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Cross-Cultural Communication Competency In The Geocentric Negotiation

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Spitzberg and Cupach (1984) define communication competency as the ability to achieve your goals while you fulfill relational and situational expectations (as cited in Cupach & Canary, 1997). Spitzberg and Cupach contend that communication competency is primarily comprised of two dimensions, appropriateness (meeting social expectations and social rules) and effectiveness (achieving one’s goals). Understanding the individual’s role in cross-cultural communication has gained the attention of several researchers (Gudykunst, 1998; Ting-Toomey, 1988).Gudykunst as well as others (Klopf, 2001; Ting-Toomey, 1988) have given us a framework for examining the role that general cultural dimensions play in the communication process. Gudykunst, in his 1998 book titled Bridging Differences: Effective Intergroup Communication, concludes that “culture influences our communication and our communication influences our cultures” (p. 44). Therefore, an individual’s cross-cultural communication is important in providing communication guidelines for how specific cultures and nations talk. Neither cultural level of competency nor the individual level of competency is adequate to reflect the new multicultural phenomena occurring in our global market. Therefore, a richer understanding of global negotiation will result from an integrative approach (individual factors and cultural factors). Thus, viewing cross-cultural communication in global negotiations offers important perspectives for the new global market.

Negotiator communication competency is essential for understanding the role that communication plays in global negotiations. The benefits of moving from a cultural generality model to a geocentric model that includes the individual negotiators’ cross-cultural communication is greatly beneficial for several reasons. This essay will concentrate on the role of cross cultural communication competency in geocentric negotiation.

Case study

The case study is based on the author imagination working as a communication officer in governance unit at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Indonesia. The structure of the organization is real provided by web-research and for some extent, author experience dealing with cross-cultural issues in home country- Saudi Arabia. UNDP is the UN's global development network, an organization advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. UNDP existed in 166 countries, working with them on their own solutions to global and national development challenges.

In Indonesia, according to their website , UNDP has 5 main pillars to support the initiatives and provided the basis for Indonesia’s new country cooperation framework. Those 5 pillars are: governance reforms, Pro-poor policy reforms, conflict prevention and recovery, environmental management and the last one is program management and learning unit.

Governance reforms ( in short governance unit) , the place I imagined to work, is the unit to promote good governance in all its aspects, to include ensuring the rule of law, to improve the efficiency and accountability of the public sector, and to eliminate corrupt practices is an essential element to the achievement of sustainable development. UNDP's Governance Program endeavors to support Indonesia in improving the management of its public resources and enhancing public sector accountability and transparency and developing greater public awareness about the need for and requirements of good governance. In short, the governance cluster consisted of 6 units of deepening democracy, access to justice, electoral support, parliamentary support, Indonesian democracy index, partnership for e-prosperity for the poor.

The communication officers and manager were reporting straight to the head of governance in collaboration with other UNDP Communications team. Our tasks were specifically to handle deepening democracy, access to justice and electoral support programs. There were two communication officers including me. The other one is national communication officer filled up by Indonesian national. Although we were almost doing similar job description, the main distinctive tasks carried by national communication officer was that he needs to liaise with national/Indonesian medias (print/audio-visual media) about UNDP’ governance unit mission. Both of us were reporting to Communications Manager headed by young Swedish woman in the early 30’s attached politically to the UNDP Indonesia as part of Sweden-UNDP leadership program funded by the Swedish government. The governance unit was headed by Indonesian citizen.

As an international communication officer, I was -among other things- responsible for as listed below: developed and implemented communications and advocacy strategy and action plan, expanded and implemented a public information strategy to articulate UNDP’s role in helping Indonesia to achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDGs) through print as well as audio/visual media, and developed and maintained a network of media contacts, as well as contacts in the government and civil society to foster better public understanding of UNDP. The work implies to include governments, bilateral, multilateral donor agencies, policy makers, partners organizations, academic institutions.

The most interesting part I would like to point out, our projects rates we were handling considered low/below the pass point considered by the UNDP panel. The head of governance unit was always pointing on these. She pointed out among all the three projects that we handled, all of them considered nearly failed (the projects did not deliver the agreed outputs (as promised in the TOR), our government counterpart was not happy вЂ" this was brought up to the donors coordination meeting which was bringing significant impact on budgets streamline and further sustainability of the project life cycle).

To assessing the failure, I employed 5 factors in order to analyse the cross-cultural communication competency in geocentric negotiation. The key components for developing cross-cultural communication in geocentric negotiations are appropriateness, effectiveness, adaptation component, mindfulness or being presence, and knowledge. These components are compiled from many authors and discussed in the next section.

1. Appropriateness

Appropriateness is the ability to communicate with someone in a socially sensitive manner so as not to offend or break any rules that would result in insult, face threat, or rudeness. Communication



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