Communication barriers between Nigerians and Chinese

Published: 2017-08-18 14:42:20
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Race and social class differences have greatly impacted the lives of many people and affected their relations and chances of transacting businesses. However, the most critical factor that is making it difficult for the world today to integrate and create room for expansion in business transactions is cross-cultural differences (Bouchner, 2013). Communication between people of different cultures has been challenged following the consumption of different people into their cultures for instance, the Nigerians and Chinese people. The theory of cross-cultural communication entails that people from different cultures should identify their differences and design a better way to overcome the differences to communicate with one another. Nigeria for instance, is one of the developing nations in Africa with numerous untapped opportunities that China is looking forward to tap. However, the two cultures are very different and require that the theory of cross-cultural communication be observed to enhance communication (Bouchner, 2013).

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Respect towards others, before the formation of the civil rights, the position of Africans was down to earth, despite the Africans respecting the whites and other cultures for their superiority they were never appreciated. One of the existing barriers that are affecting communication is the lack of the sense of respect between cultures. Nigerians have the deep sense of respecting strangers and people of old age. Parents are seen as the terrestrial gods that must be dignified and respected. People in society should listen to the elders for advice on how to handle daily. On the other hand, Chinese draw their respect depending on their perception of the face following the societal confidence hence the resulting moral of the character and social relations. Once the face also called lian is lost the confidence and integrity of the society will be lost despite one's age and good intentions the Chinese people perception cannot be changed and this aspect has a great impact on communication and business dealings (Choudrie, 2012).

During business relations, Nigerians continue to maintain their sense of respect with the hope that the other party will reciprocate whereas for Chinese once they feel that the face is lost their business relations break hence fail to meet the expectations of the Nigerians making communication impossible. There is no way one party of the bargain can remain persistent in acting well while the other one does not. Nigerians and Chinese people, even without further analysis of other factors differ in their language (Hurn, 2013). Chinese people alone are divided into other subgroups some of them tend not to speak clear English. If they decide to rule out language as their barrier, they have to be supported by other factors for instance, respect for one another. People might be coming from different cultures but once they show the will of maintaining equal respect some barriers can be avoided. However, up to date from the period of formation of civil rights Chinese people are still stuck in their culture of faces making communication between the two cultures very difficult (Hurn, 2013).

Time and perception are the other barriers affecting communication practices between the Nigerians and Chinese. Nigerians view their culture as polychromous whereby they can do different things at the same despite knowing that they should at a particular place at a given time (Choudrie, 2012). Nigerians have no sense of punctuality. They believe that they can always socialize over time and adjust it to suit the occasion they often refer to their time as African time, Nigerians control time and do not let time to control time. On the other hand, Chinese are great timekeepers, punctual, and ready for the required time. However, they have some connotations that are based on the relations they create with their business partners. They hardly break relations once they create them but once the relation is broken, chances of re-establishing it are close to zero (Choudrie, 2012).

They respect past time and carry their history with them all the time. Both Nigerians and Chinese behave the same way in business. Nigerians might decide to report late to the meeting taking the partnership casual without bearing in mind that their culture is not similar to that of Chinese. Following such differences, communication between the two groups will most certainly be impossible. However, what makes the subject complicated is the culture of Chinese keeping past time events live in the mind (Bouchner, 2013). Once they experience poor timekeeping from the Nigerians during the next time of the meeting or business transaction, they come with a negative attitude towards the Nigerians. Communication then becomes difficult following the created perception of the Chinese, during this time they maybe think that the Nigerians are lazy and maybe need pressure to work. They hence decide to apply some pressure on the Nigerians who in turn might feel offended resulting in communicating poor with the chines all because one culture failed to understand the other (Bouchner, 2013).

The final barrier is that of hospitality and trust. Nigerian cultures entail that visitors be received irrespective of them being strangers. They are treated like other citizens by giving them properties like land so that they can settle just like a friend should be treated with the hope that someday would leave and leave the owner with her land. Nigerians believe that visitors should maintain their position and be grateful and not hurt the host this is the same attitude Africans carry when dealing with business matters. On the other hand, Chinese have a prevailing suspicion of visitors they tend to be cold towards strangers they live with the policy of mistrusting the stranger and hence not engaging in talks with the stranger. The same behavior of the Chinese is carried to business dealings (Choudrie, 2012).

Business transactions between Nigerians and Chinese people are complex following their different perceptions on ideas and life issues. Nigerians are often willing to welcome the Chinese, who in turn act cold because they do not trust their host making communication between the two parties almost impossible. After handling the first group of Chinese investors in Nigeria, the Nigerians often create a perception towards these strangers who take their lands and abuse their trust. On the other hand, other Chinese learn about the Nigerians who can easily give out their land to strangers. In the next season of business, both cultures form perceptions following their initial experiences. The next time the Chinese people appear Nigerians tend not to feel free and welcome them because of what is in their minds and since they cannot welcome them talking to them or handling businesses becomes difficult hence another barrier that is brought up by the existing differences between cultures (Dunn, 2015).

Constructive strategies can be designed to overcome the existing barriers that are effective in facilitating communication between Nigerians and Chinese people. The possible method is the effective use of cross-cultural communication theory. The resulting differences in the two cultures values and perception contribute to the main reasons of misunderstandings between the two. The first step is to identify the difference then design the best approach to be used to handle the cause of the conflict. Information on the existing difference can be obtained through personal interviews to collect qualitative data (Bouchner, 2013).

Developing a strategy to improve maintained respect between the Chinese people and the Nigerians is important to facilitate cross-cultural communication and efficient flow of business. Negotiation is one of the efficient strategies that can be used and both cultures have different perceptions of respect. The Chinese base their respect on faces while the Nigerians respect individuals basing on their age and differences. Nigerians have no problem maintaining their respect once they decide to respect someone they do it to the end with the hope that the respect will earn them good than harm (Choudrie, 2012). For the Chinese, their respect towards someone can easily be lost once the face is lost. Following this factors negotiation is essential to ensure that the two cultures come into an agreement of how to respect one another, why to respect one another with the possible end benefits of respect provision. Nigerians might initially be willing to work with the Chinese people but once they realize that the Chinese people do not respect them, and they are not willing to respect them, the communication between the two will be at stake. However if the two cultures decide to negotiate boundaries of what it takes to earn respect, they will be in a position to work together and communicate to one another with respect and handle businesses without difficulties (Choudrie, 2012).

Changing a given group's culture if very difficult but designing, an effective strategy is essential in helping the cultures integrate and communicate well like one. The presence of a mediator is essential for this process to go through. Mediators work as social network connectors required to maintain long term social relations between cultures to help maintain the strategy on progress (Hurn, 2013). One of the reasons Nigerians and Chinese fail to communicate well is due to their different perception of time and perception. Chinese and Nigerians need to create a strong relationship to help them transact businesses efficiently. The mediator has to be authoritative in that he has to us his power neutrally to achieve the strategic settlement. The mediator must not rely on one cultures side for instance if the issue at hand is time and perception the mediator should deal with facts. It is obvious that transactions or meetings are done at a specific time. Therefore, it is essential for both parties to arrive at the venue during the designated time to avoid conflict hence poor communication. The mediator should ensure that both cultures adhere to the basic facts and not what their cultures tell them is true, doing this will encourage maintenance of good relations between both cultures resulting in no negative time perception by Chinese (Hurn, 2013).

The law can also be strategized to overcome barriers, and the Nigerians have the tendency of trusting strangers who come in get what they want and misuse the trust of their host. The law can come in and regulate these relations by ensuring that Chinese do not take advantage of the Nigerians hospitality to overcome this challenge (Bouchner, 2013). Laws can be created to regulate the land possession, to ensure that the Chinese people who come to Nigeria to transact business acquire their properties legally. However if the properties they use belong to the Nigerians, then they should be made to sign documents indicating that once they are done the properties will be given to the owner. One of the major reasons the two cultures have trouble communicating and creating relations is due to the mistrust Chinese people have and that they are trying to influence on Nigerians. Overtime Nigerians tend to feel that their goodwill is being abused and instead of treating the Chinese people with the love, they are used to show them, they should just decide to give them a taste of their medicine pay mistrust with mistrust. To avoid such barriers, it is important to ensure that an effective legislature is put to play (Dunn, 2015).

One clear fact is that there is a wide gap of differences between Nigerians and Chinese people. However, even with the gap existing business has to continue. The two cultures must come together and work. For a business to continue, the cultures have to communicate. Since communication is prone to facing numerous constraints, it is essential that both cultures try to understand one another (Dunn, 2015). Chinese people need to spend their time with some of the Nigerians exchange ideas allow Nigerians to tell them about their cultures and how they like to handle their activities. On the other hand, the Nigerians must also try to understand the Chinese people, what their culture entails what their nature is to help them work together. The civil rights act was officially established to improve understanding between two cultures. If Chinese understand the nature of Nigerians, they will understand that the Nigerians easily trust people hence they will not break their trust by maybe retaining some of their possessions including land. Avoiding some of these minor mistakes is the key to creating effective communication processes and hence creating a good platform for business dealings (Dunn, 2015).

Finally, it is essential to note that inter-cultural communication is one of the major challenges different cultures are facing in the world today. However, the main reason cultures are facing this challenges is because they do not understand each other. Chinese people have other more than 50 ethnic groups just to show how diversity has taken a great part in inter- cultural communication. In China, all the ethnic groups do not understand each other as they are supposed to. Following this argument, it is clear that the Chinese people have to understand that Nigerians are people from a completely different ethnic group the same has to apply to the Nigerians they have to understand that they have a wide gap in between. Understanding this simple face will help these different groups work together to understand each other and communicate effectively. However understanding their different cultures is the basis of using cross-cultural theory to help develop strategies for overcoming the barriers (Dunn, 2015).

References

Choudrie, J., Umeoji, E., & Forson, C. (2012). Diffusion of the e-Government in the Nigeria: A qualitative study of the culture and gender.

Bochner, S. (Ed.). (2013). Cultures in contact: The Studies in the cross-cultural interaction (Vol. 1). Elsevier.

Hurn, B. J., & Tomalin, B. (2013). Cross-cultural communication: Theory and practice. Palgrave Macmillan.

Dunn, S., Grannan, C., Raisinghani, M., & Stalling, H. (2015, January). Communication Strategies for Successful Virtual Teams. In the System Sciences (HICSS), 2015 48th Hawaii International Conference on (pp. 364-373). IEEE.



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