Communication Styles in International Business

Published: 2021-09-10 06:30:09
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In the article, “Found in Translation: Consultant Bridges Cultural Differences”, a man named Jay Townsend has brought many types of talents back home to Alabama from Asia. Jay became homesick and decided to move back to Montgomery and he opened the Balhae/USA Business Consulting company. By opening this consulting company, he is smoothing the cultural and business interactions between American companies and Korean, Chinese, and Japanese companies. It helps excutives with communication strategies with the emphasis on Alabama culture.
There are many reasons why there is a need for good communication strategies and the importance it has in international business. “Communication takes place in two ways: (1) through nonverbal communciation, or what anthrologists Edward Hall refers to as the ‘slient language'(1959), and (2) through language in which using words and other vocalizations are combined to produce mutually understood meanings”(Ferraro, pg. 67). For example, in the article it mentions that the Korean language is very flat so some southerners who are accustomed to the cadences and extra syllables of Southern English and that it can be commonly mistaken to think that a Korean bussiness man can come off as being unfriendly or cold because of the way that he talks. In order to have good relations with a Southerner is to let your voice go up and down and it makes you come across more friendly. Also, Koreans prefer to have a native speaker in the room during meeting as an interpreter since it makes them feel more comfortable as well as Americans who feel more comfortable to have an interpreter in the room. Also along with following up on what is being said and debriefing after the meeting about body language.The relationship that exists between language and culture is very close. In order to understand a culture, you have to take in account the language that is spoken within that culture. It is also hard to understand a language outside of its cultural context. This relationship is not complete or absolute. “Some societies share common cultural traditions but speak mutually unintelligible languages. On the other hand, societies with quite different cultures may speak mutually intelligible languages”(Ferraro, pg. 111). For example, in the article it mentions that Michael B. O’Connor, a managing partner at Slaten & O’Connor PC, had worked with many of the Korean suppliers and vendors who come to Alabama and Jay Townsend had been able to help him not only on the language part, but on the culture. He explained that what people think of as the Old South is the respect for elders and history and those types of things, which are very similar to Korea’s culture.
Culture influences language and language influences culture in numerous ways. Vocabularies of all languages have been elaborated and have taken the direction of what is considered adaptively important in that certain culture. “The average speaker of standard English knows hundreds of technological terms, such as carburetor, microchip, and bulldozer, as well as a myraid of terms designating occupational specialties, such as accountant, philosopher, teacher, clerk, and thoracic surgeon, because technology and professions are focal concerns in U.S. culture”(Ferraro, pg. 111). This is also true for nonindustrialized societies that the aspects of environment and culture are special and reflects in the vocabulary. “The Koga of southern India have seven different words for bamboo, an important natural resource in their tropical environment, yet have not a single word for snow”(Ferraro, pg. 112). In some parts around the world, the influence of culture on language is a deliberate political process. France has a “language police” that protects the French people from having to accept foreign words into the French language.
Since all languages around the world have different structures, such as syntax, grammar, and vocabulary, they also have different linguistic styles. Cultures can vary in terms of how they send and receive verbal messages. For example, in the U.S. effective verbal communciation is expected to be explicit, direct, and unambiguous. North Americans are more likely to be straightforward, don’t beat around the bush, and tell you how it is. In other cultures, communication patterns are considered ambiguous, inexact, and implicit. For example, “In some Eastern cultures, such as Japan or China, where there is less emphasis on words, people tend to derive more meanings from nonverbal cues and the general social context”(Ferraro, pg. 117).
Some of the differences between the communication styles of Alabama and Korea is that the Korean language is flat and is more monotone as if a Southerner from Alabama were to talk, there would be cadences in their voice in an up down pattern. Also, there were compromises and combinations of business styles between the two. In the Korean culture, lunches are provided by the company that a local restaurant brings and it was unthinkable for the Koreans to do it any other way.

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