Intercultural Communication In The Workplace Essay

Essay on Communication in the Workplace

2259 Words10 Pages

The average worker spends two-thousand and eighty hours a year at their place of employment. Communication within the workplace is often overlooked or not given as much importance as most people should allow, given the amount of time that is spent there. Beyond the more basic verbal speech, one must be aware of the nonverbal symbols and noise that can have an effect on communication. There are also cultural, environmental and internal factors that can effect communication and how successful it can be. The various perceptions that an individual has developed over their life can also effect communication. One’s ability to communicate effectively will determine the success and enjoyment that is to come from their job.…show more content…

For this reason, it is important for any communicator to be aware of the nonverbal symbols that are being given during any communication. Nonverbal symbols are “ways we communicate without using words; they include facial expressions, gestures, posture, vocal tones, appearance, and so on.” (Hybels & Weaver, 2007, pg 10). These nonverbal symbols are very important for positive, successful communication. “Nonverbal communication is everything that's not a word," says Navarro, author of Louder Than Words, (Bruzzese, 2010). If a client or co-worker is giving back negative nonverbal gestures, such as crossing their arms or rolling their eyes, it may be time to re-explain the point or move on to a new point. If this nonverbal symbol is missed and the communicator continues, this could result in a poor relationship with a co-worker or even worse, a missed sale with a client. If the feelings are strong enough it could lead to a long-term, negative relationship.

There is also noise that effects all communication. Noise is defined as the “interference that keeps a message from being heard” (Hybels & Weaver, 2007, pg. 11). The more obvious form of noise is the external noise that can be heard around you, like other people speaking, a dog barking, etc (Hybels & Weaver, 2007, pg. 11). But external noise can be things that are not heard, but felt. For example, if you are

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Intercultural Communication In The Workplace Essay

Employers today face many challenges trying to ensure that diversity in their workplace is not a source of conflict, but a source of strength. The workplace today is a constantly changing environment. As the company's needs change so does the employees. In a lot of companies there are employees, from many different cultures, that speak different languages. While it is the companies' responsibility to ensure that the environment is comfortable for their employees, it is important for other employees to play a role in helping to make a diverse environment a comfortable one as well. Thus leading to the example that I am about to give.

I am an employee with Johnson Controls. The company has over three hundred people working in the same plant or location. There are employees from all different cultures there. There are primarily African Americans, but there are also Caucasians, Arab Americans and Germans as well. The Arab American employees do not speak English fluently and some of the German employees cannot read or write in the English language as well. Most of those employees required the assistance of an interpreter just to complete an application and the rest of the hiring process. This is where the communication issue lies.

A communication issue arose when there was a project that needed to be completed and each person was responsible for choosing a partner to assist them in completing their portion of the project. Everyone paired up in teams of two, but there was one man, a Caucasian, that did not want the partner that he was left with, who was an Arab American. The Caucasian man complained of the fact that the Arab American man could not speak English well enough for them to communicate with one another. When it was time to relay information to the Arab American man, the Caucasian man did not tell him the correct way to complete the project because he left out various pieces of information to avoid having to thoroughly explain things to him. This was unfair to the Arab American man. It was not his fault that he was born in another country and raised to speak the language of his culture which was different than the Caucasian man's language.

The Arab American employees complained to the company that it was unfair that they were often being treated in this manner. A meeting was held with the owner of the plant and the Human Resources staff. It was then that the company created an ethics statement. This decision gave those Arab American employees a feeling of equality and diversity. I often thought about how I would have felt being foreign and having fellow employees of my company treating me as an outcast. I know from experience that it is unfair and I would not enjoy it at all. That is why it is important for a company to ensure that all of their employees work in an environment where diversity is easily accepted. I think that it makes for a...

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