a business.

Related Post:

How cultural intelligence could benefit diversity

Popular posts from this blog

The role of the manager in effective business communication

Business communication is no longer about how to write a letter, email or use effective writing skills.  It has also extended to other areas in the business, for example, excellent relationships within the business. A manager should not only concentrate on successful communication with its external clients, customers and stakeholders.  The employees of the business actually areinternal clientsand should also be treated with care.  Many scholars refer to this asinternal marketing, a very important feature of good business communication.  Employees’ well-being and work satisfaction play a large role in their productivity and how loyal they will be towards the business.  The role of the manager is to ensure good relationships with and among employees.   A healthy working environment is equally important.  Previous research has indicated that employees also have other career aspirations than only a salary.
Unhappy employees as a result of poor communication processes in the business can ne…

What is your managerial communication style?

As a manager you communicate in a specific manner to your employees.  Your communication style can fall within different managerial approaches but in this article I will focus on the two most common styles, namely the classical and humanistic managerial communication styles.  I will first explain the more formal classical style.
A manager who has a classical managerial (authoritarian) communication style:
communicates through formal communication media such as oral and/or written and visual communication and very little face to face discussions.creates but also uses opportunities to make the long and short term goals of the business clear using these formal communication media.changes 'unacceptable’ attitudes and opinions by shaping new ones through manipulation.diminishes fear and suspicion because of misinformation or misinterpretation of the right but unclear information.communicates numerous rules to employees.prevents or corrects misunderstanding from lack of information and pr…