Culture is a lifestyle of a given group of people. However, the term can also be described in a wide range of dimensions. It entails both the attitudinal and behavioral dimensions. In other words, culture involves what people believe in, their values, expectations as well as what is acceptable among them and what is not. For this reason, culture has been seen as a complex phenomenon. It has attracted many scholars who have tried to study it and the way it influences people involved. Culture is made up of other different subcultures. These are religious, ethnic, and regional sub-cultures among others. Research especially by behavioral scholars has shown that people belonging to the same cultural group have a lot in common. It is however important to note that different cultural background has an impact on communication among people.
Culture and Communication
Culture to a large extent has been recorded to impact communication negatively. This is because; people of different cultures always have a gap between them. This means that there cannot be trust and openness in their communication hence a barrier among them. Effective communication calls for mutual understanding among the parties involved. This can be achieved by observing clarity, openness, and trust while communicating.
In the intercultural environment, effective communication can be attained by understanding other people’s cultures. This means that they know what is expected of them while communicating. This includes the tone, language in terms of formality, and body posture when talking to different people. The key point in having effective communication in a cross-cultural environment; is to understand other people’s cultures and the things that make the difference between your culture and theirs.
An individual should be aware of differences that are a result of different cultural backgrounds. First, one should be aware of contextual differences. These are brought about by different cultural contexts. They have associated interpretation of messages during communication. In such a case, an individual should be able to differentiate between a high and low culture context. For example, Taiwan or South Korea is high context. For this reason, it values and emphasizes nonverbal communication, unlike US or Germany. These countries are low-context cultures and thus they prefer verbal communication. Secondly, one should be aware of social differences as well as non-verbal differences. Socially, one has to know how to behave while communicating. In addition, one should be able to understand the meaning conveyed by non-verbal communication. This depends on the different cultural environments. For example, head-down posture while talking to a person may be interpreted as a sign of respect in one culture while another may interpret the talk as dishonest.
Cross-Culture is seen to have more negative impacts on communication. To achieve effective communication, therefore, people should understand and appreciate other people’s cultures. This helps them to avoid communication barriers associated with attitude and behaviors. Moreover, it avoids misunderstandings among people.