Asymmetric Communication

Asymmetric Communication

Andrew Targowski (Haworth College of Business, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-004-2.ch015
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Abstract

This chapter defines a framework for the crosscultural communication process, including efficiency and cost. The framework provides some directions for dialogue among civilizations, which is one of the main routes toward creation of the universal civilization. A developed architectural design of the cross-cultural communication process is based on a universal system approach that not only considers the complexities of the various cultural hierarchies and their corresponding communication climates, but also compares and quantifies the cultural-specific attributes with the intention of increasing efficiency levels in crosscultural communication. The attributes for two selected cultures (Western-West and Egyptian) are estimated in a normative way using expert opinions, measuring on a scale from 1 to 5 with 5 as the best value. Quantifying cultural richness (R), cultural efficiency (?), modified cultural differences (DMC, and cultural ability (B) reflects how a given culture’s strength can overcome cultural differences and enhance its competitive advantage (V). Two components of the culture factor cost, explicit (CE) and implicit (CI), are defined, examined and quantified for the purposes not only of controlling the cost of doing business across cultures, but also to determine the amount of investment needed to overcome cultural differences in a global economy. In this new millennium, global organizations will increasingly focus on the critical value of the cross-cultural communication process, its efficiency, its competence, its cost of doing business. In order to successfully communicate crossculturally, knowledge and understanding of such cultural factors as values, attitudes, beliefs and behaviors should be acquired. Because culture is a powerful force that strongly influences communication behavior, culture and communication are inseparably linked. Worldwide, in the last 20 years, countries have experienced a phenomenal growth in international trade and foreign direct investment. Similarly, they have discovered the importance of crosscultural communication. As a result, practitioners and scholars are paying attention to the fact that cultural dimensions influence management practices (Hofstede, 1980; Child, 1981; Triandis, 1982; Adler, 1983; Laurent, 1983; Maruyama, 1984). In recent years, empirical work in the crosscultural arena has focused on the role of culture on employee behavior in communicating within business organizations (Tayeb, 1988). But current 346 Asymmetric Communication work on cross-cultural business communication has paid little attention to either (a) how to adapt these seminal works on general communication to the needs of intercultural business or (b) how to create new models more relevant to cross-cultural business exchanges (Limaye & Victor, 1991, p. 283). There are many focused empirical studies on cross-cultural communication between two specific cultures (e.g., Wong & Hildebrandt, 1983; Halpern, 1983; Victor, 1987; Eiler & Victor, 1988; Varner, 1988; Victor & Danak, 1990), but such results must be arguable when extrapolated across multiple cultures. The prevailing western classical linear and process models of communication (Shannon & Weaver, 1949; Berlo, 1960) neglect the complexity of cross-cultural communication. Targowski and Bowman (1988) developed a layer-based pragmatic communication process model which covered more variables than any previous model and indirectly addressed the role of cultural factors among their layer-based variables. In a similar manner, the channel ratio model for intercultural communication developed by Haworth and Savage (1989) has also failed to account completely for the multiple communication variables in cross-cultural environments. So far, there is no adequate model that can explain the cross-cultural communication process and efficiency, let alone estimate the cost of doing business with other cultures worldwide.
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Introduction

This chapter defines a framework for the cross-cultural communication process, including efficiency and cost. The framework provides some directions for dialogue among civilizations, which is one of the main routes toward creation of the universal civilization. A developed architectural design of the cross-cultural communication process is based on a universal system approach that not only considers the complexities of the various cultural hierarchies and their corresponding communication climates, but also compares and quantifies the cultural-specific attributes with the intention of increasing efficiency levels in cross-cultural communication. The attributes for two selected cultures (Western-West and Egyptian) are estimated in a normative way using expert opinions, measuring on a scale from 1 to 5 with 5 as the best value.

Quantifying cultural richness (R), cultural efficiency (η), modified cultural differences (DMC, and cultural ability (B) reflects how a given culture’s strength can overcome cultural differences and enhance its competitive advantage (V). Two components of the culture factor cost, explicit (CE) and implicit (CI), are defined, examined and quantified for the purposes not only of controlling the cost of doing business across cultures, but also to determine the amount of investment needed to overcome cultural differences in a global economy.

In this new millennium, global organizations will increasingly focus on the critical value of the cross-cultural communication process, its efficiency, its competence, its cost of doing business. In order to successfully communicate cross-culturally, knowledge and understanding of such cultural factors as values, attitudes, beliefs and behaviors should be acquired. Because culture is a powerful force that strongly influences communication behavior, culture and communication are inseparably linked.

Worldwide, in the last 20 years, countries have experienced a phenomenal growth in international trade and foreign direct investment. Similarly, they have discovered the importance of cross-cultural communication. As a result, practitioners and scholars are paying attention to the fact that cultural dimensions influence management practices (Hofstede, 1980; Child, 1981; Triandis, 1982; Adler, 1983; Laurent, 1983; Maruyama, 1984). In recent years, empirical work in the cross-cultural arena has focused on the role of culture on employee behavior in communicating within business organizations (Tayeb, 1988). But current work on cross-cultural business communication has paid little attention to either (a) how to adapt these seminal works on general communication to the needs of intercultural business or (b) how to create new models more relevant to cross-cultural business exchanges (Limaye & Victor, 1991, p. 283). There are many focused empirical studies on cross-cultural communication between two specific cultures (e.g., Wong & Hildebrandt, 1983; Halpern, 1983; Victor, 1987; Eiler & Victor, 1988; Varner, 1988; Victor & Danak, 1990), but such results must be arguable when extrapolated across multiple cultures. The prevailing western classical linear and process models of communication (Shannon & Weaver, 1949; Berlo, 1960) neglect the complexity of cross-cultural communication. Targowski and Bowman (1988) developed a layer-based pragmatic communication process model which covered more variables than any previous model and indirectly addressed the role of cultural factors among their layer-based variables. In a similar manner, the channel ratio model for intercultural communication developed by Haworth and Savage (1989) has also failed to account completely for the multiple communication variables in cross-cultural environments. So far, there is no adequate model that can explain the cross-cultural communication process and efficiency, let alone estimate the cost of doing business with other cultures worldwide.

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