The world is changing dramatically and its changes are constantly affecting the socio-economic structure of nationalists in both developing and developed nations.
Central to globalisation and internationalisation, numerous issues are emerging as nations are always witnessing a massive influx of immigration and migration trends that have influenced lifestyles in almost all big cities and towns across the world (Holtbrugge & Berg 2004).
Communication is an essential part of human life that has had substantial impacts on the social, cultural, and economic issues of the populace, which underscores a point where issues of interaction amongst divergent subcultures within nations emerge.
Interaction within the workplace in different organisations has been difficult to the extent of flaming tribal bias with notions that tribes are alienating one another.
Therefore, this essay seeks to verify if success in interpersonal communication – at your job and in your social and personal life – will depend in great part on your understanding of and your ability to communicate effectively with persons who are culturally different from yourself.
In its broad sense, knowledge sharing and knowledge transfer have been critical issues in organisational success and organisations that have thrived in performance have always considered knowledge management.
As noted by Al-Alawi and Mohammed (2007), knowledge acquisition requires “a combination of experience, values, contextual information, and expert insight that help evaluate and incorporate new experience and information” (p. 22).
Interpersonal communication typically refers to a process where two or more individuals send or receive message inform of verbal or non-verbal communication at the same period (Rodriguez et al. 2005).
In simplest terms, interpersonal communication may connote an information-sharing process that transpires when at least two individuals engage in verbally or non-verbally form of contacting to enhance understanding between each other (Matin et al. 2010).
Prior studies have identified a strong correlation between positive interpersonal communication and organisational commitment usually bestowed among teamwork, interaction with customers and the entire management.
However, little knowledge prevails on the correlation between interpersonal communication and personality.
Interpersonal communication within subcultures in firms
In the competitive business world characterised by the provision of quality services and products, managers have in the contemporary decades considered hiring technically competent workforce that involves a continuum of subculture (Holtbrugge & Berg 2004).
Given the fact that culture is not tantamount in the midst of race or nationality or even specified in any organisation, and that people converse differently depending on their races or ethnic backgrounds, communication has been a controversial matter within subcultures (Rodriguez et al. 2005).
Interpersonal communication may depend on a substantial number of factors inclusive of organisational culture, individuals or workers personalities and even policies governing information sharing and communication behaviours with the organisations.
Individuals with excellent interpersonal communication skills and team skills have been in a better position to qualify for senior management positions as communication is currently among the major qualification requirements used in vetting leaders into offices (Bonache 2008).
Currently, some studies support the notion that individual’s personality plays an important role in effective interpersonal communication.
Two important components of communication
Interpersonal communication is a give-and-take process that requires more than one participant to complete the procedure and that is why researchers consider it as knowledge sharing and knowledge transfer process (Rodriguez et al. 2005).
As eminent in a number of studies, interpersonal communication depends mainly of the effectiveness of its major components including the source of information which is typically the personal generating an idea, and the receiver, who is an individual who interprets the information (Al-Alawi & Mohammed 2007).
The two actors are essential in effective communication and their perception against each other that result from the nature of the rapport existing between them influences success in interpersonal communication.
This element underscores a point where the concept of personal level of understanding and personal ability that is inherent in an individual’s level of communication skills emerges.
Given that interpersonal communication is essential for organisational commitment, professional growth, and social wellness of employees, an investigation on concepts of personal ability and understanding in communication must prevail.
Personal understanding and interpersonal communication
Traditionally and even in nowadays ethics, management and employee-related studies have always centred their attention towards the increasing levels of social prejudice, interethnic conflict, racism, and their influence on organisational productivity and cooperation.
Working in nowadays organisations that embrace integration of divergent cultures principally to acquire technical professionals might deem challenging for employees who lack a sense of understanding.
It usually becomes easy for individuals to communicate freely and understandingly when using native language since interpretation of information produced by both ends is generally undemanding.
Rodriguez et al. (2005) note, “Lack of understanding, respect, or appreciation of the contribution of other professionals constitutes a very real barrier to collaboration between health care professionals” (p.142).
In trying to evaluate the significance of considering the aspect of understanding in determining the successfulness of interpersonal communication, let us consider two forms of understanding.
The two ways of understanding that can influence success in interpersonal communication touch on acknowledging the impact of racial backgrounds and concept understanding.
Acknowledging the impact of racial backgrounds
For individuals to understand and share information effectively with each other despite their differences in their cultural background, acknowledging the influence of racial backdrops of co-workers, friends and even customers from the initial phase is always imperative (Bonache 2008).
Culture may possess a significant influence on the communication abilities of individuals, especially regarding formal or official communication where in most cases, organisations use a single official language, which is mostly English.
Some individuals in organisations lack conversancy while communicating in trained language and may be due to nervousness and uneasiness at workplace; miscommunication may occur between members.
Communication is the process of exchanging thoughts, ideas, and opinions that result to knowledge sharing and as noted by Al-Alawi and Mohammed (2007), acquiring knowledge is all about organising data and interpreting the information according to personal understanding.
Given such circumstances, individuals must have the ability to acknowledge the influence of cultural background on certain aspects of formal speech, failure to which effective interpersonal communication is unachievable.
Interpersonal communication as noted by research must involve two significant components including the source, which may be an individual who wants to pass a message, and a receiver who interprets the data into complete information (Matin et al. 2010).
The level of personal understanding in a communication process significantly influences reception of concept and the higher the intellectual ability to receive and interpret information is an imperative factor in interpersonal communication.
Lack of understanding is a misunderstanding and misunderstanding of information produced by the source in many cases leads to misinterpretation of essential messages.
Continuous misinterpretations are subsequently the potential cause of disagreement between acquaintances, neighbours, workmates, and customers, among other relations.
At this point, the competence of members involved in misleading communication between relevant departments in organisation becomes questionable.
Matin et al. (2010) affirm that misunderstanding hampers concept delivery and since the communication process involves receiving and responding in a desired manner, the inability to have a proper understanding leads to providing undesirable feedbacks.
Personal ability in interpersonal communication
Communicating with individuals from different cultural backgrounds is a challenging issue, especially when the receiver or recipient has less ability in communicating effectively (Jacobs 2006).
Personal ability in this sense can fall under two distinct categories, including physical ability and psychological or mental ability.
For any interpersonal communication to deem productive and successful whether communicating with individuals from similar culture or individuals from a different culture, physical ability is paramount (Jacobs 2006).
Communication, as noted by researchers, may sometimes become a complex issue to understand especially on the procedures that it follows as it entails conversation, excellent listening skills, and reflecting on the shared ideas, opinions, and thoughts.
Physical ability in this context may refer to the corporeal appearance of communicators where for information sharing to succeed, physical strength and presence are essential.
To enhance effective interpersonal communication, individuals must be in a position to interact physically and freely, coupled with sharing opinions and ideas, something that underscores a difference if both parties fail to avoid cultural biases.
Personal ability may also entail having a sound mind and being psychologically fit. According to Rodriguez et al. (2005), almost all important aspects of human lifestream from the intrinsic or internal emotional forces that depend primarily on an individual’s psychological wellness.
The unenthusiastic attitude from any communication results from an individual’s perception of others, where individual’s negative mindset about others of certain cultures may result to ineffective interpersonal communication across cultural groups (Jacobs 2006).
Human beings possess feelings that may usually remain altered if the communication between them is unfavourable. Another significant issue that relates to personal ability is reputable interpersonal skills, which have been a problem to several persons in the current days.
For one to communicate freely and fluently, comfortably and conversantly, excellent communication skills are necessary.
Since communicating with different personas bearing divergent culture is challenging, Rodriguez et al. (2005) affirm that good listening, talking, and thinking helps individuals understand complicated information, meditate, and reflect perfectly on the real meaning of the intended message.
Organisations and businesses involved in competent service delivery and those that hire workers are becoming more attracted to acquiring individuals with professional qualifications rather than considering cultural dimensions.
This essay concurs with the fact that success in interpersonal communication depends entirely on individuals’ understanding and ability to communicate with persons who are culturally different from them.
Apparently, communication in the modern business world is imperative as it propels productivity through vital teamwork and autonomous working groups.
Since cultural interaction within organisation is reducing racial and ethnic biases, as well as increasing competitiveness as workers strive to achieve excellence at work, subcultures must meet in workplaces and even within different nations.
Nonetheless, communication conversancy, especially interpersonal contact, becomes an issue in such cases and having the proper attitude, understanding, and even high proficiency in interpersonal communication assist in achieving effective communication.
In a bid to avoid unnecessary conflict between fellow workmates, friends, neighbours, and other individuals, developing comprehensive interpersonal communication life skills that enhance personal confidence and understanding is very vital.
Al-Alawi, A, Al-Marzooqi, N & Mohammed, Y 2007, ‘Organisational culture and knowledge sharing: critical success factors’, Journal of knowledge management, vol. 11 no. 2, pp. 22-42.
Bonache, K 2008, ‘Determinants of the success of international assignees as knowledge transferors: a theoretical framework’, The International Journal of Human Resource Management, vol.19 no. 1, pp. 1-18.
Holtbrugge, D & Berg, N 2004, ‘Knowledge Transfer in Multinational Corporations: Evidence from German Firms’, Management International Review, vol. 44 no.3 pp. 129-145.
Jacobs, G 2006, ‘Communication for commitment in remote technical workforces’, Journal of Communication Management, vol.10 no.4, pp.353-70.
Matin, H, Jandaghi, G, Karimi, F & Hamidizadeh, A 2010, ‘Relationship between Interpersonal Communication Skills and Organisational Commitment (Case Study: Jahad Keshavarzi and University of Qom, Iran)’, European Journal of Social Sciences, vol. 13 no. 3, pp. 387-398.
Rodriguez, S, Beaulieu, M, D’Amour, D & Ferrada-Videla, M 2005, ‘The determinants of successful collaboration: A review of theoretical and empirical studies, Journal of Inter-professional Care, vol. 1 no.4, pp. 132–147.