Communicating as a Leader

Understanding Intercultural Communication

Thong Kheng Lee asked:

Intercultural communication takes place whenever two people of different culture communicate and their cultural differences influences the communication process.

Culture and communication are inseparable as they are acquired simultaneously. Thus intercultural communication requires greater levels of communication skills.

Approaches to the Study of Intercultural Communication

There are basically four approaches used to investigate intercultural communication competence. They are the Trait Approach; the Perceptual Approach, the Behavioural Approach, and the Culture-specific Approach.

Cultural Variables in the Communication Process

Cultural similarities and differences are a key factor in the communication process, as it affects how one interprets the meaning.

Cultural variables that affect intercultural communication process are attitudes, social organisation, thought patterns, roles, language, and non-verbal communication.

Effective intercultural communication can only take place when the receiver is able to decode the message used by the sender without the influence of his or her own culture values.

Because of language barriers, non-verbal encoding and decoding differences and value divergences, intercultural communication can easily lead to conflict.

Managing or working with people from various cultures can be both interesting and stimulating, but it can also be stressful, confusing, and frustrating when we do not understand what they are trying to communicate.

So always remember, when communication with people from different cultures, it is important to remember that culture and communication are strongly connected.

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