Literature reveals certain barriers to consider in cross-cultural communication. Zweifel (2003) reminds us a global leader already understands the dynamics of language as the very reflection of the culture in which the organization operates (p 25). English is consider the language of business with more than 1 billion people in over 100 countries speaking it as either a first or second language (Marquardt & Berger, 2000, p 4). More specifically English, according to Marquardt and Berger (2000), has become the global language of media and computer and carriers certain cultural and social values (p 4). Culturally and socially holding a common language aids in the development of lasting friendships and trust within the context of differing cultures (Foster, 2012).
Barriers exist when individuals are not able to effectively communicate wants, needs and desires to one another. A global leader must be able to communicate and build the organizations vision (Marquardt & Berger, 2000, p 31). When individuals do not speak and understand a common language, it becomes difficult to get people to comprehend the vision (Marquardt & Berger, 2000, p 31). While speaking in a common language creates its own challenges, the ability to listen for verbal and social cues in a foreign language becomes a greater challenge. Literature argues that there is great value in attentive listening (Marquardt & Berger, 2000, p 43). When an individual does not understand a given language, a barrier is instantly erected.
Creating trust within teams is essential to the success of any organization (Marquardt & Berger, 2000, p 48). Literature argues that our natural impulse is to homogenize everything rather than relish diversity and learn from it (Marquardt & Berger, 2000, p 50). Breaking down barriers is about human relationships and how they are developed through understanding of languages and culture.
Zweifel, Thomas D (2003). Culture Clash – Managing the Global High-Performance Team. New York, NY: SelectBooks.
Marquardt, Michael J. and Berger, Nancy O. (2000). Global Leaders for the 21st Century. Albany, NY: New York Press.
Foster, Philip A. (2012). Retrieved from his posting: Blackboard Dialogues for Doctorate in Strategic Leadership, Regent University, Virginia Beach, VA.
Philip A Foster, MA is Founder/CEO of Maximum Change Inc. Elevating leaders and their organizations to the next level since 2005. Master Certified Coach, Philip A Foster, MA and his associates facilitate effective positive change by helping organizations, leaders and individuals in high demand — design and implement strategies that maximize focus and deliver results. Specializing in Organization and Strategic Leadership.