Communication between people of different cultures is known as cross-cultural communication. It is also termed as intercultural communication. In order to understand the meaning of cross-cultural communication, one must understand the meaning of culture. In a simple way, culture is the way of life of a group of people.
In a broader sense, culture is the set of beliefs, values, norms, customs, traditions, habits, morals, laws, and practices commonly shared by individuals who interact in a specific area of society. Every person is the product of his or her cultural environment. Therefore, culture influences the behavior, actions, reactions, thinking etc. of its members. So, cross-cultural communication occurs when people from different cultural backgrounds communicate with each other.
The necessity of Successful Cross-Cultural Communication
Communication is the lifeblood of an organization. The success of an organization depends on its successful internal and external communication. As an organization becomes larger and geographically dispersed, it increasingly faces the problem of cross-cultural communication. Such organizations require effective cross-cultural communication for the followings reasons.
Understanding the needs of global customers
This is the age of globalization. In the present context, the success of a business largely depends on serving the global customers. In order to serve the global customers, a business must understand customers’ needs. For this purpose, managers must have knowledge of cultural differences in terms of national heredity, buying habit, religious beliefs, values etc. Understanding these aspects of cultures will help a business to better serve its global customers.
Wrong interpretation of verbal words and nonverbal cues is very common when people from different cultural backgrounds communicate. Such a wrong interpretation creates misunderstanding within and outside the organization. Therefore, people need to be familiar with the cultures of the people with whom they communicate.
Creating a harmonious environment
Harmonious working environment is a prerequisite for organizational success. When a business hires multicultural people, harmony in the workplace depends on understanding the cultural differences of the employees. If the employees and management can harmoniously communicate with each other, a comfortable and productive work can be created.
Enriching the business
A business must enrich itself to face global competition. Enriching the business requires successful cross-cultural communication. Successful communication with cross-cultural people enrich a business in a variety of ways such as the business can hire people from different cultures, can maintain harmony in the workplace, can identify customer needs and can enter into new markets.