Cultural diversity is common in today’s business world. That is why it is important to ensure that your managers and employees are effectively communicating when these differences arise. Being aware and addressing these challenges early will improve productivity and company culture.
Behavioral differences between any employees of different background can cause potential for miscommunication. Every culture has guidelines about what is considered appropriate behavior and what is not. These differences can be barriers to effective communication if they are not recognized.
What is considered an appropriate display of emotion can differ from one culture to the next. In some countries it is appropriate to keep emotions hidden and only discuss the factual aspects of the situation. In other countries, participants in a discussion are expected to reveal exactly what is on their mind. Researching and evaluating these differences is crucial before one can effectively understand another person of a different culture in a workplace setting.
Inaccurate stereotypes of people from other backgrounds can be a major barrier to communication effectively in the workplace. Stereotypes are assumptions people make about the traits of members of a group, and therefore interacting with someone only based on how you should communicate with them can yield a hostile environment. Prejudging an individual can lead to misconceptions and barriers to communication.
For example, a stereotypical American is thought to be impatient and arrogant as well as friendly and tolerant. The danger is entertaining stereotypes is that an individual is thought to possess characteristics that are ascribed to the group. Obviously, not all Americans are impatient and arrogant, nor are they all friendly and tolerant.