MGCR 222 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Selective Perception, Interpersonal Communication, Linguistics

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7 Sep 2018
Communicating Across Cultures
Communication the principle way we reach out to others to exchange ideas
and commodities, develop and dissolve team relationships, and conduct business
Often, unintended words, behaviors, signs, and symbol can lead to
misunderstandings, embarrassment, and even lost business opportunities
Our frames of reference and personal experiences even our world views can
all work to filter message transmission and reception by screening in or out what
we will likely attend to and by attaching meaning to how messages are
interpreted and dealt with
In any cross-cultural exchange between managers from different regions, the
principal purpose of communication is to seek common ground, to seek ideas,
information, customers, and sometimes even partnership between the parties
Communication is an interactive process between senders and receivers in which
senders encode their messages into a medium and then transmit them through
often noise-infested airways to receivers, who then decode messages, interpret
them, and respond appropriately
o Throughout this process, cultural differences and potential cross cultural
misunderstandings are typically subsumed under the broad category of
This advice neglects two major impediments to effective communication:
attention and interpretation:
o Messages are effective only to the extent that recipients are both paying
attention to them and capable of processing the information in ways that
facilitate meaning
o Attention-interpretation-message model see page 131 of course pack
for definition through illustration
Attention recipients must notice and select out intended
messages from a barrage of other often simultaneous messages for
particular attention
Interpretation once a message is selected, the recipients must
interpret or decode it
Message (response) recipient must decide whether or not to
reply and, if so, how to construct and transmit a response
o Numerous factors in the communication environment serve to reinforce,
attract, or distract attention towards or away from some messages at the
expense of others
Other competing messages
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Language in use
Visual and audible noise
Nature of interpersonal relationships
Power distance between speakers
Degree of shared knowledge among the speakers
Attitudes and perceptions
Pressing needs as experienced by both parties
Two interrelated cultural screens (lenses) can affect both interpersonal
interactions in general and multicultural communication in particular emerge
as a result of cultural differences between senders and receivers
o They are part of the communication environment
o They represent potential impediments the AIM model
Culturally mediated cognitions in communication how people and
messages are often evaluated and processed in the minds of
senders and receivers alike
Culturally mediated communication protocols how we construct
or shape our messages in ways that may be culturally consistent for
us, but we hope, not problematic for our intended receivers
At least four commonly used culturally mediated cognitions can be identified:
language and linguistic structures, selective perception, cognitive evaluation, and
cultural logic
o Language and linguistic structures
The manner in which words, grammar, syntax, and the meaning of
words are organized and used
While culture provides the meanings and meaning-making
mechanisms underlying existence, language provides the symbols
to facilitate the expression of such meanings
When determining which language should be used in
Some argue that English is increasingly becoming the
language of global business
Others have suggested that the language to be spoken
should be determined by who has the money consistent
with “serve the customer”
A different language is not just a dictionary of words, sounds, and
syntax it is a different way of interpreting reality
Languages can vary in their precision
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Languages provide subtle yet powerful cues about what to account
for in our dealings with other people (respect, social distance, and
so forth)
For instance, different forms of “you” in different languages
Depending on the language being spoken, managers must attend to
different cues and focus on different aspects of their context and
Learning the language of the host-country is one of the most
common recommendations
o Selective perception
People cannot simultaneously focus on all the events surrounding
them at a given time they use selective perception to choose
what to focus on and what to ignore
Make mental choices about what is important, useful, or
threatening and focus mental powers on these particular issues
As such, the information that becomes important is in the eye of
the beholder the information they are looking for while other
potentially useful information is often left by the wayside
While nonverbal communication is commonly used throughout
much of Asia as a way to convey information with subtlety, many
people in the West fail to notice it because they are not looking for
o Cognitive evaluation
Cognitive evaluation when people see or hear something, they
have a tendency to categorize the information so that they can
make judgments about its authenticity, accuracy, and utility
They try to relate it to other events/actions so they can make
sense of it and know how to respond
Research has shown that Americans, raised in an individualistic
society, often rely on the isolated properties of people or object
they are examining in order to attach meaning or enhance
People tend to have better recall of information when it is
consistent with their cultural knowledge and values
Norm of authenticity belief that external actions and emotional
displays are, or should be, generally consistent with internal states
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