Chapter Three

Business Communication and the Global Context By: Mohammad Zafeer Qasmi MA. English Assistant Professor at Kardan University, Kabul, Afghanistan

Background to Intercultural Communication
1. A Concept of Culture
‡ Culture is a set of symbols and artifacts created by a society and handed down from generation to generation as determinants and regulators of human behavior The symbols may be intangible (attitudes, beliefs, values, language) or tangible (tools, housing, products, works of art) Culture do change over time



Background to Intercultural Communication
‡ Cultural Universals, such as language, are general practices found in every culture ‡ Anthropologist George Murdock compiled a list of cultural universals. The examples identified by Murdock include the following practices:
1. Athletic sports 2. Bodily adornment 3. Calendar 4. Cooking 5. Dancing 6. Family 7. Food

Background to Intercultural Communication
8.Gestures 9.Gift giving 10.Hairstyles 11.Housing 12.Language 13.Laws 14.Marriage 15.Music 16.Numerals 17.Personal names 18.Trade religion

Elements of Culture
j Language j Norms-are established standards of behavior

maintained by a society(being quiet in classroom)
± Sociologists distinguish between norms in two ways ‡ Formal norms have generally been written down and involve strict rules for punishment of violator ‡ Informal norms are generally understood but are not precisely recorded. Our punishment has no specific punishment for a person dressed quite informally

Attitude toward Cultural Variation
j Ethnocentrism ± William Graham Sumner refer to the tendency to assume that one¶s culture and way of life are superior to all others ± The ethnocentric person sees his or her own group as the center of defining point of culture and views all other cultures as deviations from what is ³normal´ ± Ethnocentrism serves to maintain a sense of solidarity by promoting group pride. Yet this type of social stability is established at the expense of other peoples ± Denigrating other nations and cultures can enhance our won patriotic feelings and belief that our way of life is superior

Cultural Relativism
± It is not necessary to view all cultural variations with an assumption that one¶s own culture is more humane, more ³civilized´. and ,more advanced than others ± While ethnocentrism evaluates foreign cultures using the familiar culture of the observer as a standard of correct behavior, cultural relativism view people¶s behavior from the perspective of their own culture ± It places a priority on understanding other cultures, rather than dismissing them as ³strange´ or ³exotic´

Xenocentrism (Antonym of Ethnocentrism)
± It is the belief that the products, styles, or ideas of one's society are inferior to those that originate elsewhere ± In a sense, it is reverse ethnocentrism ± Consumers in developing nations frequently turn their backs on locally produced goods and instead purchase items imported from Europe or North America

An Intercultural Communication Model

Cultural Similarity & dissimilarity

National Cultural Variables
j Education j Laws and Regulations j Economics j Politics j Religion j Social Norms j Language

Individual Cultural Variables
j Time (Chronemics) j Space(Proxemics) j Food j Acceptable Dress j Manners j Decision Making

Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication
j Verbal ± Tone of voice of one¶s initial words can influence your initial perception of whether meeting is positive or negative ± Chinese expression ³she-she´ (³thank you´) for your tea or tap your fingers on the tablecloth , nonverbally indicating gratitude ± The volume of some person¶s speech. What is loud to American, perhaps sounding like a fight, is considered normal and accepted by other cultures

Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication 
± Handshake is a traditional form of greeting in the West ± Eskimos rub noses as a form of greeting ± A kiss on the cheek or lips signifies the same thing in many western cultures ± A thumbs up

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