Internetional Business

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CHAPTER 4

Communicating across Cultures

CHAPTER DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. How does culture affect the process of attribution in communication?

Cultural differences induce additional noise into the communication process. A sender’s message contains the meaning intended by the encoder. When the message reaches the receiver, it undergoes a transformation which is influenced by the receiver’s culture.

2. What is stereotyping? Give some examples. How might people stereotype you? How does a sociotype differ from a stereotype?

Stereotyping occurs when a person assumes that every member of a society or subculture has the characteristics or traits. Students might be stereotyped based on their race, gender, appearance, affiliations (Greek, jock), major area of study (accountant, techno-geek), ethnic heritage, religion or other attribute. A sociotype is a means of accurately describing members of a group by their traits—which is useful to provide some initial basis for understanding people in a new encounter.

3. What is the relationship of language and culture? How is it that people from the same language may still mis-communicate?

Language conveys culture, technologies and priorities. Language is inseparable from culture; language cannot be interpreted without an understanding of culture. Within a given language group are many sub-cultures that have their own interpretations of certain words or phrases, or who may have their own idioms or regional expressions.

4. Give some examples of cultural differences in the interpretation of body language. What is the role of such non-verbal communication in business relationships?

Americans look straight at you when communicating, whereas the British keep your attention by looking away. Arabs prefer to touch and stand very close when communicating. Koreans speak more loudly to emphasize a point; Americans speak loudly when they are angry. Improper non-verbal communication can add a...

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