Business Communication Notes

Business Communication and Global Context


Basic to any country are certain national variables – those mega principles that indirectly affect its populations. Thus we learn something about a country's culture by knowing education levels of the population level, the legal and regulatory restraints affecting business, the economic philosophies or national and foreign trade practices, the political attitudes, the religion as practiced by the state or individual, the social norms of the states, and the language. Each of the above affects international communications.

Within each country or individual people – all with their own personal behavior involving how they handle time, what a comfortable distance for interpersonal communication is, what food are wholly acceptable, what is considered appropriate dress, what the unwritten personal manners within a home or office are, what procedures and speed are followed in arriving at personal and business decisions. Finally, cultures have both verbal and nonverbal communication characteristics; what is acceptable in one culture may be entirely unacceptable in another.

This lecture will introduce you to three fundamental topics as a basis for communication effectively with people form other countries.

Background to intercultural communication
National cultural variables
Individual cultural variables

Background to intercultural communication

By background, we mean those aspects that can either impede or aid effective communicant: Language, culture, status, education and age. Thus each person each country has its own written and unwritten rules of behavior, including instruction in communication. Surely, it is more comfortable to work with persons of your own culture, your own language, your own communication norms. But international communication demands work with many foreign countries and people. Let us begin by looking at culture.

A. A Concept of Culture
Culture is the behavioral characteristics of a group. Culture generalizations applicable to an entire nation are not possible. Knowing core characteristics of a country are basic to better international communication.
Another term you should know is ethnocentrism that is judging other groups or countries by the cultural standard of your group .

Try to guess in which country the following communication and cultural habits exist.