How to deal with cultural differences

How to deal with cultural differences
  1. Communicate in an intercultural environment
  2. Shaping intercultural communication
  3. Intercultural communication - more than just language

Migration of employees and globalization of companies means that more and more people work in culturally diverse teams. Also, in Poland, managers often manage people from different parts of the world, using different languages, having different ideas about good cooperation, order, and duty.

In the era of expanding international cooperation, whether it is worth creating culturally diverse teams is no longer being asked. Nevertheless, their formation is a fact, just as cultural differences are a fact. Rather, the question should be "How to manage them?"

Cultural diversity, and above all, the ability to manage cultural differences, is a source of new values ​​described as a cultural synergy effect. A company that accepts cultural diversity has easier access to unique knowledge about foreign markets, recipients' specificity, and preferences, behaviors, and needs.

Multicultural teams have a decisive advantage over monocultural teams, usually consisting of people with similar experiences, educated according to similar programs, which can generate a limited number of solutions.

Communicate in an intercultural environment

Communication is successful when those involved understand each other. Unfortunately, we all tend to interpret messages based on our own beliefs and assumptions. But when communicating with people from different cultural backgrounds, we must consider the possibility that we may misinterpret their words, and they may misinterpret our words. This can easily be overlooked because it is not always obvious that what is said and our interpretation of it do not match. Therefore, identifying and correct incorrect or misleading interpretations in an intercultural environment is an important intercultural competence.

Shaping intercultural communication

To avoid misunderstandings in an intercultural communication situation, communication should be made as explicit as possible. This means explaining things that may be obvious to members of the same cultural group and explaining them in detail and repeated questions to ensure that the interlocutors understand what we mean. Experience has shown that such an approach increases the quality and effectiveness of communication, promotes positive relationships, and leads to us learning new things about ourselves and people with different cultural backgrounds.

Intercultural communication - more than just language

Intercultural communication is the verbal and non-verbal interaction between people with different cultural backgrounds.

Intercultural communication as a phenomenon has the following characteristics:

- It's a universal phenomenon

- Communication between cultures has been around for thousands of years

- Intercultural communication is an everyday matter

If you want to learn something about intercultural communication, it is important to understand exactly what it is. But it is also important to understand what it is not. Intercultural communication is geared towards enabling positive and productive interaction. You don't join this culture; you don't become a member of another society. You don't give up your own culture. That would be assimilation, and that is not what we are aiming for.

Intercultural communication is not just language skills either. Yes, communication requires the ability to understand language. But think about how much communication with your own friends is non-verbal: our body language, attitudes, and rituals from shaking hands to looking down. Some researchers estimate that up to 93 percent of all human communication is non-verbal when, according to recent studies, it's actually closer to 60 percent.

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