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Intercultural communication serves a vital role in that it can forestall miscommunication and misunderstanding.
The present paper, therefore, provides a critical discussion of the conceptualization of intercultural communication and the commonly acknowledged challenge of intercultural communication. The intersection of psychology with sociology, anthropology, and organizational studies, as noted by Bargiela-Chiappini and Nickerson (2003), is fertile ground for a critical appraisal of the overarching construct of culture; for instance, a survey of recent literature in these disciplines indicates that the debate is still continuing as to whether culture is a mental construct, a social dimension, or a shared, patterned behavior.
Cultural psychology and its focus on historically situated and interactionally based relationships between individuals provide rich sources of data which benefit both inter- and intra research and, perhaps, a more accessible discipline for business interculturalists is that of linguistic anthropology, most especially in its approach to language is culture (Bargiela-Chiappini and Nickerson 2003): "There is much that linguists and communication scholars can contribute to an understanding of the processes generating and reconstructing the luminal zone of the intercultural community…we now need to extend that analysis further using the tools afforded by multi-disciplinarity" (p.
Culture is (1) an important idea as it deals with the way people live and approach problem solving in a social and organizational context, (2) the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from another, and (3) the result of a complex interaction of values, attitudes, and behaviors of the members of a group; "values" influence attitudes, "attitudes" affect behaviors, and "behaviors" in turn have an impact on "cultures"—thus forming a reinforcing or self adjusting, circular phenomenon (Soutar, Grainger, and Hedges 1999) (see Figure 1). Time and space: Time is one of the most central differences that separate cultures and cultural ways of doing things. Fate and personal responsibility: This refers to the degree to which people feel themselves the masters of their lives, versus the degree to which people see themselves as subject to things outside their control. Face and face-saving: In the broader definition, face includes ideas of status, power, courtesy, insider and outsider relations, humor, and respect. Nonverbal communication: Research has shown that the emotions of anger, fear, sadness, disgust, and surprise are expressed in similar ways by people around the world.
As people’s familiarities with the above four different starting points increase, they are cultivating cultural fluency—cultural fluency is awareness of the ways cultures operate in communication and conflict, and the ability to respond effectively to these differences.
Assumption of similarities: This might temporarily ease the discomfort of ‘walking on thin ice,’ but it can be seriously misleading, with implications for data interpretation and the research itself (Holstein and Gubrium as cited in Shah 2004). Language differences: Communication competence studies insist that knowing the language is not enough unless and until it is supported by cultural knowledge. Preconceptions and stereotypes: Intercultural communication takes place in the backdrop of preconceptions and stereotypes deriving from initial contacts with other cultures.
Tendency to evaluate: Evaluations are made in comparison with the known value systems and patterns of behavior, derived from one’s own cultural background. Communication is a process involving multiple messages sent via multiple signal systems; and culture has a "pervasive influence on the encoding of both verbal and nonverbal signals and on the decoding of those signals. Cultural groups are often characterized by distinct languages, and subcultures often have dialects within a language. Adapted from Hart (1966) and Hall papers, special collection, University of Arizona Library, cited in Rogers et al.
Hall’s books (The Silent Language, The Hidden Dimension, and Beyond Culture) are among the most cited books in intercultural communication on the basis of the Social Science Citation Index from 1972 to 1998 (Hart as cited in Rogers et al. Nonverbal communication is hugely important in any interaction with others because people tend to look for nonverbal cues when verbal messages are unclear or ambiguous (especially when different languages are being used) (LeBaron 2003): "Since nonverbal behavior arises from our cultural common sense (our ideas about what is appropriate, normal, and effective as communication in relationships), we use different systems of understanding gestures, posture, silence, emotional expression, touch, physical appearance, and other nonverbal cues" (p.
Speaking is in most cases valued higher than silence because silence makes us feel as if we are not communicating very well with other partner. While courses in intercultural communication are taught throughout the world today, usually in university departments of communication, in Japan these courses are also offered in university departments of English and school of business. Intracultural communication refers to communication between interactants sharing the same cultural background.
As an example, the quality of teachers’ daily social and intellectual interactions is influenced by effective communications and interpersonal skills. Although many Japanese people appear to have positive attitudes towards the learning of English, they feel that it is difficult even to acquire effective English communication skills at school.
When people of two different cultures interact, cultural fluency is the appropriate application of respect, empathy, flexibility, patience, interest, curiosity, openness, the willingness to suspend judgment, tolerance for ambiguity, and sense of humor. In Japan, as the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology’s guidelines for English language teaching within the school curriculum have placed increasing emphasis on "communication," a greater portion of textbooks and classroom activities has focused on face-to-face interaction in hypothetical intercultural contact situations (Yashima 2002). Yashima, Zenuk-Nishide, and Shimizu (2004) studied the antecedents of WTC in a L2 with Japanese adolescent learners of English and found that the learners’ perceived communication competence is most strongly related to WTC: "Those who are internationally oriented seem to be motivated to study the L2. In the Christian tradition, great importance is attributed to words, as Yoshida (2002) maintains, "The basic approach to cognition and communication in that tradition can be see, for example, in the Gospel.
In contrast to Westerners who depend on words, Japanese can communicate through simple indications or hints (thus "haragei"); words are merely an indication leading to the meaning, and the meaning itself is often buried between the lines without being explicitly expressed in a way that would be immediately understood by Westerners. In Japan and other collective societies, the self exists in relation to others, and thus, it is the relationship, not the individual (Greenholtz 2003): "…one of the elements of popular mythology that in their minds distinguishes the Japanese from non-Japanese is the Japanese’ self-reported ability to understand each other without words, haragei" (p. In any conversation concerning cultural difference or international relations, the phrase "we Japanese" (who think alike and speak with one voice) will be heard repeatedly. Japan is well known as a "collectivist" society where people are extremely sensitive to and concerned about relationships, and a noteworthy Japanese quote, "The nail that sticks out is hammered down," indicates how individualism is negatively viewed in Japanese society, whereas U.S. Some differences in culture may also be linked to differences in the way the self is construed as well as societal regulations (Fujihara et al. Cultural communication research tends to focus on understanding communication within one culture from the insiders’ points of view (Gudykunst and Mody 2002). Critics argue that the dominance of English influences the Japanese language and Japanese people's views of language, culture, and identity, which are affected by the world view of native English speakers (Kubota 1998). JavaScript is currently disabled, this site works much better if you enable JavaScript in your browser.



Because of increased intercultural contact and interdependence, people in the world are forced to "rethink" intercultural communication in order to acquire effective intercultural communication competence. Intercultural business communication is a relatively young field of study compared with intercultural communication or business communication (Bargiela-Chiappini and Nickerson 2003).
Because of increased intercultural contact and interdependence, people in the world are forced to "rethink" intercultural communication in order to acquire effective intercultural communication competence which, as Arasaratnam (2005) states, is becoming more relevant in the increasingly multicultural communities that people live in today. Although the term "culture" has been defined in a variety of ways, culture is characterized as a "system of beliefs, values, and assumptions about life that guides behavior and is shared by a group of people; and these are transmitted from generation to generation, rarely with explicit instructions" (Peace Corps 2002, p. Robert’s Rules of Order (rules for meetings), observed in many Western meetings, enforce a mono-chronic idea of time. In many cultures, maintaining face is of great importance, though ideas of how to do this vary. Because of this influence, misunderstanding and conflict is inevitable in intercultural communication" (Matsmoto, Leroux, and Yoo 2005, p. Hall’s (1959) book, The Silent Language, and Hall has been acknowledged to be the founder of the field of intercultural communication (Note that The Silent Language was translated into Japanese in 1966 by Masao Kunihiro, et al. 2002) and he was also considered the most influential figure in the field of intercultural communication by respondents in a survey of U.S. One reason for the growing popularity of intercultural communication, and for the location of some courses in business schools, is that this field is perceived in Japan as a particularly useful skill for use in international business.
However, in intercultural communication, interactants come from different cultures; during intracultural communication, interactants implicitly share the same ground rule of communication and interaction, but in intercultural communication this is oftentimes not the case (Matsumoto et al. When considering the relationships between Japanese and non-Japanese teachers who work together, the quality of their relationships may need to be assessed in terms of their willingness to communicate (WTC) with persons from different cultures, and the ability to do so while respecting cultural differences (Walker 2005). The average score for Japanese who undertake the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is almost the lowest in the world and the conversational skills of Japanese are considered to be poor (Matters et al. WTC is defined in terms of low communication anxiety (also known as communication apprehension—thus a learned condition caused by unfamiliar social situations, cultural dissimilarity, and the use of a second language). As further noted by Yashima, Macintyre developed a path model (see Figure 2) that postulate that WTC is based on a combination of greater perceived communicative competence and a lower level of communication anxiety: "Macintyre then applied this model to second language (L2) communication and showed that anxiety about L2 communication and perceived L2 communicative competence consistently predicted WTC in a L2" (p. The higher level of motivation links to self-confidence, possibly through learning behavior and its resultant competence" (p. In Japanese-style communication, what is uttered can be fully understood only by those who have had similar experiences.
I am reminded of a Japanese colleague describing restaurant portions in Canada as being "too large for we Japanese"—not just for him personally, but for the entire Japanese nation. Those who speak do not know." It is during these periods of silence that the famous belly language (haragei), the sensing of another’s thoughts and feelings goes on.
Understanding cross-cultural communication should be a prerequisite to understanding intercultural communication because cross-cultural communication looks at how people from differing cultural backgrounds endeavor to communicate, and thus, the core of cross-cultural communication is to establish and understand how people from different cultures communicate with each other. Both critical consciousness and practical skills in English are necessary for Japanese people to appreciate English for social transformation. Her research interests include interdisciplinary studies on student learning and development, and the social contexts and learning with a higher education focus. Oxford University Press, OxfordBachman L, Palmer A (1996) Language Testing in Practice: Designing and Developing useful Language Tests.
The present paper provides a critical discussion of the conceptualization of intercultural communication and the commonly acknowledged challenge of intercultural communication. An often neglected dimension of business is human interaction (Brislin 1994), and thus, intercultural business communication has grown into a complex disciplinary endeavor: "Of themselves, the fundamental constructs of culture and communication involve an array of well-established and highly developed fields of enquiry, with their distinctive and sometimes overlapping approaches, theories, and methodologies" (Bargiela-Chiappini and Nickerson 2003, p.
Although intercultural communication is not new, what is new is the systematic study of exactly what happens when cross-culture contacts and interactions take place—that is, when a message producer and a message receiver are from different cultures (Gao 2006).
The inseparability of language and culture using the term "languaculture" and that languaculture awareness is extremely important but extremely difficult to achieve in situations of intercultural context (Roberts 1998): "…one of the most remarkable trends in current thinking about language and culture is a broad consensus on the constructed nature of social reality… the recent literature within cultural studies and anthropology critiques the earlier abstract, homogeneous notion of culture" (pp. In the East, time feels like it has unlimited continuity, an unraveling rather than a strict boundary. That words exist in some languages and not others reflects the fact that different cultures symbolize their worlds differently….
As predicted, the results of their study suggest that independent self construals and individualistic values mediate the influence of cultural individualism-collectivism on the use of low-context communication, and interdependent self construals and collectivistic values mediate the influence of cultural individualism-collectivism on the use of high-context communication. This means that for Japanese teachers to enjoy harmonious collegial relationships, they should be confident in their English language competence and make the effort to converse with colleagues in English. John: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the word was God" (¶ 26).
Deals are formulated over the phone, in person or just by corresponding with each other in writing in the U.S. A new challenge for cultural fluency as a guide to effective intercultural communication is to generate approaches of investigation on how people from different cultures and speaking different languages actually influence each other in specific intercultural contexts. Our communication with North Americans: A study of intercultural experience of Japanese visiting students. Socratic Teachers and confucian learners: Examining the benefits and pitfalls of a year abroad.


Toward theorizing Japanese interpersonal communication competence from a non-western perspectives. The influence of attitudes and affect on willingness to communicate and second language communication.
Oxford University Press, OxfordBrinton D, Snow MA, Wesche M (2003) Content-based Second Language Instruction.Michigan classics edition.
The German word "schadenfreude" and the Japanese word "amae," [which do not have counterparts in English, provide examples]. The original paradigm for intercultural communication took form in conceptualizations by Hall and associates at the Foreign Service Institute of the U.S. When the culture context is high general communication does not require a lot of background information to pass from one person to the other as a lot is already known, but when the culture context is low general communication requires a lot of background information.
At the most fundamental level, each individual’s interpretation of the world is different, but according to the groups to which people belong (national, regional, local, and professional) they share some interpretations with others (CILT 2005). Such difficulties prompted Sakai and D’Angelo (2005) to argue: "Japan needs to develop pride and confidence in its own form of educated English … to play a role on the international stage, and to be able to engage in debates and exchange of ideas on an equal footing with those from all over the world (p. Human communication is such a complex process in which people do influence each other; and intercultural communication is the sharing and construction of meaning through interaction with dissimilar others (Yoshima et al.
Within one’s own home, there is some refuge from formal social interaction in Japan, the never-ending chess game in which every interaction must be plotted several moves in advance, relative status guarded, words carefully chosen so as not to give or invite offense, personal desires subordinated to the needs of the in-group at hand and appearances (dress, make-up, and appropriateness to occasion) carefully considered.
By trespassing into this "personal territory," you can make a Japanese feel very uncomfortable. On the contrary, Americans typically have an independent view of the self and seek independence from others. Intercultural communication competence: Identifying key components from multicultural perspectives. The influence of cultural Individualism-collectivism, self construals, and individual values on communication styles across cultures.
Investigating the cognition behind the intercultural interactions of four Japanese teachers of English as a foreign language.
University of Michigan Press, Ann ArborCanale, M (l983) From communicative competence to communicative language pedagogy. Department of State during the 1951-1955 period; Hall’s early life experiences as he grew up in the culturally diverse state of New Mexico, and commanded an African American regiment in World War II expressed a high degree of cultural fluency, and were significant influences (Rogers et al. One of the factors responsible for this could be the fact that Americans generally overuse facial expressions and gestures, thus diminishing their importance. 2004): "Through learning an L2, we can expand our communicative repertories and make the construction of shared meaning easier. Furthermore, great importance is given to the harmony among the team members and therefore decisions are reached by consensus and take a lot of time in Japan. 2002): "Hall’s graduate training in anthropology at Columbia University and his work as an applied anthropologist in the Foreign Service Institute brought him in contact with scholars who influenced his conceptualization of intercultural communication" (p. WTC in an L2 involves readiness to initiate this process that will hopefully lead to mutual understanding and trust" (p. Longman, London, pp 2–27Canale M, Swain M (l980) Theoretical bases of communicative approaches to Second language teaching and testing. The Silent Language placed a heavy emphasis on "nonverbal" communication, and an important appeal of the book to its readers was its illumination of previously hidden dimensions of human communication, particularly proxemics (how space affect communication) and chronemics (how time affects communication).
Georgetown University Press, Washington DC, pp 699–710Celce-Murcia M, Dornyei Z, Thurrell S (1995) A pedagogical framework for communicative competence: A Pedagogically motivated model with content specifications.
Hall’s paradigm was a strong intellectual influence on conceptualizations of the Japanese ways of nonverbal communication, shaping the field of intercultural communication in Japan. Issues in Applied Linguistics 6(2): 5–35Celce-Murcia M, Olshtain E (2000) Discourse and Context in Language Teaching. However, only recently have researchers studying intercultural communication devoted systematic attention to the influence of cultural fluency: an influence expressed in Hall’s career. MIT Press, Cambridge, MACohen AD (1998) Strategies in Learning and using a Second Language.
Longman, LondonHoekje B, Williams J (l992) Communicative competence and the dilemma of international teaching assistant education. John Benjamins, Amsterdam, pp 167–186.Hymes D (l967) Models of the interaction of language and social setting.
Penguin, Harmondsworth, pp 269–293McGroarty M (l984) Some meanings of communicative competence for second Language students. Oxford University Press, OxfordO’Sullivan JK (2007) Grammar Connection: Structure through Content. Oxford University Press, New YorkPawley A, Syder FH (l983) Two puzzles for linguistic theory: Nativelike selection and nativelike fluency.



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