The cultural background defines the nature of communication behavior. When people with different cultures interact, they tend to alter their natural inclinations to strike a mutual baseline. The Communication Accommodation Theory (CAT) is the work of Howard Giles who explained how individuals with diverse behaviors would always change the nature of their speech, tonal patterns, or gestures to enhance the understanding of one another (Williams, 1999). This excerpt reflects on cross-cultural communication based on the CAT by looking at effectiveness and strategies associated with intercultural communication perspective.
The changes witnessed across the social divide, learning institutions, and business environment involve cultural interactions that need a strategic approach to effective communication. Such a transformation has also been encouraged by technology development (Parcha, 2014). It is essential to note that, the cross-cultural communication is a new norm associated with the development of mechanisms that solve the shortcomings because of incomprehension among parties. Nevertheless, there are several factors to be considered for efficient sharing of information in the midst of diverse cultural phenomenon. The level of cultural understanding regarding diversity plays a crucial role in the achievement of the intended objectives. The multidimensional origin for communicating parties increases the challenges faced, which can be eliminated through the knowledge of the opposite party (Shim, Kim, & Martin, 2008). Religious and language affiliations should be understood to enhance the interaction. It is also important to identify unique needs and incorporation of standard values such as courtesy, patience, and respect during conversations and discussions. Each message should be geared towards achieving a mutual acceptance and understanding. The intergroup distinctiveness as noted in the CAT acknowledges the need for the comprehension of the social psychology dimension in reinforcing the identity contribution towards the mutual goal.
Moreover, keeping the communication simple in a multicultural setup is efficient and in the case of the corporate environment, one needs to consider the similarity-attraction as well as a social exchange for organizational development. Whenever a conversation or discussion is kept simple, then the magnitude of the dissimilarities is reduced. The capacity to perceive and understand the other individual becomes comfortable. The way one evaluates a conversation depends on how simple it was. It is worth to know that the baseline for the accommodation process in a diverse culture is the guide offered by the respective norms. Therefore, it is essential to segregate the effect of experiences and situational compliments from the objective of the conversation. The type of language used or the behavior of individuals can also affect the level of intercultural communication based on the social status or group affiliations.
Furthermore, active listening as a cross-cultural communication strategy is essential in assisting the parties to achieve the aim of the conversation. Having the knowledge of the cultural diversity is not enough neither can it solely stand as a measure of effectiveness; therefore, the listening process complements the understanding of the culture. Taking note of the misunderstandings and seeking clarifications builds the capacity of the approaches involved (Thompson, 2011). The use of intermediaries can boost the communication across the cultural divide by assimilating the conversation and sharing the meanings. By absorbing the meaning and manner, they can enhance the understanding process without the loss of generality. Language barriers have been solved through external help from those with multicultural knowledge. The means of communication plays an important function, but the role of communication is vital since the objective will define the other measures.
Nevertheless, there are chances of the exaggeration of the cross-cultural accommodation in communication. The process of trying to build the convergence of notions and conversations in communication is associated with over accommodation to some degree. The perception of individuals can affect the operation of assimilating the intended meanings. Sensory factors may create situations where a person may exaggerate their behavior while trying to understand the cultural perspective of the other party. Sometimes, the cultural diversity may lead to the manipulation of groups based on stereotypical grounds (Pitts & Harwood, 2015). Moreover, the process may also result in the consideration of one member of the conversation as insignificant in the conversation, which gives the speaker a higher status than the listeners. However, such limitations can be eliminated through succinct pragmatic approaches such as the understanding of the relational perspectives as well as considering the legal platforms.
Effective communication is achieved when the message and the feedback achieve the intended purpose. Therefore, it is necessary to undertake essential measures to achieve this objective. In cross-cultural communication, the diversity of cultural background affects the process, and it is necessary for the parties to consider taking a mutual ground for the advantage of both participants. Each member should work towards being understood, which involves the changing of gestures, tone, and speech delivery methods. The activities are undertaken to ensure effective cross-cultural communication ascertains the communication accommodation theory that was designed by Howard Giles. Based on the circumstances, the divergence and convergence considerations all assist in achieving the purpose of communication. However, overaccommodation should be avoided at all cost since it destroys the effectiveness of the communication process.
Parcha, J. M. (2014). Accommodating Twitter: Communication accommodation theory and classroom interactions. Communication Teacher, 28(4), 229235.http://doi.org/10.1080/17404622.2014.939671
Pitts, M. J., & Harwood, J. (2015). Communication accommodation competence: The nature and nurture of accommodative resources across the lifespan. Language & Communication, 41, 8999. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.langcom.2014.10.002Shim, Y. T., Kim, M.-S., & Martin, J. N. (2008). Changing Korea: Understanding culture and communication. New York: Lang, Peter Publishing.
Thompson, N. (2011). Effective communication: A handbook for the helping professions, Second edition (2nd ed.). Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.
Williams, A. (1999). Communication accommodation theory and miscommunication: Issues of awareness and communication dilemmas. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 9(2), 151165.http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1473-4192.1999.tb00169.x
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