Issues of Cross-Cultural Communications in a Globalizing Era

Issues of Cross-Cultural Communications in a Globalizing Era

Ai-Ling Wang (Tamkang University, Taiwan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5463-9.ch006

Abstract

This chapter describes issues of cross-cultural communications emerging in an era moving towards globalization. The author identifies three main areas of concern: language, culture, and technology. These issues are not new in cross-cultural communications. However, new issues are emerging. As World Englishes developed, cultural awareness alone is no longer enough to respond to a globalizing era and people are required to possess intercultural competences to be able to function appropriately in the global community. Additionally, new issues relevant to technology are emerging, such as digital divides and flaming in computer-mediated communications. Having discussed these issues, the author provides recommendations for practitioners of cross-cultural communication, including developing cross-cultural exchange programs, developing training programs, focusing on netiquette and respect of different cultures and languages, rather than computer skills, and finally, designing authentic assessment to evaluate students' cross-cultural performance.
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Background

In an era moving towards globalization, a greater population mobility can be seen in different areas of the globe for different purposes, such as education, business, diplomacy, and scientific development. An overview of literature reporting on cross-cultural communications shows that there are still a considerable number of issues emerging in cross-cultural encounters. For example, in the field of education, Bista and Foster (2016) report on different issues faced by international students in higher education institutions, such as language and accent discrimination, racial discrimination, lack of peer interaction and intergroup dialogue, and problems with acculturation. International students felt that they were isolated in the classroom and on the campus.

From the discussion above, we may find that there is a significant gap between home students and international students and between theories professionally discussed and practices done in the real world. This chapter intends to explore the core issues underlying the gap between people from different cultures in cross-cultural communications.

Computer-mediated communications (CMC) and cross-cultural exchanges are not new in modern societies and are popular in an era moving towards globalization. However, as contacts between or among people from different regions or different cultures keep growing, it is no longer so simple that a language is just a language and cultural differences just mean differences between two cultures. A language can have a variety of forms or dialects, and languages change over time. New vocabulary words and expressions are created all the time and sometimes they change their original meanings for various reasons. The same is true for cultural issues. Cultural issues can be expanded to become global issues. In an era of great mobility, it is getting more and more difficult to clearly assign a cultural property to a particular cultural group. Cultural awareness is no longer enough to function within a global context. Rather, people require intercultural competences to be able to function properly in a globalizing era.

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