Effective Communication across cultural boundaries is essential for business, international cooperation, and personal relationships. Recognizing that various civilizations have distinct rules, values, social attitudes, and even cognitive processes is just as crucial for intercultural Communication as the shared language the two cultures share. However, this research discussed significant barriers to effect intercultural communications.
Keywords: communication, culture, barriers, community
Barriers to Intercultural Communications
To communicate is to have a two-way flow of information between specified communities. Some individuals naturally possess this ability, which is particularly useful for those working or studying in a multiethnic community. The term “intercultural communication” refers to exchanging ideas between persons from different cultural backgrounds. It connotes Communication between people of different languages and cultures(View content.Pdf, n.d.). Meaning in human experience is also a socially constructed and culturally contested concept. People who reside in the same city or area but do not share the same social groupings are included in the category of “other cultures,” just as those who speak a language different from ours or live in a different nation or location.
Few people have the necessary communication skills, and even fewer can successfully transmit their ideas across cultural borders. When two people from different cultures come into contact with one another, they need to participate in what is known as cross-cultural or intercultural Communication. This is an essential aspect of any interaction between people from various cultures. Numerous researchers and experts in the field of intercultural Communication have investigated the countless ways in which people from different cultural backgrounds communicate with one another and go about their day-to-day lives to understand better how these phenomena are influenced by cultural factors(Mancini-Cross et al., 2009). In addition, this subject explores the difficulties associated with communicating across cultural boundaries. The numerous challenges inherent in interactions across cultures will be the primary emphasis of this talk, as will the several potential solutions that might assist in mitigating the adverse effects of these barriers.
Research questions and problem statement
Before the last few decades, the only people who had to consider the challenges of intercultural Communication were multinational managers and diplomats. Not only do “regular” individuals from various cultures interact with each other every day, but also multinational executives and diplomats. Incredibly, our world has shifted: Whereas most individuals in the past were born, raised, and died within a relatively small region, seldom coming into touch with those of other cultures, the modern world is marked by an ever-increasing number of interactions leading to Communication between people of various cultural origins. Because of this, our modern society resembles a “global village. this research is important because it helps in understanding possible barriers to intercultural communications and their possible solutions.” this research seeks to answer the following questions: are there any barriers to effective intercultural communications? What causes the barriers? What can be done to curb the barriers?
One standard definition of anxiety is “a state of the human condition characterized by apprehension and tension.” At times, it might even be linked to an irrational level of anxiety. The first time someone interacts with someone from another culture, they often feel anxious. There is often much nervousness when people enter a new social situation since they have no idea what to anticipate from their counterparts and how to communicate with them. Because of nervousness, people often make little errors that cause significant complications for the two parties involved in the transaction(Rubtcova & Pavenkov, 2018). Hugs and lengthy handshakes are typical welcome forms in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Learning as much as possible about the other party’s culture is the most excellent method to calm your nerves. An even more attractive choice is to investigate how they run their company. Anxiety may be significantly lessened, and an effective connection can be created with some preliminary research.
An ethnocentric perspective maintains that one’s own culture and heritage are better. All components of culture are desirable and rational, according to this generalization. When engaging with someone from a different background, they overlook their viewpoint or make judgments based on their ideals. Ethnocentrism may be racist. Most acts of ethnocentrism are unintentional since their perpetrators do not realize how their behaviors affect others’ capacity to comprehend and connect with them. Since ethnocentrism cannot be predicted, there are no precautions(2009_June.Pdf, n.d.). Combating ethnocentrism is straightforward, and several ways may yield quick results. Ethnocentrism decreases as people learn to respect cultural diversity. Second, educate individuals about other cultures’ beliefs and traditions.
It is a common misconception that two cultures are the same or quite similar. A common misconception about the United Arab Emirates is that coffee, rather than tea, is the preferred beverage of the locals there because of the widespread adoption of the former. The fact that individuals of various cultural backgrounds have varying tastes means this is not always the case. A single person’s or a small group’s tastes do not represent all members of society. In intercultural Communication, it is essential to avoid making assumptions about the other culture. Safest would be to believe there are no distinctions between the two civilizations. The most effective strategy is to behave and seem like one normally would in a given situation(Spencer-Rodgers & McGovern, 2002). An individual’s success with this strategy is not guaranteed, and the idea that it always will be is a source of potential additional misunderstanding. For instance, refusing an offering offered by an Arab is seen as an insult in that culture. An average individual could decline the offering, which does not necessarily insult the giver. Once again, learning about the other party’s culture may go a long way toward preventing this kind of conflict.
Prejudice, along with linguistic and cultural barriers, hinders cross-cultural understanding. “Prejudice” is creating unjustified ideas about persons or organizations. It is someone’s initial impression of you based on your race, ethnicity, religion, caste, or language. When individuals of different origins and cultures gather, prejudice is inevitable. Prejudices hinder cross-cultural Communication and engagement(Ilie, 2019). Prejudice is the majority’s irrational view of the minority. Here, Communication breaks out. UAE contractors face prejudice. Pakistani, Indian, and Bangladeshi workers experience a coordination gap with their UAE subordinates. Discrimination creates an unpleasant work environment and hinders employee communication.
A language’s ability to facilitate Communication and mutual understanding is unmatched. It is shorthand for a medium via which two communities may communicate and share beliefs, norms, and practices. Language may be a significant impediment to Communication among multiethnic populations. There is a linguistic barrier between groups participating in an exchange. Resolutions have been applied by multinational businesses(Sarbaugh, 1979). Companies like these have helped to alleviate the difficulty of communicating across cultural boundaries by adopting English as the de facto global language. There is now less of a language barrier in the workplace because of the widespread adoption of English as the universal language of business.
Additionally, linguist experts might be hired to help break through language obstacles. With the help of anthropologists, who are trained to communicate effectively across cultural boundaries, linguistic obstacles may be broken through (Velo). In addition, specialized training programs may be designed to enhance the speaker’s linguistic frequency and tendencies. For improved cross-cultural Communication, it is necessary to take such measures to manage and reduce linguistic obstacles.
Relativism of culture
One of the most significant challenges to effective cross-cultural Communication is the belief that all cultures are equally valid. Cultural relativism is the promotion of one’s own values and culture at the expense of others. A group thinks better than others, which is reflected in the idea of cultural relativism. In its refusal to acknowledge the validity of other cultures’ worldviews, cultural relativism stands out as a significant impediment to understanding and cooperation between peoples. It is the same as forcing your principles and values on other people. Cultural relativity is common in SMEs in the UAE, where workers are encouraged to conform to the company’s established norms and values. Companies enforce a monolithic culture on their staff, which chills workers’ ability to communicate across cultures.
Intercultural communication problems arise when people of different values, cultures, and backgrounds try to communicate. These problems are essential and must be resolved for cross-cultural Communication to be successful. Therefore, people need to learn about each other’s cultures and ways of thinking to facilitate effective cross-cultural Communication. This will lessen the adverse effects of obstacles encountered during cross-cultural Communication.
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Mancini-Cross, C., Backman, K. F., & Baldwin, E. D. (2009). The Effect of the Language Barrier on Intercultural Communication: A Case Study of Educational Travel in Italy. Journal of Teaching in Travel & Tourism, 9(1–2), 104–123. https://doi.org/10.1080/15313220903042004
Rubtcova, M., & Pavenkov, O. (2018). The Intercultural Environment As the Approach to Remove Barriers of Communication [SSRN Scholarly Paper]. https://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=3253930
Sarbaugh, L. E. (1979). Intercultural Communication. Transaction Publishers.
Spencer-Rodgers, J., & McGovern, T. (2002). Attitudes toward the culturally different: The role of intercultural communication barriers, affective responses, consensual stereotypes, and perceived threat. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 26(6), 609–631. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0147-1767(02)00038-X
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