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Chapter 3

Background to intercultural communication

Throughout the business world globalization is

Globalization means for a company to survive, it

must establish markets not only in its own
country but in foreign countries.

Therefore, their employees need to understand

the cultures and variables to be an effective
What is Culture?
Culture may be defined as the way of life of a people.

It includes objects that people make (material culture) as well as language,

ideas, beliefs, values, and behaviors (non-material culture).

– Language is a very important part of culture. It is the primary means of

transmitting culture to the next generation. Language allows us to share
– Gestures are used as an extra way to communicate. Gestures, expressed
through the body, may show approval, disdain, fear, or any of a range of
emotions or expressions without verbalizations
– Values and beliefs express our desires in life and can include that which a
culture defines as standards. Success, family, ambition, hard work,
democracy, freedom are all values which people in certain cultures hold
– Norms are the expectations we have for what is right and wrong, good or
bad. Norms are social rules for behavior.
Country I
Country II

Major Cultural

Core Similarities

Little Cultural

Some Cultural
Country IV Overlaps

Country III
Country I

Country II

Country IV

Major Cultural

Core Similarities

Little Cultural

Country III
National Cultural Variables
An entire country may have a series of national cultural norms;
individual ethnic groups within that country may accept most of
these norms as well as adding there.
The main national cultural variables are:

– Education
– Law and regulation
– Economics
– Politics
– Religion
– Social norms
– Language
Individual Cultural Variables
All people value their individual freedom, Often this
freedom is expressed in one’s own ethnic diversity.
These variables include:
– Time (Chromenics)
– Space (Proxemics)
– Food
– Acceptable dress
– Manners
– Decision making
Business Etiquette while Communicating with Japanese

Japanese Greetings
In Japan it is custom to greet each other by bowing instead of
The bow is a very important custom in Japan and bowing the wrong
way or not bowing at all can give you a major disadvantage in your
dealings with Japanese clients.
There are 3 different ways of bowing, depending on the social status
or age of the person you bow to.
– The lower the bow and the longer one holds the position, the
stronger the indication of respect, gratitude and sincerity.
– Therefore, it is important that you bow lower than those in a higher
position than you
Since such respect, gratitude and sincerity for one another is required
to build a successful relationship with Japanese colleagues and
clients, it is important to understand the custom of bowing
When greeting a Japanese for the first time, you are often asked to
introduce yourself. In your self-introduction, it is often best to include
not only your company information but also something personal about
Also keep in mind that Japanese introduce themselves stating their
company before their own name.
Japanese Greetings:
Since business cards are a must have
when doing business with the Japanese,
have double-sided Japanese business
cards printed before your visit.
Card Do's: -Always present your business card holding it with both
hands Japanese-language side facing forward.
Always present your business card to the most senior member of the
Japanese party first.
Accept Japanese business cards with respect, using both hands and
saying "hajimemashite" as you do so.
Accepted business cards should be placed on the table in front of you.

Keep your business cards in a proper carrying case and treat them with
Remember to deliberately and carefully pick up all the Japanese
business cards you receive at the end of the meeting.
Business Card Don'ts: -Never play with your Japanese business
card.-Never write notes on a Japanese business card.
Never immediately put a business card you received in your pocket
or bag.

Business Meeting and Negotiation

Business Meetings and Negotiations (Slide 1)

Always arrive 10 minutes early for a meeting, more if the meeting will
be with senior executives
Plan an exact agenda for the meeting and make sure to stick to it-Wait
to be seated in the meeting room because there is a usually a specific
seating arrangement (See diagram above)
Present your organization as cooperative and interested in a long-
range alliance.
Take lots of notes during the meeting as it indicates interest

Use visual aids during your presentation. Make sure to watch the
Japanese attendants' non-verbal communication.

During presentations and especially during negotiations, it is essential

that one maintain a quiet, low-key, and polite manner at all times

Do not show anger, a bad mood or other negative emotions to your

business counterparts

Periods of silence lasting between 10-15 seconds during meetins and

conversations are considered useful rather than uncomfortable
Business Meetings and Negotiations (Slide 1)

Etiquette and harmony are very important. "Saving face" is a key concept. Try to avoid saying
"no" and say "this could be very difficult" instead

Decisions are usually made only within the group. Outsiders must often gain acceptance
before they can have influence on the decision-making process-The decision-making process
can be very slow

Generally, the Japanese prefer oral agreements to written ones, and should not be pressured
into signing documents

The first meeting may focus on establishing an atmosphere of friendliness, harmony and
trust. Always allow ten minutes of polite conversation before getting down to business

It often takes several meetings to develop a contract. When the time comes, be content to
close a deal with a handshake .Leave the signing of the contract to future meetings.

Contracts can be renegotiated; in Japanese business protocol, they are not final agreements.

After the meeting, make sure to follow-up with your Japanese business counterparts through
visits, faxes and telephone calls
Business Communication and the
Technology Context
Why Managing Information within Organizations?
 The growth of information technology over the past 30 years has transformed the
way business is transacted throughout the world.

 Information technology is also changing the conventions of written

communication, favoring more direct and informal style and promoting more
collaborative types of communication.

 Internationally, the instantaneous availability of information has communicated

and influenced social, political, and economic event.

 Each day throughout the world, more than $1 trillion is transferred electronically,
and more than $300 billion by foreign exchange transfer.
History of Technological Development
Understanding Internet

 The invention of the telegraph, telephone, radio, and computer set the
stage for this unprecedented integration of capabilities

 Between 1961to 1965, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

started to research sharing information in small, phone-linked networks.
This was the beginning of development of Internet.

 In 1991, World-Wide Web was introduced, developed by

Mr. Tim Berners-Lee, with assistance from Robert Caillau

 The Internet has revolutionized the computer and communications world

like nothing before.

 The Internet is at once a world-wide broadcasting capability, a mechanism

for information dissemination, and a medium for collaboration and
interaction between individuals and their computers without regard for
geographic location.

 The Internet represents one of the most successful examples of the

benefits of sustained investment and commitment to research and
development of information infrastructure.

Email and the technologies it has generated are changing the

landscape of business communication. The distinguished
features of email are:

 More readily available

 Interoperable between systems
 Available world-wide
 Inexpensive
 Much better known – reached a critical mass where one can expect
others to have an email address
 Much easier to use
Email Etiquettes
 Watch your tone: Avoid being too casual

 Be concise: Long, rambling messages are ineffective

 Send a message only when there is something very important to


 Forward the email to appropriate address if you are not the intended

 Be polite. Do not provoke, insult or comment too much about

something that is irrelevant and tasteless.
Other Communication Technologies

1. Voice Mail
2. Groupware
3. CD-ROM Databases
4. Teleconferences
5. Faxes
Voice Mail
Voice mail has become popular in many offices because
it eliminates “telephone tag”

 It records a message in a computer disk for later retrieval by the


 When an incoming call is not answered, the system guides the

caller how to record the message.

 The receiver then either listen to the recorded message upon

returning to the office or access the message via telephone.

Groupware allows supervisor to manage workflow of a

department via computer

It allows several people to use software at the same

time to create documents, keep track of projects, route
messages, and manage deadlines.

Groupware enables a supervisor to manage workflow via

individual computers instead of physically moving people
from place to place or having face to face meetings.
Business Communication and the
Technology Context
CD-ROM Databases

Compact Disk-Read Only Memory (CD-ROM) are very popular data storage device.

 It is a powerful tool for putting masses of information in a form that is easy to digest.

 Some kinds of information typically found on CD-ROMS are encyclopedia, dictionaries,

telephone directories, and articles and abstracts on various subjects.

 Multimedia applications, including video, audio, graphics, and text, are making CD-
ROMs storage of information essential.
Teleconferencing is the emerging technology that
allows group of people not only talk with each other but
also see their video images.

 Currently video conferencing has problems such as

high price tag and poor quality video images on the
computer screen.

 The technology is, however, continuously being

improved with the aid of special software and
powerful microprocessors.
Business Communication and the
Technology Context
A facsimile machine scans a printed page, converts it to a signal, and transmits the
signal over telephone line to a receiving fax machine.

 The oldest type of machines had to be connected to a machine of the same type. Today’s fax
machines do not require the same kind of machine at the receiving end, and they can
transmit a page in less than 1 minute.
 The newest fax machines use digital transmission, which makes it possible to use computer
program as a receiver. And these new machines are much faster than previous generation
Managing Information Outside

News organizations are responsible for

most of our knowledge of what goes on
in the world
Managing the News Media
What we refer to as “the media” are simply channel of information,
everything from newspapers, radio, television, magazines, journals, and

News is generally characterized into two types: Hard News vs. Soft
– Hard News is out of ordinary, is timely, and is most often public needs to
know. Plane crashes and fires are hard news.
– Soft News stories are timeless; that is they can be used within a wider
framework of time, and most often they have a positive rather than a negative

Within business organizations, hard news includes such things as annual

meetings results, quarterly earnings or announcements of a new product.
Soft news includes material that can inform or educate readers or
viewers about company, its vision in the world, and its community
Managing Corporate News
Tools for communicating to the media
Press Releases
Op-Ed Pieces
Letters to the Editor
Talk Show
Press Release
A press release is an information memo
from your organization to the news media
fto get your message to the public.
The pitfalls of interviewing can be avoided
by careful preparation and knowledge.
Op-Ed Pieces
Opinion articles by private organizations
can often be found opposite the editorial
page in newspapers.
Letter to Editor
Letter to the editor must be short, clearly
written, and signed.
Many letters are written to:
– Clarify an issue
– Refute a charge
– Correct a mistake
– Point out needed change
– Offer an opinion
– Or, react to the situation
Talk Shows
Call-in talk shows, whether on radio or
television can offer your organization
channel for communicating your message
to the public.

Talk shows are, however, less predictable

than aby other kind of media.
Managing Information Through
Company Spokespersons
Companies often select one person to be the main
This strategy allows for a consistent answer, a single
contact, and a decrease in response variance.
The spokesperson should be a:
– Knowledgeable about the company’s overall objectives and
– Well-prepared to speak on issues under consideration.
– Comfortable speaking in public and to groups and fielding
questions deftly.
– Assured of full confidence of the company’s management
News Media Interview
Preparation: The Key to a Good Interview

1. Ask about the subject of the interview, the time, what is

needed, and the deadline.

2. Write out some brief, positive points about your

3. Anticipate likely questions beforehand, so plan answers. If
possible, rehearse answers.
4. For newspaper reporters, background literature is
welcomed from the interviewer(s).
5. For a surprise interview situation, take a few minutes to plan
6. For a surprise telephone call interview, call right back…after
planning an appropriate message/response.
News Media Interview
The Interview
1. Answer questions…and bridge to positive points.

2. Be confident; you’re the expert in the interview!

3. Avoid speculation and hypotheticals; it may lead to being misquoted.

4. Avoid technical terms, jargons, and acronyms; only people who are familiar with your program are familiar with
your terms.

5. Do not say “no comment.” If you cannot answer, explain why.

6. Do not be afraid to say, “I don’t know…but I will find out for you.”

7 For TV – keep your answers to 20 seconds or less.

i. Keep your eyes on the interviewer.

ii. Do not fill dead airtime…it’s not your responsibility.
iii. Be honest.
iv. Assert Yourself!
Business Communication and the
Technology Context