Cultural differences have a great bearing on the way managers perform their work. This paper outlines the need for managers to acquire intercultural training because how they behave in their roles has great implications on the organization as a whole. Electronic technology has changed the way people communicate and work. This introduces cultural dynamics that have to be incorporated into intercultural training. The paper also discusses culture and identity as factors which influence each other. Personal identity and organizational identity are discussed as two interrelated factors which depend on each other. overall, the paper underlines the importance of proper intercultural training.
/> Managers today have to deal with cultural differences. However, some cultural differences are more important than others. These include time perception and value; high-Low context languages. First, cultures differ in terms of time perception and value. This cultural difference affects the way people organize, schedule and plan. There are two different components to this cultural difference: time orientation and cultural types (Laroche, 2003). Time orientation is the belief either in the past, present or future in terms of decision-making and planning. Cultural types comprises of determining how important promptness to a schedule is. For example, in some cultures, getting late to a meeting is a big offence while in others it is acceptable. Secondly, high-low context languages is the quantity and specificity of information provided in a given situation (Hofstede Centre., 2013). This is related to words and their definitions or voice (pitch, pace, inflection), facial expression and gestures. Low context cultures send information in an explicit manner. Meanings are assigned to what is said and not how it is said (Savolainen 5). High context communication relies on non-verbal, contextual and shared meaning communication. Meanings are derived from how information is passed rather than what information is passed.
Technology has largely changed the way people communicate and do business. This has had a tremendous impact on the global economy. This is because technology has enables information to be transmitted fast, effectively and over a wider scope. Electronic technology has changed the way people buy and sell goods and services. For example, online payment systems are changing the way people think about money. Global banking and foreign exchange systems are based on online links which enable more effective transactions. Social media has also impacted marketing and made business more customer-centric. Technology has also influenced training in intercultural communication (Miladinovic, 2012). This is because managers need to learn how to use technology tools such as social media, and how different cultures respond to different forms of communication. They also need to be trained on the payment methods and the sending of information through emails, websites etc. This is because different cultures prefer different form of communication.
Cultural identity is the identity of as a group, culture or individual, which is influenced by one’s membership in a culture or group. There is a 3 stage model that describes how identity is obtained. The first stage is known as unexamined cultural identity, which is characterized by lack of examination of culture or cultural differences. This stage occurs in childhood, after cultural ideas imparted by parents, media or the community and accepted easily. Ethnicity is not a major issue in this stage. The second stage is known as the cultural-identity search. It is distinguished by examination and questioning of culture to get more information about it and understand the impact of being part of it (Pate, 2012). People in this stage question the origin of their beliefs. To some people, this stage arises from an event in their lives or from an increasing awareness of other cultures. The third stage is known as cultural identity achievement. People at the cultural achievement stage are aware of their cultural identity and can effectively navigate it in the current world which is very personal intercultural and interconnected. Personal identity is the persisting personality of an individual (Crouch, 2004). Organizational identity comes about when an individual includes their view of the values of their employer into their personal belief system, making their ideals and those of the organization compatible.
Culture and identity are two related concepts because identity is a component of culture. Social identity is the self understanding of an individual as result of their membership in a group bigger than a family. Culture is the set of beliefs, practices, language etc for a given group or community of people. Culture greatly influences a person’s individuality as well as their character. Different cultures label personal characteristics in different ways. This means that to a certain extent, one’s identity is determined by how they are perceived in a particular culture. This is because identities are cultural constructs.
Identity serves as an intermediary between communication and culture. This is particularly so because people communicate their identity to others and understand themselves and develop their identity. This implies that identity may be formed through communication with others. This is because if one communicates with other people who already have perceptions regarding them, these perceptions are likely to affect their identity (Wallin, 2005). Sometimes individuals may have conflicted thoughts if who they think they are is not what others perceive them to be. By relating to interactive groups from different cultures, individuals broaden their perspective and this affects the way they think about different issues. This has a bearing on their character. For example, if one interacts with people from a culture where punctuality is highly regarded and if they are always late, people from that culture may label them as being a sluggish person. This may greatly influence the way that individual regards themselves, altering their personal identity.
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