To: Laura Comfort Cousineau, Communications professor
From: Mariana Vega Morgan, Daphney Joseph, Dominic Gordon
Date: September 30, 2019
Subject: Report on Intercultural Communication
As requested, we are pleased to provide this report on intercultural communication.
Should you need clarification or additional information, please contact us at [email protected]
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to write this report.
1. What cultural differences may be interfering with effective communication in this situation? Explain in paragraph form, and make reference to and cite the theoretical concepts/key terms presented during our class on intercultural communication.
Canada ranks low on power distance, while China ranks high on power distance. This is one of the most important cultural differences. This means that you will find more equality in power distribution in Canada that in China. This can be easily noticed as in the Chinese culture ranks are very important and they have high respect for people in high ranks, and inequality among their members is expected.
If members of both organizations are not aware of this, this might interfere with effective communication, as Chinese might not value the opinion of someone who doesnt have a high status. According to a consultancy agency in Canada: a great importance is given to respecting everyones opinions. Regardless of rank and status, people expect the right to be heard and listened to. (Todays Translations, 2019).
Another thing that might interfere with effective communication is the level of individualism. Canada has high individualism, while China has a low level of individualism, or a high level of collectivism. What this means is that people in Canada dont have as strong ties as people in the Chinese culture, where collective accomplishments are often sought after. (Peng, 2018).
Canada has a really direct way of doing business and communicating, while China does not. This is mainly because Canada has a lower-context culture than China, which is a very high-context culture. In high-context cultures such as Asian countries, communication relies heavily on unspoken conditions or assumptions. No does not necessarily mean no, and you must rely much more on the context in order to understand just what no means (Peng, 2018). This could have affected the negotiations; as we could see, the Chinese businessmen were very flexible with their agendas and took their time to get to know their Canadian counterparts; it was important for them to get to know the people they were going to do business with. Which is why when the Canadian businessmen who were more rigid with their time and had a not so flexible agenda, asked them when they were going to do the negotiations, they got offended. If both parties had been aware of the cultural differences and the different context, this could have been avoided.
When referring to masculinity vs femininity, both countries are very similar. According to Hofstede Insights (2019), Canada is average with 52% of masculinity. China shows a little more masculinity with a 66% of masculinity. What this means is that in China they are a little bit tougher, more competitive, and assertive when doing business.
Both countries are low on uncertainty avoidance; however, Canada is a little higher with 48% uncertainty avoidance, compared to 30% uncertainty avoidance of China. What this means is that China is a little less resistant to change, while in Canada they need more stability and predictability.
Another thing that may be interfering with effective communication and negotiations is their long-term or short-term orientation. China is long term oriented, Canada is not. What this means is that with a score of 87, business people in China prefer to focus on the future; they plan ahead and they base their decisions on preparing for the future and reaching their goals even if that means sacrificing a few things in the present.
Other things that may be interfering with having an effective communication are: greetings, eye contact, personal space, and gestures. For example, as we saw during class, in Canada its good manners and its important to look people in the eye; however, in countries like China is quite the opposite, as avoiding direct eye contact is seen as a sign of respect. This could easily be misinterpreted by both parties and affect the communication in a negative way if they are not aware of the differences in non-verbal communication.
2. What could these parties have done to ensure more effective communication? Explain in paragraph form.
First, both parties could have done more research in the way business is done in both countries, and the differences. Maybe they could even have appointed a person in charge of foreseeing that the cultural differences were understood. This could have allowed them to realize that in China it is better to take your time and get familiarized with the people involved in the negotiations, as Chinese prefer to do business with people they are more familiar with. This way people from Canada wouldnt have been in such a rush to end the negotiations, and vice versa. The businessmen from China wouldnt have felt offended when Canadians asked when negotiations would start.
Both parties should be flexible and adapt to the different cultures. Flexibility and not taking things personally is also important when doing international business.
Also, asking for constant feedback is important. You want to make sure both parties are understanding correctly the message they are trying to convey, and ask for clarification when necessary.
When finishing the negotiation, it would have been important to state more clearly the importance of the signed intent and the next steps to follow, to ensure that what both parties understood what was agreed on.
*All idioms and their substitutes are bolded*
Idiomatic Phrase Substitute
John had been working on his Communications project for a while, so he called it a day. John had been working on his Communications project for a while, so he decided to continue working on it tomorrow.
John wasnt completely satisfied with my work, so he decided to go back to the drawing board. John wasnt completely satisfied with my work, so he decided to restart from the beginning.
John missed the bus this morning, and to add insult to injury, he also forgot his phone at home. John missed the bus this morning, and to make things worse, he also forgot his phone at home.
John was upset at his brother so he gave him the cold shoulder. John was upset at his brother so he ignored him.
John is an exceptional golfer, he really is a chip off the old block. John is an exceptional golfer, just like his father.
John wasnt able to make his date with Sharon, he asked if he could take a raincheck. John wasnt able to make his date with Sharon, he asked if he could reschedule.
John had the day off, and the weather was beautiful outside, it really was the best of both worlds. John had the day off, and the weather was beautiful outside, it really was the perfect situation.
John called in sick yesterday because he was under the weather. John called in sick yesterday because he was sick.
Merriam-Webster defines an idiom as an expression in the usage of a language that is peculiar to itself either in having a meaning that cannot be derived from the conjoined meanings of its elements (Merriam Webster, n.d.). Although we may not think that we use these phrases commonly or at all, they truly are a part of our everyday vocabulary. That being said, it is critical that we keep this in mind while communicating with those who come from different necks of the woods. Just like that last idiom that I used, often-time the sentences can be confusing to understand, especially for those who come from different parts of the world who may take the words literally. You even perhaps run the risk of using words that are found offensive in different cultures, which could be an awkward place to be in. Overall, in any of these intercultural communication situations that you may run in, keeping phrases simple and very literal will help create a sense of comfort, and will relieve tension in most situations.
Write a 500-word summary of what you feel a representative from another country would need to know about Canadian business etiquette prior to conducting business in Canada.
Canada like any other country has its own background, customs and norms. Being a multicultural nation finding your ways around in Canadian society is not that complicated. Now, when it comes down to conducting business in Canada other countries representatives need to be aware of certain rules of thumb.
Marketing and merchandising rules and regulations have been defined in great details in Canada. And there are elaborate charts and tables and stats to display to incoming delegations on how a business needs to be doing in order to provide mutual benefits to collateral parties.
Moreover, apart from the hard data one should educate him/herself on behavioral and business etiquette or soft data in order to thrive.
Lets start with greeting which might seem obvious and trivial. For greeting we shake hands in Canada and introduce ourselves sometimes accompanied with our position in the organization. We keep eye contact fairly throughout the conversation since it is important. Negotiating a deal should be carried out by representatives who are absolutely knowledgeable about the demand and supply, deal packages, prices, production cycle, shipping schedules and the national and international markets ins and outs. Closing a deal requires thorough mastery of the negotiation techniques as well as improvisation. The closing of a deal often needs to be verified by the CEO or Board of Directors before finalization.
As studies have shown a great 70% of communication is nonverbal. Therefore, the tone of voice, body language, gestures, a firm or loose handshake, the attention rendered and so many more factors play important role in a conversation. A delegation may well get the message whether it is welcomed into the negotiation or it is just a matter of running formalities. And this comes from nonverbal sources. If the attire worn in a meeting is formal and immaculate and the setting is highly kept, we would now know this business deal is considered significant by the Canadian counterpart.
In Canada, we usually take business negotiations particularly the international ones very seriously. Therefore, upon the arrival of business representatives, we schedule an orientation team to take time and familiarize the guest team with the Canadian methods. We take the team for a tour around the building, factory, hotel etc. and we educate them on work hours, weekends and meetings timing and all the rest. Behaviors and manners are reserved and presented at a professional level at all times. The representatives will find that Canadians count on economic and marketing relation and progress very highly. They will be respected and expect to be mutually respectful throughout the business trip and will finally be granted with some gifts to remember Canada upon return to their home country.
Once the trip is over, the Canadian parties will be contacting the other team with follow up correspondence and make sure that the deal and conditions are clear. They will emphasize that Canada is open to and welcoming for future opportunities and does its best to facilitate the import-export procedure.
Select one of the pictures below (or provide and cite one of your own) that best represents how you worked as a team. Then, in paragraph form, explain why you selected that picture. In your explanation, make sure you make reference to the course content presented during our class on teamwork skills.
For this part of the assignment, we decided it would be cool if each member was able to submit their own paragraph and use the picture of their choice to describe our experience during the group project.
I, Dominic Gordon, have chosen Picture 3. Now, upon examining Picture 3, it may be perceived as not the most ideal of work style, especially in a group project environment. However, I would say the contrary. Group projects that involve mostly writing are oftentimes difficult to fully work together as a collective unit. Each person has their own unique voice and writing style, and it is important to let each person to express their voice. When it came to this assignment, it was quite easy to do so, as we were able to assign a part to each person, allowing them to have free reign over how they wanted to approach their part, while including a peer-editing/pre-evaluation of the work prior to submitting it, so that each member could provide feedback and ways to improve. One thing that needs to be focused on while using this work-style is of course effective communication throughout. Although we had our own individual parts, at the end of the day it is still a group project, and it is critical that we all remained in touch with each other to ensure that we were all still on track, or if anybody was stuck on something, that we were all available to provide help. Attending class as well as using our collective google document to speak with each other, were major points that we found successful as a group. At the end of the day, when it comes to any group project, the most important thing to start with is a positive attitude alongside the willingness to adapt to situations and deal with any conflict. Luckily enough for us, we all came in with the same mindset, and there wasnt any point of time in which conflict had arisen. If this could be the template for all of my group projects going forward, I would be all for it!!
I, Mariana Vega, chose the image above, picture number 2, because it represents how we worked as a team. We all agreed on what we were going to do from the beginning, then we put our parts together and made sure that they made sense. So in the image, we can see all the team members working together and putting their corresponding parts. We divided the workload equally from the beginning, to avoid conflicts, which is also represented by the image above. The first thing that helped us work better as a team, was the contract, that helped us have the expectations clear from the beginning. Working in teams helped us have a reduced workload. We all had functional roles like Team-Maintenance Roles, or Task-Facilitating Roles, and at all moments we all tried to help each other. We never really had any conflict; when we had doubts we talked to each other in a respectful way and that helped us avoid conflicts. This was one of the best team projects Ive had.
I, Daphney Joseph, chose picture 1. This picture represents the teamwork we had. It was a collaborative work were everyone put their effort to have a good project. We all stated what our strengths were from the beginning, wrote a contract to help us state our expectations and worked from there. In the end, I think that is what teamwork is about, each person working according to their strengths to complete a project. There was no conflict at any moment, which made the work flow more easily.
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