We will write a custom Essay on Intercultural Communication’ Barriers specifically for you
301 certified writers online
Intercultural communication is faced by quite a number of barriers. Identifying the specific barriers by trying to learn the appropriate and inappropriate characteristics in every culture that one comes across is practically impossible. There is absolutely no way through which one is able to learn all the norms of every culture and their sub-culture all in a bid to understand the various barriers to intercultural communication. As a result, the only viable means of identifying these barriers is by generalizing their levels. This then prompted a scholar, LaRay M. Barna, to come up with the following barrier to intercultural communication.
- Stereotype and prejudice
- Assuming similarity instead of differences
According to Barna, anxiety is one of the most common barriers to intercultural communication. He explains that people usually become absentminded in the event that they become very anxious. It is important to note that people always fail to know what to do when anxious and tend to focus more on their anxiety than other things like an ongoing communication transaction. For instance, someone may be so anxious during his/her first day at work to an extent of doing awkward things and appearing out of place. This would then make co-workers have a negative impression thereby jeopardizing intercultural communication especially if the new employee and his/her colleagues come from different cultures.
Stereotype and prejudice
Stereotype may be used to refer to either the positive or negative verdict made about persons depending on their observable membership especially culture. Prejudice, on the other hand refers to the general hatred of a particular group. These two may contribute to poor intercultural communication in the sense that stereotypes may have a formed opinion about people from other races hence failing to interact with them freely. Similarly, prejudice contributes to undermining intercultural communication by fostering suspicion amongst cultures thereby hindering their proper communication.
This is a belief people have about the superiority of their culture against others. It is quite evident that most people have a feeling that their cultures are supreme as compared to others and would, in so doing, undermine people from other cultures. This would then result to avoiding interaction with people from such cultures thus deterring intercultural communication. The article gives an example of climate change that would compel Americans to close businesses and schools in the afternoon to evade raging heat and save power that would have otherwise been used for air-conditioning the premises. If this happens as a result of climate change, Americans would surely be comfortable having midday siestas. Unfortunately, they would not realize that they would be adopting cultures that they consider inferior. This implies that ethnocentric people hinder smooth intercultural communications due to purely baseless reasons.
Assuming similarity instead of differences
When people presuppose that cultures are alike, they may be caught oblivious when they finally come to learn of considerable dissimilarity between the two cultures. This is common in places where some cultures are dominant. The article gives an example of Muslim children who learn in schools in the United States of America. The schools do not acknowledge the fact that Muslim students have to pray five times in a day and hence do not allocate time for them. This comes as a result of the assumption that cultures are similar. The inverse may also result to poor intercultural communication. Other people assume that cultures are totally different without looking at their similarities.