Communication in the modern culturally diverse society is complicated, and managers may face challenges when conducting their work. The rationale is that cultures vary significantly across the world and have unique cultural attributes and practice. Therefore, this essay explores peculiarities of intercultural communication in a culturally diverse set-up by comparing the relevance of the Ten Commandments of American culture to those of African Americans. The Ten Commandments represent commonly accepted American cultural values that the citizens observe.
According to the Global Mapping International (2015), the Ten Commandments of the American culture include the following:
- You cannot argue with success (Be successful).
- Live and let live (Be tolerant).
- Just do it.
- Time flies when you are having fun (Have much fun).
- Shop till you drop.
- You are only young once (Do whatever you can while you have the chance).
- Enough is enough (Defend your rights).
- Rules are made to be broken (Think for yourself).
- Time is money (Do not waste time).
- God helps those who help themselves (Work hard).
In certain cultures, for instance among Euro-Americans, there is communication hierarchy and respect for individual hierarchical position. This aspect slows the decision-making process, because each hierarchy involved in the process must closely consider the issues addressed before moving to the next step (The Hofstede Centre, 2015). In the United Kingdom, the hierarchy is still respected based on birth status, and this factor determines decision-making. For instance, Queen Elizabeth is still regarded royal in England, and her concerns must be given weight in decision-making. This creates tension in the country, because many citizens believe that the position of birth should neither limit an individual nor determine the communication structure (Global Mapping International, 2015). Therefore, the Ten Commandments listed above might be more relevant to Euro-Americans than they are to African Americans because of racial relationships.
In the Euro-American zone, such as the United Kingdom, individualism is highly regarded as an important cultural attribute in terms of communication. In particular, an individual regards his/her direct family line as opposed to the situation among African Americans, where collectivism or communal initiatives is upheld as an important cultural attribute (The Hofstede Centre, 2015). The individualism practiced in American culture encourages liberal laws upon which the Ten Commandments are formulated. Moreover, Euro-Americans also have liberalized laws and cultural practices, and the situation is different from African Americans who still believe in communal aspects/practices. Thus, African American culture respects rights and contributions of all team members, thereby group decision-making forms part of the country’s culture.
African Americans are considered masculine, which determines success of groups working together. This does not create a culture of competition starting from school and proceeding to the place of work, where each person tries to be the best in the field as in the case of the other western cultures. In the United Kingdom and America, individuals work hard but within the framework of modesty; this means individuals do live positively to enable them work and achieve all the success they desire based on the Ten Commandments (The Hofstede Centre, 2015). Similarly, intercultural issues are also negotiated on grounds of social activities, and cultural values, practices or business operations can be communicated and executed through the Internet, because such information is likely to be spread in the whole world. For example, business is widely shared on the Internet by using other means to bridge the variations, thereby this factor minimizes cultural conflict in the workplace.
In the United Kingdom, there is a culture of waking up to the unknown, which means that the British usually live in uncertainty, thereby encouraging hard work. African Americas, on the other hand, live under uncertainty not regarding what to do but because of the impending threats of natural disasters that are spread in their country, such as earthquakes, typhoons, tsunamis, and floods (The Hofstede Centre, 2015). These practices, behaviors or perceptions by the other cultures could lead to the lack of motivation, poor productivity, and conflict in the workplace between the minority and majority groups. Indeed, one group my feel sidelined in the workplace as it may not take part in intercultural communication.
When comparing leadership and cultural intelligence or business operations in the western world and Amsterdam, the Netherlands, one may realize that leadership style varies with personality, which could lead to conflict in the workplace. Cultural intelligence also differs in various regions and cultural background, and if people from such backgrounds find themselves in a common workplace, the set of beliefs and practices could differ significantly, thus causing tension (“Things not to say,” 2015). For example, the Americans and African Americans embrace dissimilar cultural aspects, social activities or business operations in diversity, thus leadership style would vary based on dominant cultural practice (Goldstein, 2007).
Unlike African Americans, Euro-Americans partly share the cultural attributes of Americans, and thus have much in common with the ideals of the Ten Commandments of the American culture. In addition, the latest culture in Amsterdam and the other European countries does not depict distinct variations with those of the Americans, since they embrace modern leadership trends based on globalization (“Things not to say,” 2015). Using cultural intelligence, a manager will borrow two cultural practices from a unique traditional setting that has not been eroded to achieve meaningful success in running the company in this new location. This practice might propagate behaviors or perceptions by others that could lead to the lack of motivation, poor productivity, and conflict among employees in the workplace (“Things not to say,” 2015).
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