What Intercultural communication entails

1.0 Abstract

Intercultural communication involves nonverbal and verbal interaction between individuals from various cultural backgrounds. In this case, it involves the communicating process with individuals in other cultures. The first section of the report contains an introduction to the issue and the case study. The second section identifies the intercultural communication issue in the case study. The third section contains a review of the literature reviewing the five intercultural issues identified in the second section. The review utilizes the Geert Hofstede’s intercultural dimension theory to discuss intercultural communication issues identified. The fourth section of the study contains an analysis of the case study used in this study. The report focuses only on the five intercommunication issues identified and explained utilizing Geert Hofstede’s cultural dimension theory perspectives. The second last section contains the recommendations for the established intercultural communication issues in the case study. The last part includes the research resources utilized to assemble the information contained in the study.

Table of Contents

Abstract 2

2.1 Intercultural Issues. 4

2.2 Intercultural Verbal communication issues. 4

2.3 Intercultural nonverbal communication issues. 4

3.0 Literature Review.. 5

3.1 Justification of model 5

3.2 Description of the model 5

3.2 Strengths of the Model 7

3.3 Weaknesses of the Model 7

4.0 Case Analysis. 8

4.1 Individualism.. 8

4. 2 Collectivism.. 8

4.3 High and Low Uncertainty Avoidance. 9

4.4 Long-Term and Short-Term Orientations. 10

4.5 Masculinity and femininity. 11

5. 0 Recommendations. 11

6.0 References. 14

1.0 Introduction

Culture involves a set of beliefs and values, codes and rules, customs, and norms that socially defines a group of individuals, binding them together and provides them with a given sense of commonality. Intercultural communication involves both nonverbal and verbal interaction between individuals from various cultural backgrounds (Shvachkina&Rodionova, 2018). The case study presents two companies from Europe and Brazil, negotiating for a partnership to sell bio-products. The report identifies problems associated with culture and communication that include verbal and nonverbal intercultural communication issues; utilizes Hofstede’s cultural dimension theory to explain the issues identified and present the literature review and recommendations for the problems.

2.0 Identification of the issues

2.1 Intercultural Issues

Intercultural issues involve cultural problems between the two countries that hinder cohesive business communications. The problems prevent people from reaching intended agreements. BodyHigh team only focuses on business values while the Naturebios team concentrates on both business and wellbeing of others (“Planting seeds for trade,” 2020).

2.2 Intercultural Verbal communication issues

These issues include individualism, collectivism, high and low avoidance of uncertainty, and short-term and long-term orientation issues (“Planting seeds for trade,” 2020).

2.3 Intercultural nonverbal communication issues

These issues include femininity and masculinity that results in communications difficulties based on cultural values and beliefs. Hansen and Larsen only care about business outcomes and not the wellbeing of the other people hence illustrating the individualism cultural dimension (“Planting seeds for trade,” 2020). They have focused on the partnership issue that brought them to Brazil. At the same time, the NaturebiosCompany cares about the wellbeing of the indigenous people by worrying about the technologies they would utilize. Additionally, how they would affect their people hence demonstrating the collectivism cultural dimension.

Hansen and Larsen demonstrate issues of low uncertainty avoidance cultural aspects while Dr. Gomes and company shows high uncertainty avoidance cultural dimension. The BodyHigh team has no interest in technologies used and how they could affect the locals (“Planting seeds for trade,” 2020). Such a behavior illustrates low avoidance of uncertainty cultural dimension. Naturebios takes everything seriously and bases its operations on research showing a high degree of uncertainty avoidance cultural dimension. The BodyHigh representatives have no concern about the long-term consequences. At the same time, Naturebios remain focused on long-term results of the partnership hence both showing short-term and long-term orientation issues, respectively. They both had communication difficulties when Hansen asked of their families; they failed to respond hence showing communication challenges due to intercultural communication differences.

3.0 Literature Review

3.1 Justification of the model

The study utilizes the Hofstede’s six dimensions model to explain the intercultural communication issues raised earlier from the case study analysis. The theory helps in understanding the variations in culture across different nations. The theory also informs of the difference in the manner that business takes place across different cultures (Bissessar, 2018). For this reason, the study utilizes the model because it could assist in differentiating between Europe’s national cultures, cultural dimensions, and assesses their influence on a business setting with those from Brazil.

3.2 Description of the model

According to Akhmetshin (2017), Geert Hofstede formulated the cultural model in 1980. The main aim of the model remains as establishing the dimensions through which cultures vary. The model presents six various dimensions that define culture. Such dimensions include collectivism versus individualism, the index of power distance, avoidance of uncertainty, restraint versus indulgence, short-term versus long-term point of reference, and femininity verse masculinity (Akhmetshin, Makulov, Talysheva, Fedorova&Gubarkov, 2017). According to Al-Sarayrah (2016), the power index concentrates on the degree to which power and inequality remain tolerated. In this case, the model views power and inequity from the follower understandsthat involves the lower level. The elevatedindex power distance demonstrates that a particular culture accepts power and inequity variations hence promotes bureaucracy and illustrates extreme value for authority and rank (Al-Sarayrah, Tarhini, Obeidat, Al-Salti&Kattoua, 2016). On the other hand, a low power distance index illustrates that a particular culture encourages organizational structures that remain a feature and flat, decentralized responsibility in decision-making, emphasis on distribution of power, and a style of participative management.

Dumetz (2018) states that individualism and collectivism focus on the level societies integrate into perceived obligations, groups, and group dependence. Individualism illustrates a huge significance in obtaining personal objectives, and collectivism demonstrates the importance of achieving goals for other people’s well being (Dumetz&Cadil, 2018). Uncertainty avoidance concentrates on the level of ambiguity, and uncertainty remains tolerated hence tries to know how to deal with unknown situations or events. Increased levels of uncertainty avoidance demonstrate they decreased tolerance for ambiguity, uncertainty, and taking risks while low uncertainty degrees illustrate high tolerance for risk-taking, ambiguity, and uncertainty.

Duncanson (2016) asserts that masculinity and femininity perspectives concentrate on society’s preference for achievement, attitude towards behavior, and sexuality equality. Masculinity involves traits like assertive, distinct gender roles, wealth being, and material achievements. In contrast, femininity traits include modest, fluid roles of gender focus on the quality of life quality and nurturing. Long-term and short-term orientation focuses on the level society sees its time horizon (Duncanson, Major-Donaldson& Weekes, 2016). Long-term perspective concentrates on the future by avoiding short-term success hence promotes perseverance, long-term growth, and persistence. Short-term concentrates on short-term success hence emphasize on the present only. Restraint and indulgence focus on the tendency and level of society that fulfills its desires. Indulgence demonstrates that society enables free gratification associated with life enjoyment, while restraint illustrates that society suppresses gratification of requirements and regulates it via social norms.

3.2 Strengths of the Model

            Holicza(2016) indicates that the strength of the model is that the model remains based on thirty-year-old information, and no other study of the same came up illustrating the accuracy of the model (Holicza, 2016). The model’s first four initial dimensions contain extreme cultural values that allow making of important comparisons between different national cultures. The model enables questions of huge significance to global managers, and there are no other comparisons of such a model since it is one of the best.

3.3 Weaknesses of the Model

            According to Irfan (2016), the weakness of this model is that in some few countries globally, there exist numerous cultures; hence, it becomes challenging to evaluate all those cultures (Irfan, 2016). Such states include Belgium, the USA, and Spain. Despite the weaknesses, the study utilized the model since it suite the countries of the teams negotiating in the case study used in this report-Europe and Brazil. Additionally, the model uncovers numerous cultural differences in various countries hence generating a huge amount of research.

4.0 Case Analysis

4.1 Individualism

Individualism cultural dimension aims at obtaining personal objectives over other people’s objectives. In this case, individualism emphasizes personal aims, recognizing and valuing personal achievement, and promotes independent action and thought (Sultana, PPT, Intercultural Communication, Slide 14, 2020). Self-concept is the main emphasis of the dimension as opposed to collectivism. In this case, when Dr. Victor Gomes spent his time explaining the significance of conservation in terms of the operations, technologies utilized in the extraction of the products the BodyHigh Team under Hansen and Larsen remained eager to know the next market release dates. Consequently, they only wanted to know the plans for extending the lycopene line of products (“Planting seeds for trade,” 2020).  Besides, Dr. Gomez explained to the team how they devoted their resources to protect and preserve the culture and natural resources for local communities, but the BodyHigh team had no interest in others but their objectives of the partnership. They also had no corporate responsibility policy and had no time for preparing a statement that addresses grievances for local communities’ sustainable development or welfare. Additionally, when asked of their take on Cowboy’s behavior in Norway, they seemed also not to care about the allegations, but their focuses remained on convincing Naturebios team to accept their request hence demonstrating individualism.

4. 2 Collectivism

Collectivism cultural dimension, as discussed earlier, focuses on acquiring goals that ensure other people have a better life, and their wellbeing comes first (Ponizovkina, (2016). Based on the case study, the Naturebios team first conducted the research on their intended operations on extracting Lycopene products to ensure that they had no dangers to the local community members. The team cares about the type of technology they could utilize in the operations and how it affects the local people’s wellbeing. The Naturebios team also cares to ask how the families of BodyHigh team were doing that day hence showing a collective cultural perspective. Additionally, the Naturebios team worries about a bad reputation like that of Cowboy Company in Norwayhence, showing how much they care about people’s wellbeing hence illustrating the collectivism cultural perspective (“Planting seeds for trade,” 2020). The team worrying about everything that concerns the local community before thinking about what they could gain in the end shows a collectivist cultural dimension.

4.3 High and Low Uncertainty Avoidance

Uncertainty avoidance, as discussed, entails the measurement of the degree at which a given culture could accept ambiguity circumstances and endure uncertainty concerning the future (Valaei, Rezaei, Ismail & Oh, 2016). The Naturebios team in Brazil shows a culture of high in uncertainty avoidance because they prefer to utilize approaches and methodologies true and already proven through scientific research. In this case, the Naturebios team carried enough industry-oriented research, as explained to BodyHigh Team. The team also carried research on the technologies utilized and how it could affect the local people. Consequently, they researched the importance of conservation and preservation of natural resources and culture, respectively. They also enquired about the reputation of other companies back in their country to ensure everything turns outright. Consequently, the Naturebios team prefers people’s stability to innovation and change (“Planting seeds for trade,” 2020). However, the BodyHighteam showed low degrees of uncertainty avoidance that demonstrates high tolerance for taking risks, uncertainty, and ambiguity. In this case, the BodyHigh team tolerates high degrees of risking on this business objective without considering long-term plans. The team does not have confirmed researched on the technologies utilized for the operations; they just want to do business hence avoiding any form of uncertainty involved in the business negotiation. Additionally, the team never had a corporate responsibility policy or a statement to address the welfare of the local communities in the areas hence low uncertainty avoidance demonstration.

4.4 Long-Term and Short-Term Orientations

As discussed earlier, long-term and short-term orientation focuses on the society’s view on its time horizon (Xiaomei, 2016). The Naturebios team in Brazil focuses on long-term outcomes of the business negotiation by suppressing short-term success and concentrates on long-term growth, persistence, and preservation by ensuring everything done has research evidence. The Naturebios team focuses on the future and long-term wellbeing of the local people; hence, they seem to remain concerned about the future and not the present. Furthermore, the team needs absolute clarity and assurance about every aspect that involves the operations of the business. On the other hand, short-term orientation focuses on short-term success hence concentrates on the present alone. For this reason, the BodyHigh team only focuses on the present by concentrating on the business negotiation going through with the Brazilian team. Nevertheless, the team has failed to carry out research first that promotes future success based on facts (“Planting seeds for trade,” 2020). The aspect of focusing on the present makes the team determine even the effects of technological methodologies utilized in the intended operations in case the negotiation goes through. The team concentrated on the present and forgot to draft social responsibility policies and statements that address the wellbeing of the local people hence illustrating short-term orientation issues.

4.5 Masculinity and femininity

The review of the literature asserts that masculinity and femininity cultural dimension focuses on a given society’s inclination for success, attitude towards behavior, and sexuality equality (Zhong, 2017). Based on the case study, Dr. Ana Sousa, as the CEO and her boss Jakob Larsen demonstrated femininity on how they approached both Hansen and Larsen when they landed. In this case, they greeted the visitors by shaking hands and presented their business cards. Additionally, they enquired about the wellbeing of the visitor’s families hence showing some modest, nurturing ability and fluid roles of gender that involve caring about others like family. On the other hand, the manner in which both Larsen and Hansen responded demonstrated masculinity cultural dimensions (“Planting seeds for trade,” 2020). In this case, when greeted by the Naturebios team who gave them their business cards and said their full names, they just said their first names only casually and focused on the business negotiation. Additionally, when asked about the wellbeing of their families, they only focused on business negotiation. Therefore, the BodyHigh tries to remain assertive, show different gender roles, and show a high appetite for wealth and material acquisition.  Additionally, the team from Europe has no room for an unconfirmed accusation of companies in their home country, but they only want to carry out the business that would result in acquiring wealth and exploiting the available opportunities. Such occurrences promote masculinity cultural perspective among the BodyHigh team.

5. 0 Recommendations

First, the study recommends the Naturebios team in Brazil to teach the BodyHigh tam from Europe about the importance of carrying out research. In this case, teaching them could help them to learn how to care about other people’s wellbeing, unlike their culture that concentrates on personal achievement over others.  Secondly, the Naturebios team needs to demonstrate to the other team about what collectivism requires and how it takes place. In this case, the team should educate the others why they have to think about the wellbeing of the community before seeing the objectives of the proposal about business partnership. Additionally, educating them about the importance of considering the community’s wellbeing would help in understanding why they have to learn and accept the culture of collectivism.

Thirdly, based on long-term and short-term orientations, the study recommends an explanation by the Naturebios team to the other team. In this case, explaining the reason why they have to focus on the long-term effects of the operations and why not on the present alone would assist them in adjusting and having a similar thought of ensuring everything looks okay before starting the business. Such explanations help the other team to learn and adapt their culture to fit in hence help in reaching an agreement through negotiation. Forth, the Naturebios team ought to exercise tolerance about the masculinity of both Hansen and Larsen. In this case, understanding masculinity would help them learn about the other team’s culture hence reason from the same direction, thus reach an agreement eventually about the business negotiations. Lastly, the study recommends that both teams should adjust their culture to accommodate that of others to enable negotiation to take place. Adjustments allow both sides to learn and accept one another’s culture hence promote talks to take place.   

6.0 References

Akhmetshin, E. M., Makulov, S. I., Talysheva, I. A., Fedorova, S. Y., &Gubarkov, S. (2017). Overcoming of intercultural barriers in the educational environment. Man in India97(15), 281-288.

Al-Sarayrah, S., Tarhini, A., Obeidat, B. Y., Al-Salti, Z., &Kattoua, T. (2016). The effect of culture on strategic human resource management practices: A theoretical perspective. International Journal of Business Management and Economic Research7(4), 704-716.

Bissessar, C. (2018). An application of Hofstede’s cultural dimension among female educational leaders. Education Sciences8(2), 77.

Dumetz, J., &Cadil, J. (2018).Challenging the Masculinity index: The end of a cross-cultural myth. International Journal of Social Sciences7(1).

Duncanson, K. M., Major-Donaldson, B., & Weekes, E. (2016).Hofstede’s theory and subcultures.InAllied Academies International Conference.Academy of Organizational Culture, Communications, and Conflict.Proceedings (Vol. 21, No. 1, p. 11). Jordan Whitney Enterprises, Inc.

Holicza, P. (2016). Understanding Magyar: An Analysis of Hungarian Identity within the Framework of Cultural Dimensions Theory and Additional Metrics.In the 4th International Scientific Correspondence Conference, the Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra (pp. 118-124).

Irfan, M. I. (2016). Cultural Dimensions of Hofstede and Their Impact on Organizational Performance in Sri Lanka. Imperial Journal of Interdisciplinary Research2(10), 1160-1169.

“Planting seeds for trade” (2020). Case Study: Planting seeds for trade with Naturebios. 1-3

Ponizovkina, I. (2016, December). Modern intercultural space and problems of eco-philosophy.In 2016 3rd International Conference on Education, Language, Art, and Inter-cultural Communication (ICELAIC 2016).Atlantis Press.

Shvachkina, L. A., &Rodionova, V. I. (2018).Intercultural Communications as a Tool of Formation of the Global Axiological System in the Conditions of Establishment of the Entrepreneurial Type of Thinking of the Russian Society. Journal of History Culture and Art Research7(3), 452-459.

Sultana, N. (2020).PowerPoints on Managerial and Communication: Intercultural Communication. 1-38

Valaei, N., Rezaei, S., Ismail, W. K. W., & Oh, Y. M. (2016). The effect of culture on attitude towards online advertising and online brands: applying Hofstede’s cultural factors on internet marketing. International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising10(4), 270-301.

Xiaomei, H. (2016). Apply Hofstede’s national cultural dimension theory to analyze Chinese tourist behaviors in Portugal tourism (Doctoral dissertation).

Zhong, W. (2017).A cross-cultural contrastive analysis of views on friendship in Chinese and English proverbs. Theory and Practice in Language Studies7(11), 1037-1045.

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