Appreciation of Gender and Ethical Issues in Cross Cultural Communication
According to Bird and Mendenhal, any intercultural study focuses on how individuals that have different cultures can either successfully or unsuccessfully bridge the cultural differences related to management and leadership practices (120). It has, therefore, made it essential to organizations to understand cross-cultural communication for better management of the human resources. By drawing a conclusion from Bird and Mendenhal’s article, this piece of literature seeks to discuss gender and ethical issues in cross-cultural communication. It is paramount in the current business world that every single organization practices the art of cross-cultural communication. With globalization, interactions of people in the organization with those from a different cultural setting are unavoidable (Bird and Mendenhal 120). These reasons make it paramount for an organization to strive and understand and practice cross-cultural communication.
However, it is not an easy task because the cultures not only vary with the region or location of a particular group of people but are also variant on other factors (Aycan and Rabindra 400). One of the elements includes religion. Although people may be from a similar region, they are bound to practice different faiths. It means that although an individual culture may be practiced in a given religion when expressed to a person from that place, it may be offensive or misinterpreted depending on the religious beliefs of another party (Stahl et al. Non-verbal cues of communication are also of paramount importance to understand in cross-cultural communication. While some of the non-verbal cues are acceptable in some cultures, they are considered rude in others (Pufler and McCarthy 27).
In some cases, they could be interpreted differently in some cultures. An example is the pointing of a finger, in the United States of America, which can be used for illustrating, but in Japan, it is considered highly offensive, and instead, a palm is considered more effective for illustrations. Notably, specific factors are considered highly sensitive in various cultures. Although some may appreciate their presence in some, they are not allowed to air their views in the presence of men. By contrast, in low context cultures, gender equality is considered essential and a sensitive matter. In connection with the above, it is therefore of importance that one understands the perception of a particular group of people before initiating cross-cultural communication to avoid offending them.
Gender is also a sensitive issue regarding how a person addresses other individuals from different cultures (Stahl et al. Some cultures have specific ways in which women are supposed to treat men. In other cultures especially the low context cultures it is regarded as a sign of women empowerment which is treated with great warmth, appreciation, and respect. In the low context cultures, however, they believe and champion the equality of both men and women (Aycan and Rabindra 395). Women in these cultures have the same platform as their male counterparts. In such a culture, it would be considered rude and disrespectful to exempt women from activities that a man is involved. However, it is important to note that the cultural practices are not only based on the low context and high context but also nations and religions.
Low context culture tends to have less strict ethics codes as opposed to the high context cultures due to differences in national cultural settings or even the disparities at the community level. High context countries do not believe in the individual but rather a collective responsibility (Puffer and McCarthy 285). However, it is not the case with most of the low context cultures. They tend to have a higher focus on individual achievement. Therefore, their code of ethics is more directed towards personal progress. People from a high context culture tend to live a more communal life (Adler 227). This is however not the case with the low context community, which is guided by individualism. People from the high context culture tend to count on the communal responsibility to guide them.
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