Ethnocentrism concerns issues of ethnicity, ethnic relations or other social issues. People may think that their own ways are superior to others. This term depicts judging people from one’s own cultural view. Judgments people make about others can be false based on their narrow experience of life.
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Everyone is ethnocentric, and we will always be ethnocentric. This is because we assume various things regarding other people. The way we perceive things results to ethnocentrism. Perceptions we give to color, life, social habits, beliefs, work and other values in life give us the insights to give certain meanings to various things associated with different people.
The limited experience we have in life may lead to ethnocentric views. These assumptions come from limited experiences we have about life. The only way to control ethnocentrism is to avoid biases as we find better ways to understand other people’s point of view. Ethnocentrism prevents us from recognizing such biases and controls them so as to have a better comprehension of others’ life issues and experiences (Jandt 66).
In today’s globalization process, people experience ethnocentrism in international relations. This is because people will always present different positions on an issue. The interpretation could be a new view point either supporting or opposing an idea. Parties fear that they might lose to other parties. Conflict may arise and prevent resolution.
Ethnocentrism leads to serious consequences especially in warfare. Racism, ethnic rituals and modern neocolonialism are some example of ethnocentrism, which results in serious social issues. The international communities highly condemn these issues, but they are always in the news.
Miscommunication always arises among people. Miscommunication is not only limited to nonverbal communication, but it is also in verbal communication. The world is changing fast so is the workplace. People work with different people from all over the world. In light of this, communication alone will not serve the purpose rather it needs to be effective communication.
People often misinterpret nonverbal cues in communication. Globalization brings people of various cultures and languages to work together. This results into certain difficulties when it comes to conveying information accurately. Workmates misinterpret messages leading to performing a task wrongly. Gestures and movements are so natural among people as a form of communication. It is also the most difficult form of nonverbal communication to control.
Everybody talks with their hands, but due to cultural orientations, the meaning could be utterly different across various regions of varied cultures. People should watch both intended and unintended sudden gestures and other body movements. Effectiveness with nonverbal communication requires people to be cautious of their body movements. The movements should be positive and convincing enough to avoid misinterpretation.
Since nonverbal communication is prone to misinterpretation and sometimes ignored among people of different cultures, acquiring knowledge and understanding of various cultural nonverbal cues can help reduce incidences of miscommunication and conflicts. Effective communication has become extremely valuable as people of various cultures interact in different environment. Effective communication also depends on the medium the speaker is using to convey the message.
A wrong choice of medium, depending on time and the situation, will result into misinterpretation (Thompson 97). The only way to avoid communication breakdown due to misinterpretation of nonverbal cues is to communicate effectively. This way the speaker’s intended message to the receiver may not be misunderstood or misinterpreted. Effective communication results to a high level of cooperation among workers and efficiency in work.
Jandt, Fred. An Introduction to Intercultural Communication, 5th Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2007.
Thompson, Neil. People Skills, 2nd Edition. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002.