Today, the world is getting smaller with the time as technology made people so close. Early, communication between two different cultural people was too tough due to less technological dependency. Communication between two or more people from different linguistic and cultural origins is called as intercultural communication. Due to different culture, people face problems at workplace such as language, tradition, working condition, organizational framework etc. (Sundem, 2014). This paper covers biographies of two persons that belong to different cultures. It also emphasis over how cultural difference affect workplace communication and what similarities and differences the two people have. The intercultural communication is elaborated through different theories presented by famous researchers.
Cultural Autobiography of Two Persons
Autobiography is all about a person’s personal information in a story format where a person shares memories to others. The culture is defined as a set of interpretations that a person learns from surrounding, which affect other people’s behavior largely. A person’s beliefs, values and norms are the aspect through which one’s culture can be identified. Workplace is the place where different people come together to attain organizational goals and in this process they get contacted to each other (Cooper, He and B. Levin, 2011). At the time of communication at workplace some people face difficulties to get adjust due to belonging from different culture. In other words, different cultured people suffer with dissimilar interpretations by others that create conflict in behavior is called intercultural communication.
Difference between Two Cultures
India and US are two different countries where beliefs, norms and values concern. I am born and brought up in India initially. I have studied in India and completed my high school education after that I have moved to America and completed graduation and masters there. Right now, I am working in an American corporation where I met many Indian colleagues but I teamed with an American boy to attain certain task. As, my culture is different from him I have faced a lot difficulties to develop a healthy relationship. With the help of Hofstede cultural theory the difference between both us can be determined effectively.
Hofstede is presented a cultural theory called, Layers of Onion that described culture as a series of layers. The core layer stands for values which is less movable and that does not want to change and not needed at workplace relationship building process. The first layer around the core is rituals that play important role at workplace behavior (Anca and Vega, 2016). American people are more practical and can their rituals accordingly but Indians are very strict and conscious about their rituals. With the use of layered culture theory, I made him comfortable and share his beliefs and choices to me alike the second core layer reflects. His representation of hero is far different from mine he prefers a supermodel as a hero and I admire well stabilized business personalities. Difference between symbols also important as India and America has different flags, live with different architecture and prefer to wear different traditional clothing. These three layers rituals, heroes and symbols have helped me to develop healthy relationship with several practices between oboth of us as Hofstede represented (Nakata, 2009).
Hofstede has presented another theory to understand intercultural communication in a better way. Through the six dimensions, it can be easily recognized that how different the Indian culture is from American. Below is the table that shows difference between two cultures on the basis of Hofsede cultural dominations:
|High power distance
|Low power distance
|Low uncertainty avoidance
|High uncertainty avoidance
|Long term orientation
|Short term orientation
Above table shows that both American and Indian cultures are far different with each other. I am belongs to the country that believes in top-down structure in society and organization whereas American culture believes that every individual is different but should be treated equally. In India people stick to the rules and tolerance of unexpected is high as compare to American people. As an Indian, I have seen families live together, eat together so it believes more on collectivism (Garzone, 2014). On the other side, my colleague belongs to United States, where individualism is more liked and the family structure is nuclear there. American culture is oriented over short term goals and success which is opposite to Indian culture. Also, India is male sophistic society whereas US is more supportive for women to take control over business and home. Indian society is retrained with many norms while Americans believe to work hard and play hard with no norms (Mauricio, 2015).
The differences between both the cultures create many problems in communication process as I belong to society with rituals and norms and he is more practical and free at workplace. Apart from all the differences the two theories of Hofstede has helped me to develop good understanding regarding behavior of my team met Hofstede, G. and Hofstede, G.J. (2004).
Similarities between Two Cultures
India and America are quite different countries but there are some similarities that attract people of these countries towards each other. As, I have appointed before my team met I had responsibility to develop understanding regarding project and the company to him. In this scenario, it is quite good that we both have some similarities where our nation’s culture belongs. The political culture of both the countries is democratic which makes both of us competitive and focused. We both have shared good experiences with other how free we feel where their rights and lives concern (Garzone, 2014). As the family culture is quite similar between us the communication goes better. I and he both recently separated from family and used to live with them when we were studying.
Indian culture is adopting western culture drastically as families started living in nuclear form and woman is praised at home and encouraged to go for work. These similarities develop comfortable environment between both of us for healthy and fruitful communication. We also shared each other’s life experience and this does not get affected by any language barriers as we both can speak and understand English very well. The culture of giving respect of the elders is also seems same in US as younger shows respect to their elders and are always ready to help them (Wetering, 2016). Along with this, the prosperity is quite high in America but India is also growing vastly and soon it will reach near America.
Both the countries love to take risk where wealth and business involves. India is working hard to get into the list of wealthiest countries. As India has talented people they are inventing new business ideas each year and made economic growth high. Also, the American people are more attracted to rituals and traditions that Indian follows (Schaffer, 2009). This attractiveness shows that not only India is get attracted to westernization but America is also on the same boat. Apart from all these, American working culture is somewhere similar to Indian as both follows hierarchal framework at the time of job distribution.
Nowadays, individualism is more powerful aspect that not only attracts American society and parents but also influence Indian society. Due to this, Indian parents encourage their kids towards individualism more as compare to collectivism. The competitive education system is the factor that makes American culture similar to Indian. Time orientation is also a common factor between both of us as we both have brought up with one thought that the time is money, it should be utilized maximum. Family and society norms are the factors that affected me largely in my growing period and it keeps an important place in my life (Okoth and Godfrey, 2015). Similarly, my team mate has shared that he has brought up within a loving family that teach him values of life these things make me realize that we shares several similarities besides different cultural societies.
The similarities of both the culture are identified through their lifestyle and family background. Due to similar family background I can relate to time easily but at the same time we both argue over many topics regarding work culture of countries. Such argument also helped both of us in developing healthy communication environment at workplace.
From the above discussion, it can be concluded that intercultural communication is quite different where two so much different cultures get involved but not impossible if some deep understanding take place. I and my colleague belong to very different societies and cultures but with the help of different cultural theories I have developed understanding between both of us. We have communicated regarding our personal life, where we are from and what culture we are following in our personal life. The use of Hofstede’s cultural theories has helped me to understand different dimensions of cultures through which a better communication can take place. The influence of one on one interview of each other is the most important part of this, as it eliminates all doubt of false information between both of us.
- Anca, C. and Vega, A.V. (2016) Managing Diversity in the Global Organization: Creating New Business Values. UK: Springer.
- Cooper, J.E., He, Y. and B. Levin, B.B. (2011) Developing Critical Cultural Competence: A Guide for 21st-Century Educators. Corwin Press.
- Garzone, G. (2014) Genres and Genre Theory in Transition: Specialized Discourses Across Media and Modes. USA: Universal-Publishers.
- Hofstede, G. and Hofstede, G.J. (2004) Cultures and Organizations: Software for the Mind. USA: McGraw Hill Professional.
- Mauricio, G. (2015) Business Development Opportunities and Market Entry Challenges in Latin America. USA: IGI Global.
- Nakata, C. (2009) Beyond Hofstede: Culture Frameworks for Global Marketing and Management. UK: Springer.
- Okoth and Godfrey, P. (2015) USA, India, Africa During and After the Cold War. University of Nairobi Press.