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Cross Culture Communication Case Study

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Updated: Jul 6th, 2020

The topic chosen for this case study is cross cultural communication (CCC). This occurs in an environment consisting of English speakers and Greek speakers. An interesting thing in this context is the miscommunication aspects due to cultural differences in the realms of non-verbal communication (Gupta, 1998).

Personal observation on this issue has revealed the disparities that exist amid cultures in the realms of communication and other relevant provisions. The use of non-verbal forms of communication is pertinent in this context as evident from the observations made (Mayers, 2008). Researching on this topic has revealed a lot in the communication arenas despite the challenges (Friginal, 2009).

The data collected from various sources as well as the literature review conducted demonstrate the variability that exists in the communication aspects (CCC). Additionally, this data is usable in unveiling the patterns of behavior relevant in this context (Lewis, 1999). Consequently, the concepts attained from this study will be used to uncover the relevancy of non-verbal communication and how such issues can distort appropriate communication among people in a similar environment (Mattock, 2003).

The underlying questions in this study incorporate;

  1. What are the cross cultural impacts on the non-verbal communication?
  2. Why is their massive misunderstanding during cross cultural communication (non-verbal)?
  3. Is it possible to minimize misunderstandings during the cross cultural communication?
  4. What are the common trends in this study with regard to cross cultural communication?

Data Collected

The data was collected through personal observation on how individuals from varying cultures communicate non-verbally and the characterizing misunderstandings in this context (Reynolds & Valentine, 2011). Most of the participants were immigrants from Greece; nonetheless, the conversations were observed instinctively as they occurred. The analyzed data has emerged from 10 observations made regarding the study.

Sample of the data collected

Nonverbal conversations (translated verbally) between English speakers and Greek speakers (10 participants)

1: Jeff (an English speaker) inquiring some information from Kretez (a Greek native)

J: Kretez, do you know who took the keys for inner doors of the library?

K: Ok, I am coming

J: Do you really understand my question?

K: I think the teacher will come soon

2: Jeremy (an English speaker) instructing Grito (Greek speaker) on how to turn on a computer

J: Grito, press on the power button, it is right on the corner

G: (looks stranded but compelled to talk) Mmm… should I stand up?

J: I am asking you to turn on the computer, are you ignorant?

G: I saw the book; its cover had an image of Chinese president (Jeremy perplexed and switches on the computer by himself)

3: Paul (English) informing Galez (Greek) about the following week’s sports event

P: Galez, are you aware of the next week’s games?

G: I think the movie was very interesting. Mmm… it took almost three hours (he smiles to Paul)

P: We have important games next week and we need strong participants.

G: I participated in the last Olympic Games in Beijing

4. Phillips (English) asking Carlito (Greek) to help him carry a box

P. (looks stranded as the box is too heavy. He sees Carlito passing by) Hey man! Lend me a hand here? (To mean help me)

C: I am fine… (Extends his hands as if he wants to greet Phillips)

P: Let’s carry this box together if you don’t mind

C: I will be OK at home (walks away)

5. Christine (English) asks Tyrra (Greek) for proper direction to the principal’s office when he first visited the school

C: Where is the principal’s office?

T: (stranded)… should I come?

C: I want to see the principal, where is his office?

T: Some pupils are playing in the field; I am yet to join them (he walks away while Christine seeks help from another person)

6: Jimmy (English) asks Fridriq (Greek) his hobbies

J: Fridriq, what do you like doing most when you are free?

F: The schools will close this summer, are you aware? (Thought Jimmy asked him on the school closure)

J: Your hobbies please…!

F. I don’t need to play now, I must revise for exams

7: Chalton (English) inquires Wandete’s (Greek) performance in last semester’s exams

C: Wandete, how did you perform last semester? I hope it was wonderful?

W: I have not registered this semester (unaware of the asked question)

8: Dancan (English) seeks Tewuli’s (Greek) support on his bid for students’ leadership

D: (Smiles) I am going for chairmanship, I need your support please

T: Mmm… I don’t think I will come to class today; I have not completed my project

9: Vincent (English), as the head of department, warns Garry (Greek) against his conducts in school

V: (looks stern) Garry, your conducts have been wanting lately. You have to change before severe actions are taken against you

G: I know I have not completed my school fees, but it will be paid soon

10: Duke (English) asks Tunga (Greek native) for a bottle of water

D: I am quite thirsty, can help me with that bottle of water

T: Our group work will be over soon (stares at Duke thinking he has answered him correctly)


The entire data (observations made) indicate that there is a massive miscommunication between the participants (Stringer & Cassiday, 2009). This occurs due to cross-cultural disparities that affect their ultimate nonverbal communication efforts (Gudykunst, 2003).


Friginal, E. (2009). The language of outsourced call centers: A corpus-based study of cross-cultural interaction. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Pub. Co.

Gudykunst, W. (2003). Cross-cultural and intercultural communication. London: SAGE.

Gupta, N. (1998). Crosscultural communication: Global perspective. New Delhi: Concept Publications.

Lewis, R. (1999). Cross cultural communication: A visual approach. Hampshire: Transcreen Publications.

Mattock, J. (2003). Cross-cultural communication. London: Kogan Page Limited.

Mayers, C. (2008). Turn-taking in cross-sex and cross-cultural communication. München: GRIN Verlag GmbH.

Reynolds, S. & Valentine, D. (2011). Guide to cross-cultural communication. New Jersey, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Stringer, D. & Cassiday, P. (2009). 52 activities for improving cross-cultural communication. Massachusetts, MA: Intercultural Press.

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