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Intercultural Communication: Sensaya Case Case Study

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Updated: Aug 24th, 2020

What mistakes does Clyde Make in his approach to his new assignment in Sensaya?

In the business world, communication plays a major role in ensuring effective execution of business operations. Thus, it is the mandate of the parties involved in any business process to understand the cultural issues and work ethics that exist between the different cultures (Peltokorpi and Clausen 511). In the context of the case study, one of the mistakes Clyde made was the failure to take time to learn about the culture of Senseyans before interacting with them. Secondly, Clyde approached the business case in Sensaya using models that were successful for other clients; he did not customize the approach to align with cultural values and dimensions of the people.

What are Clyde’s cultural biases?

The main cultural bias was ethnocentrism in which Clyde unconsciously judged the Senseyans based on the standards inherent in his culture. Clyde thought that what is applicable to his culture could apply in Sensaya. For example, the use of the cuff remarks and stories were cultural biases. According to Kaushal, personal bias also takes place when an individual uses personal experiences and replicates it in other cultures (32). For example, Clyde wanted the Senseyans to see things as he did. In so doing, he compared them to other clients where he had used anecdotes and humor to ease tension; however, the Senseyans were not accustomed to such behaviors.

What cultural values and or dimensions might be influencing the Senseyans behavior?

Hofstede defined culture as the collective programming of the mind that distinguishes practices of members of one group from the other based on social or environmental orientation (8). Culture entails a set of unwritten rules that influence the behavior of people (Hofstede and Minkov 7). Various dimensions are used to measure culture.

In the case of Senseyans, the cultural dimension influencing them was uncertainty avoidance. The uncertainty avoidance relates to the comfort of employees in unstructured environments (Hofstede 9). For example, Clyde found it difficult to ‘read’ managers when he presented ideas in formal meetings. National cultural values such as pride in their language are also influencing the Senseyans. For example, Senseyans value their language and thus require Clyde to use it in his printed descriptions.

How are non-verbals getting in the way of communication between Senseyans and Clyde?

Non-verbal communication acted as a barrier to effective communication. During the training sessions, nodding of the head by Senseyans made Clyde think that they understood what he was teaching. However, he later discovered they did not understand. Clyde also had difficulties in “reading” the managers which pointed to differences in the non-verbal behaviors. Even though non-verbal communication is universal to human species, the signals used for non-verbal communications differ based on the cultural orientation (Shi and Hu 11).

Actions Clyde might take to improve communication with Senseyans.

Barriers to intercultural communication normally take place due to the failure to understand the cultural values and dimensions in the host culture (Triandis 89). In order to improve the communication, Clyde needs first to study, understand and evaluate the possible challenges that are likely to hinder effective communication. This will help in addressing the issues of ambiguity in the communication. Culture programs people on ways to think, see and interpret things. This implies that each culture has unique context and hence ambiguity is likely to take place when different cultures interact. Secondly, Clyde needs to have a flexible attitude. That will help him transcend cultural biases and have an open mindset to accept the way of life of the host culture. Triandis noted that cultural flexibility plays a critical role in reducing ethnocentrism (89). It facilitates understanding of the new culture and hence the ability to put in place strategies that improve communication.

Works Cited

Hofstede, Geert and Michael Minkov. Cultures and organizations: Software of the mind, New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010. Print.

Hofstede, Geert. “Dimensionalizing cultures: The Hofstede model in context.” Readings in Psychology and Culture 2.1 (2011): 8-9. Print.

Kaushal, Saurabh. “Different Aspects of intercultural nonverbal communication: A study.” Asian Journal of Advanced Basic Sciences 2.2 (2014): 31-39. Print.

Peltokorpi, Vesa, and Lisbeth Clausen. “Linguistic and cultural barriers to intercultural communication in foreign subsidiaries.” Asian Business & Management 10.4 (2011): 509-528. Print.

Shi, Zhenmei, and Wenhua Hu. Non-verbal Behavior in Intercultural Communication, Dalian: Dalian University Press, 2011. Print.

Triandis, Harry. “The many dimensions of culture.” The Academy of Management Executive 18.1 (2004): 88-93. Print.

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