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Intercultural Communication In The Workplace

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Intercultural Communication in the Workplace

Mindy Brumley

University of Phoenix

SOC / 315



Intercultural Communication in the Workplace

Working for a company that strives on diversity, is not always fine and dandy. Sometimes there is such a communication gap that it might pay not to be so diverse. In the following instance I will explain what happened, how cultural norms impacted the communication issue, and strategies that can help. In short, we no longer have a choice about engaging with the world. In the years to come, the majority of Americans -- whatever their skill or profession -- will either (a) work for an international concern, (b) buy from one, (c) sell to one, or (d) compete with one (Nolan, 1).

I work with a wonderful group of individuals who come from every walk of life. However, one person, Chinazo, stands out more so than others because of how she talks. She is from Nairobi, Kenya where her family stills lives and where her father practices law. Besides being an online rep, she is union steward for communication workers of America (CWA). She is a wonderful person to sit and talk with, but she can be overbearing at times.

Issues that come around from time to time always deal with the attendance of employees in the call center. Of the five hundred and sixty four employees only three to four hundred are scheduled in a given day. With that on average fifty will call out sick, federal medical leave act (FMLA), or just say that are not coming in. When they call in and it is not for FMLA then the attendance team gives an occurrence and sends them a counseling notice to let them be aware this could hurt their employment in the long run. Employees can also receive occurrences by either arriving late for start of shift, lunch, or breaks, or leaving early. This is done so that employees are discouraged from being late or calling in.

The communication issue it that Chinazo tries to help, but she has such a hard accent sometimes if can be hard to understand her. After being asked a few times to repeat her self she gets upset and states that we just need to listen. The other issue is that being raise around the law she always throws it at you. No matter what you are doing she is going to start talking about the law and how we are breaking it by firing people for not showing up to work.

A better way to have dealt with Chinazo can be summed up by the "Gateways to Effective Intercultural Communication "Adapted from the Diversity in the Workplace Training Module, INROADS, courtesy of INROADS/San Francisco Bay Inc. and reprinted in Job Choices: Diversity Edition 2001.

Effective intercultural communication requires more than simply recognizing differences; it requires you to respect and know how to deal with those differences. Intercultural communication often is not easy (just take a look at the evening news! It's a showcase of miscommunication between countries and their cultures.), but there are "gateways" to effective intercultural communication.

These gateways are:

* Written, verbal, and nonverbal communication skills;

* Respect for differences;

* Tolerance for ambiguity;

* Flexibility;

* Suspension of assumptions and judgments;

* Willingness to see other person's point of view;

* Time and practice.

These gateways can help you strengthen your ability to understand and to be understood. In the end, however, it's up to you--the gateways are effective only if you're willing to go through them.

Not everyday do I deal with Chinazo, but everyday I deal with someone that is from another background. Below are some "Key Points to Intercultural Communication" are as follows that I found while doing research at work on

* When communications cause conflict, be aware that problems might have more to do with style or process than



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