The world is today perceived as a global village that is inhabited by people from different walks of lives with unique cultural backgrounds at both the societal and individual levels. Nevertheless, the need for integration of the distinct cultures proves to be an integral part of development across all the various sectors of development all over the world. It goes without saying that communication forms the foundation upon which people foster lasting social, political, and economic relations. Communication not only bridges the geographical gap between nations around the globe but also integrates equally a wide range of cultures. Cross cultural communication is thus created, and it incorporates various aspects whose knowledge and understanding is mandatory for the process to be successful. The significant factors of a particular culture that defines people’s communication with each other include among other things, its values, ways of perceiving things, and structural organization. Similarly, arising from these factors or aspects of communication based on diverse cultures are the challenges commonly faced in cross cultural communication.
Evidently, societies around the world communicate in different languages that others consider foreign or unbeknown to them. Thus, one of the challenges in cross cultural communication is the different languages spoken by parties involved in the process. It’s hard for a person from East Africa speaking in Swahili to communicate with a Chinese who is so eloquent in Mandarin. The lack of a common language between the two is in itself a challenge that has witnessed the use of translators in global events such as summits held by the United Nations. However, problems also arise across individuals speaking the same language but sharing different cultures. The values upheld by different cultures around the world weigh in when it comes to interpreting various words and phrases in the English language. The Japanese, for example, find it hard to give a definitive “no” to inquiries made during an exchange where there is an impossibility of acquiring or delivering that which is asked of them. Americans, on the other hand, express no subtlety in declining that possibility and instead prefer to tell it like it is without giving any alternative options. A misunderstanding is likely to occur between the two with the latter getting irritated with the choices given while the former expecting an American to understand the unavailability of the preferred option or solution.
Structural organization within a particular culture poses a significant challenge in cross cultural communication. The aspect of hierarchy in communication process may negatively impact aspects such as handling of duties and the process of decision making in culturally diverse forum. Most cultures in the Eastern world attach a strong emphasis on fostering good relations among individuals before joining hands in solving a problem. It is however not the case with most European cultures which believe in creating a balance between coming up with solutions to a problem and mending relations while continuing with the process. People from the two cultures would find it difficult to form a common ground upon which to settle the underlying problem or tasks before them. Additionally, some cultures advocate for individual responsibility in making critical decisions affecting the organization while others depend on the highly ranked individuals for the important function. In the event of a situation involving both cultures that demand quick decision making, the role is likely to waste a lot of time.
Apparently, cross cultural communication takes into account various important aspects of all the values within and upheld by all the people involved in the process. Failure to incorporate these values denies an individual the sense of belonging that is vital to any communication process for it to achieve the intended purpose. Though challenging, Cross cultural communication demands relative understanding of the different practices associated with cultures involved.