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Globalization And Intercultural Communication Cultural Studies Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Cultural Studies
Wordcount: 2470 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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What is Globalization?

Globalization is a process of interaction and integration among the people, companies, and governments of different nations, a process driven by international trade and investment and aided by information technology. This process has effects on the environment, on culture, on political systems, on economic development and prosperity, and on human physical well-being in societies around the world.

What is intercultural communication?

Intercultural communication, more precisely then, is defined as the study of communication between people whose cultural perception and symbol system are distinct enough to alter their communication e.g.

In China, KFC’s “Finger licking good” was translated as “Eat your fingers off”.

Chevrolet attempted unsuccessfully to market its Nova compact car in Latin America countries. In Spanish no va means “does not go” or “it does not run”.

In today’s global scenario governments, organizations and companies are getting involved more and more. And because of globalization there has been fundamental change in who, where and why we do business and it is not constrained by borders or distance. More and more people from the remote locations in overseas location or from different cultural backgrounds are chosen to run the organization. To secure success in today’s globalised workplace there is a need for effective and clear intercultural communication.

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How people communicate, manage, work together, approach deadlines, negotiate, meet, greet and build relationships are important aspects of intercultural communication within the context of globalised business or organization. It is becoming much more related on two fronts 1. Businesses with a mix of cultures working together and 2.Businesses wanting to trade successfully abroad. It leads to bad presentation and lost deals if people are unaware of how to get along and get business done. For achieving business goals and higher profitability it is necessary to understand intercultural communication differences, manners, etiquette, protocol and communication styles.

To achieve competitive edge it is necessary to know intercultural communication. It is necessary for people to get it right and get it right at the first time. Intercultural communication plays an important role whenever an organization looks for a new supplier, giving a presentation or negotiating a contract.

In conclusion, the need for intercultural communication skill is obvious – we are all working in an interconnected global economy and it is important to build good relationships with people from other cultures. Globalised world economy is having a positive effect on individuals and companies. People extend their inter personal skills, flex their creative muscle and learn new ways of doing things when they are forced to think outside the box. It is necessary to build a good relationship with people in today’s interconnected global economy which tells us the need for intercultural communication is important. This leads to better business.

Key aspects of intercultural communication:


The internal process by which we select, organise and intercept information from the outside world is known as Perception. In other words, what we tend to notice, reflect upon and respond to in our surroundings is our perception and it is significant to us. Because of which no two person can have same perception of our surroundings. It is especially in the case if we interact with people who come from very different cultures different from our own. The way in which each one of us perceives the world is learned and is part of our own cultural experience. Certain kind of food or the responses like we have to going to see the doctor is the judgement we make and we all react to these different events in the way our culture has taught. Our perceptions are culturally determined and in turn influence the way we communicate.


The judgements which we make about what is true or wrong is known as Beliefs. It is usually linked to objects or events that pose certain characteristics that we believe to be true with or without proof. E.g. we have beliefs about religion (God), events (meeting was successful), other people (she is friendly) or even about ourselves (I am hard working). Most of our beliefs are ideas about how things work, why things are the way they are, and where things come from. Many of our beliefs are concerned with providing an explanation for things which would otherwise be unpredictable or inexplicable, such as weather, death and romance.


Values are defined as “an enduring set of beliefs that serve to guide or direct our behaviour”. It represents the norms of the culture and specify, for instance, what is good or bad, right or wrong, rude or polite, appropriate or inappropriate. In other words they provide us with a set of rules for behaving , making choices and reducing uncertainty. Like our perceptions and beliefs, values are learned and hence subject to interpretation. When we interpret behaviour, an object, or an event, we are applying value judgements, which reflect our particular culture.

Culture and Pragmatics and Interactional Norms

Whenever there is any effect on cultural on communication, text structure are more affected then in the case of inter culture communication. The meaning of ‘equivalent’ units in terms of contexts of use, and the sorts of interactional trajectories are established by the effect of culture. The culturally based nature of meaning in language use is seen in example, which features an exchange in English between an Australian child and his French mother.

Thank you

Son: Hi Mum thanks for picking me up.

Mother: Thanks for picking you up! Did you think?

I wasn’t going to come? But I’m your Mum;

of course I was going to come. It’s dark and you’re

little. Of course I was going to pick you up.

In the example a child thanks his mother and the mother reacts negatively. The meaning of thanks for picking up leads to the contention of the issue. ‘Thanking’ is a mark of appreciation in Australian cultural framework, which means appreciating for something that’s has been done for one’s benefit. It shows gratitude for the mother’s action. But the mother’s response in this frame does not make any sense: expressions of appreciation do not typically occasion expressions of anger within this framework. The meaning of thank you is different in the French framework. In the French framework, especially between intimates, thanking is not an automatic acknowledgement for something which is done by another for one’s benefit. Rather in close relationships thanking is reserved for unusual or unexpected actions things which are additional to the normal relationships between people. The son’s thanking is hearable as a sign that picking me up is not an anticipated act, but rather something extraordinary or strange something this child had not anticipated of the mother. The mother’s reaction was towards the construction of the act that is being appreciated and concurrently of the other as the sort of person who would not pick up her son at night and not towards the thanking. An implied criticism is hearable in thanking of the mother. The conflict here is motivated by perceptions of what counts as an appreciable act. For the son, any beneficial act is appreciable but for the mother this is not the case.

The translation of the following sentence is similar but it has different meaning in the Australian English and Polish sentences.

Why don’t you close the window?

Dlaczego nie zamkniesz okna?

The English version forms a polite request framed indirectly as a idea, while the other sentence ‘imply stubborn and unreasonable behavior on the part of the addressee’. The word to word translation may be same but it is different in the cultural context.

Another example would be as follows,

Pass me the book.

Passe-moi le livre.

The sentence in English enacts a relatively low level of politeness in terms of the social relationships, but the French example could be used in a considerably wider range of contexts. In fact, the form passe, which is the tu-form of the verb, encodes a close social relationship which would make example a more natural formulation of the request.

In comparison with the following examples,

Could you pass me the book?

Pourrais-tu me passer le livre?

After reading the example a feeling arise as the words in English sounds polite to the ears in the discussion between the family members over the wide range of topics. In the French example it implies where there is a close interpersonal relationship (tu) and it crucially involving more politeness. This type of constraints will be used, where the non-family members uses their interpersonal relationship (tu) to bring harmony among the group which is involving an effort of the addressee or it can be rejected legally. The construction of the words in passing of the book is a challenging task and there is the confusion between the structure and situation. In the communication between people, culture plays an important role and it influences the speaker to choose words in a particular language. This simple example proves, as in a social interaction in English, How are you is the most frequently used greeting words.

The first question which comes in my mind is what is Globalisation?

Globalization refers to the growing interconnectedness of different parts of the world, a process which gives rise to complex forms of interaction and interdependency. (Thompson 1995)

Globalisation as a concept refers to both to the compression of the world and the intensification of consciousness of the world as a whole. (Robertson 1992)

Globalisation refers to all those processes by which the peoples of the world are incorporated into a single world society, global society. (Albrow 1990)

The second question comes in my mind is what is Intercultural Communication?

Communication between two people from different cultures is said to be intercultural communication. It comes in to existence when a person from one culture tries to communicate with the person from another culture, a communication is understood. The potential for misunderstanding and disagreement is great whenever there is a cultural difference in these kinds of contacts. It is to be said that there is a relationship between culture and language. In other words, language is a guide to culture. Other scholars argue that language merely reflects, rather than shapes, our thinking, beliefs, and attitudes. Despite these differences in approaches, all scholars still agree that a close relationship exists between language and culture.

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Language plays very important role in both globalisation and intercultural communication. Whenever an organisation wants to start a new business it is important for them to know the local language of the host country. If an organisation does not have any idea about the local language, it will be very difficult for them to conduct business in that country and also it will be difficult for them to sell their product in the local market. Now days every organisation around the world is trying to recruit some local employees so that it will be easy for them to communicate with the local customers. It is also necessary for an organisation to the business etiquette of the host country. When I talk about etiquette it means dress, clothing, body language, gestures, dining, gift-giving, meetings, customs, protocol, negotiations, and general behaviour.

Another important factor which affects globalisation is culture. It plays an important role for any organisation. If an organisation fails to understand the culture of the host country they could face the following cultural effects,

Consumer behaviour

Local demand

Buying decisions

Brand image.

Knowledge of Native culture is useful when dealing with home markets but it has little value when dealing in foreign markets. Culture acts as a hidden entry barrier, but it can be overcome with cultural sensitivity, hard work & quality. Culture influences managerial styles and management decisions. It also affects the nature of business negotiations.

The example for the effect of culture on an organisation is as follows:

McDonald’s in India. When McDonald’s entered the Indian market, it introduced itself as the American style fast food outlet. They priced their product according to the Indian customer’s attitude, thinking etc. They were one of the first international fast food outlets which were successful in India. The only mistake McDonald’s made was they did not read the Indian culture properly. In India beef or cow is to be considered as God in many religions. And McDonald’s use beef oil to cook their food. When the Indian consumer came to know about this fact, they started avoiding eating food at McDonald’s. Because of this mistake, the brand image of the McDonald’s was affected.

The education system in India is totally different from Australian education system. In India, teaching style is very different when you compare it to the Australian style. In India, Prof. is the one who speaks in the class for the majority of time and it’s more of theoretical knowledge then practical knowledge. But when you see the Australian style of teaching, the student are given chance to speak in the class and ask questions whenever they have a doubt. And in Australia, there is a mixture of both practical and theoretical knowledge. So for any Indian student coming to Australia, it’s difficult for them to adapt to the Australian education system very quickly.

It is also necessary to know the gesture or greeting in different country or different culture. For e.g. in India people normally greet by saying ‘Namaste’ which means ‘Hello’ in English. They would normally join their hands and say ‘Namaste’. But in Australia, people greet in different way i.e. they would normally hug and say ‘hello’ or shake hands and say ‘Hello’. But in India people try to avoid the body contact with the other people when they are greeting them.


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