The goal of this book is to help busy professionals communicate across cultures by promoting cross-cultural understanding and fostering communication with foreign-born employees or employers. Brief, practical, and reader-friendly, it provides new insights on cultural requirements not taught in sales training manuals. Guide to Cross-Cultural Communication is a handy reference with information pertinent to negotiations, business writing, and speaking with those from diverse cultural backgrounds, with business-related examples throughout. Essential reading for those interested in understanding and improving intercultural communication both inside and outside their organizations; especially managers, executives, and other business professionals who must communicate in an increasingly multicultural workplace.
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This concise, practical book will help you communicate successfully in culturally diverse workplaces at home and abroad. You will learn to...
HOW THIS BOOK CAN HELP YOU
As U.S. companies become global entities and as the American workplace and American workers become increasingly multicultural, we face complex challenges in cross-cultural communication. For example, foreign direct investments in the United States are approaching $273 billion; because of these investments, millions of Americans now work for foreign employers. In addition, the United States has invested almost $125 billion abroad, which means that many Americans now work with foreign clients. Our workplaces also are becoming more and more diverse: The most recent Census Bureau statistics show that the total U.S. population of almost 300 million people includes over 35 million Latinos, over 34 million African-Americans, more than 12 million Asian and Pacific Islanders, and over 18 million people from a variety of races and ethnic groups. These groups represent many cultures, each with distinct preferences in communication styles.
Unfortunately, our success rate working in this rich and demanding environment is not as high as it might be. Many instances of failure are caused not by inadequate management competencies or technical skills, but by lack of cultural sensitivity. Because the United States is geographically separate, Americans historically have been poor internationalists. We generally do not speak other languages (an indication that we don't take the international world seriously), and we often fail to recognize that people of other cultural backgrounds may have different goals, customs, thought patterns, management styles, and values. When we understand differences at all, we tend to be judgmental. Our attitude often is "If they knew better, they would do it our way." Even if we understand and attempt to work well with others in a multicultural context, we may suffer from tunnel vision based on experience acquired in purely American organizations.
It's easy to find examples of this lack of ability to communicate cross culturally; miscommunication occurs every day in the American workplace:
If you have been puzzled by the beliefs, behaviors, and work ethic of others; if you plan to work abroad in the future; or if you wish to become a more successful communicator in culturally diverse workplaces both at home and abroadóthis book will help by providing essential information and practical examples for these important aspects of intercultural communication.
WHO CAN USE THIS BOOK
If you are interested in understanding and improving cross-cultural communication both inside and outside your organization, you will benefit from the information presented here. Many readers will find this book useful:
WHY THIS BOOK WAS WRITTEN
We have taught thousands of business professionals and MBA students at corporations and universities in the United States and abroad, and have been both surprised and dismayed at the lack of awareness of effective cross-cultural communication. Even among people who have worked abroad, there is ignorance and misunderstanding.
For example, we have worked with managers who considered Chinese staff as uncommitted, disinterested, and unmotivated because they failed to make eye contact during performance evaluations. We have trained pharmaceutical representatives who misunderstood the unwillingness of Indian, Malaysian, and Hasidic doctors to shake hands. We have taught MBA students who were completely unaware of cultural issues, even after having worked overseas.
Other books on this subject, however, are too long or academic for the needs of busy professionals. That's why Prentice Hall is publishing the Prentice Hall Series in Advanced Business Communicationóbrief, practical, reader-friendly guides for people who communicate in professional contexts. (See the inside front cover for more information on the series.)
HOW THIS BOOK IS ORGANIZED
We begin with an introduction which defines culture, discusses the relationship between culture and communication, and explores the various ways culture affects values, attitudes, and behavior.
Part I: Understanding Cultures (Chapters I-IV)
The four chapters in Part I summarize the research on what differentiates cultures.
Part II: Communicating Across Cultures (Chapters V-VIII)
Part II will help you apply what you've learned about cross-cultural differences by discussing how to write, speak, and negotiate in different cultures.
The book ends with a conclusion, a cultural questionnaire to develop personal awareness, a bibliography listing the sources that shaped the academic and research backdrop for our discussions, and suggested readings and films for your continuing growth in effective cross-cultural communication.
Throughout the book, we use proverbs to illustrate major points. Proverbs reveal the wisdom and character of a people, or, as they say in Sweden, "A proverb says what a culture thinks." We also introduce each chapter with a set of proverbs that crystalizes the different cultural characteristics covered in that chapter.
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