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Do stereotypes have a place in Intercultural Business Communication? Illustrate your essay with specific examples.

Introduction

Communication has become the greatest necessity of modern life. The information and communication technologies have shrunk the world further and further, and it's now more like a village where every body knows each other, and interact with each other all the time. This has also created a peculiar situation wherein people have to interact with others with different cultural backgrounds.

The advent of globalisation was marked by the geographical dislocation, as many businessmen began to move cross-culturally for greater fortunes, and thus, they improved intercultural communication skills. This also involved the second language acquisition. Intercultural communication is so complex that it includes not only linguistic elements such as the grammar, syntax, or the pronunciation; but also the interactional competence such as elements like turn taking, negotiating, opening or closing a conversation. It also considers the socio-cultural contexts of speakers.

The global village has given us a single citizenship, and we are no more tethered to a particular nation or culture. The global situation has drastically changed that everyday we have to interact with people from different cultures, nationalities, ideologies, ethnicities, religions and colours. Thus, it is essential for every one who is practicing business communication to acquire skills in intercultural communication that defends stereotyping, which include the getting rid of many preoccupations. The first one is the assumptions. Every individual usually makes an assumption about others. Assumptions are generally personal opinions or evaluations which are, of course, formed out of cultural backgrounds and influenced by a number of subjective factors. Thus, it is necessary that people have to re-think about their common perceptions and go into the very root of the problems to analyse why they uphold such opinions. Another factor that greatly supports a good intercultural communicator is the empathy. Empathy helps to respect, assimilate and learn different cultures and the perceptions of people from that cultures.
The next aspect that helps to understand other cultures is the involvement. Involving others in the sphere of our thought can produce wonderful results; that we can see that the ice is breaking. Herd mentality is the other factor, which is defined as a one dimensional approach, which has a narrow vision that restricts ingenuity, originality and advancement. It restricts people from suggesting solutions, finding the way to tackle a problem or taking challenges. Cultural competency can only be developed if people are given immense freedom to think creatively leaving their biases. Insensitive behaviour can also do the damage. Insensitive way of dealing with things can only foster divisiveness, and thus, very much detrimental to effective business communication. Wisdom is the final element that works to promote good intercultural business communication, showing a balance and judgment of thought and action. Through intellectually approaching a problem, intercultural differences can be avoided and an effective business communication can be made (Brake et.al, 1992; Brislin, 1997).

Conclusion

Diversity increases in the global marketplace, where your customers, suppliers, subordinates or bosses may have different cultural values and business practices. Business increasingly transcends national boundaries. Businessweek reports that two-thirds of all industries either already operate globally or are in the process of doing so; for instance, McDonald's earns more than 62 percent of its income outside the United Sates and nearly 98 percent of Nokia's sales are outside its home country, Finland. As many companies have discovered, valuing diversity is good business as well as social practice. A growing body of literature shows that ethnically-diverse teams produce more and higher quality ideas. One problem with the awareness of differences, however, is that when someone feels shut out, he or she can attribute the negative interaction to prejudice, when other factors may be responsible. A second problem is that members of a dominant group can recognise differences but still expect everyone to adapt to them, rather than making the effort to understand the preferred communication styles of other workers. These are caused mainly by stereotyping, which require a specific skill set to tackle. In Japan, silence can mean 'I don't like your idea' but it can also mean 'I am thinking'; knowing this is essential for international negotiators. This also includes lessons that language does not discriminate against people on the basis of sex, physical condition, race, age or any other category. Modern day business communication emphasises these principles, and sticking to them can help get over the idea of stereotypes.

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