Intercultural communication

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Intercultural communication is a form communication that aims to share information across different cultures and social groups. It is used to describe the wide range of communication processes and problems that naturally appear within an organization made up of individuals from different religious, social, ethnic, and educational backgrounds. Intercultural communication is sometimes used synonymously with cross-cultural communication. In this sense it seeks to understand how people from different countries and cultures act, communicate and perceive the world around them. Many people in intercultural business communication argue that culture determines how individuals encode messages, what mediums they choose for transmitting them, and the way messages are interpreted.[1] As a separate notion, it studies situations where people from different cultural backgrounds interact. Aside from language, intercultural communication focuses on social attributes, thought patterns, and the cultures of different groups of people. It also involves understanding the different cultures, languages and customs of people from other countries. Intercultural communication plays a role in social sciences such as anthropology, cultural studies, linguistics, psychology and communication studies. Intercultural communication is also referred to as the base for international businesses. There are several cross-cultural service providers around who can assist with the development of intercultural communication skills. Research is a major part of the development of intercultural communication skills.[2][3]

Cross Cultural Business Communication[edit]

Cross Cultural Business Communication is very helpful in building cultural intelligence through coaching and training in cross-cultural communication, cross-cultural negotiation, multicultural conflict resolution, customer service, business and organizational communication. Cross-cultural understanding is not just for incoming expats. Cross-cultural understanding begins with those responsible for the project and reaches those delivering the service or content. The ability to communicate, negotiate and effectively work with people from other cultures is vital to international business.


The following types of theories can be distinguished in different strands: focus on effective outcomes, on accommodation or adaption, on identity negotiation and management, on communication networks, on acculturation and adjustment.[4]

Theories focusing on social engineering effective outcomes[edit]

Theories focusing on identity negotiation or management[edit]

Theories focusing on communication networks[edit]

Theories focusing on acculturation and adjustment[edit]

Other Theories[edit]

Intercultural Communication Competence[edit]

Intercultural communication is competent when it accomplishes the objectives in a manner that is appropriate to the context and relationship. Intercultural communication thus needs to bridge the dichotomy between appropriateness and effectiveness:[17]

Various publications list necessary competencies for intercultural communication.[18] Twelve affective, behavioural and cognitive competencies have been identified:[19]

A targeted development of these key competencies in intercultural communication requires a thorough appraisal to identify individual strengths and weaknesses. Diagnostic frameworks like the ICCA™ (Intercultural Communication and Collaboration Appraisal)[20] study subjective viewpoints and focus awareness on certain behaviours and attitudes.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lauring, Jakob (2011). "Intercultural Organizational Communication: The Social Organizing of Interaction in International Encounters". Journal of Business and Communication 48.3: 231–55. 
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Cf. Gudykunst 2003 for an overview.
  5. ^ Kincaid, D. L. (1988). The convergence theory of intercultural communication. In Y. Y. Kim & W. B. Gudykunst (Eds.), Theories in intercultural communication (pp. 280-298). Newbury Park, CA: Sage. p.289
  6. ^ Ellingsworth, 1983.
  7. ^ a b Gudykunst, W. & Kim, Y. Y. (2003). Communicating with strangers: An approach to intercultural communication, 4th ed. New York: McGraw Hill.
  8. ^ Bohman, J. 1999. 'Practical Reason and Cultural Constraint' in R. Shusterman (Ed.) Bourdieu: A Critical Reader, Oxford: Blackwell.
  9. ^ Orbe, 1998. p.3
  10. ^ Kim Y.Y.(1995), p.192
  11. ^ Mc Guire and McDermott, 1988, p. 103
  12. ^ Griffin (2000), p. 492
  13. ^ Griffin (2000), p. 496
  14. ^
  15. ^ Collins, P. H. (1990). Black feminist thought: Knowledge, consciousness, and the politics of empowerment. Boston: Unwin Hyman.
  16. ^ Griffin (2000), p. 497
  17. ^ Cf. (Spitzberg 2000); also (Messner & Schäfer 2012, p41).
  18. ^ Cf. (Bhawuk & Brislin 1992), (Graf & Mertesacker 2010), (Spitzberg 2000), and (Wiseman 2003).
  19. ^ (Messner & Schäfer 2012, p43) and (Messner & Schäfer 2012b).
  20. ^ Cf. (Messner & Schäfer 2012) and