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Intercultural Communication And Negotiation Skills English Language Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Language
Wordcount: 2188 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Intercultural communication in its most basic form refers to an academic field of study and research. It seeks to understand how people from different countries and cultures behave, communicate and perceive the world around them. The findings of such academic research are then applied to ‘real life’ situations such as how to create cultural synergy between people from different cultures within a business or how psychologists understand their patients (Toomey, 2001). The definition of intercultural communication must also include strands of the field that contribute to it such as anthropology, cultural studies, psychology and communication. There are many researchers and academics of note within the intercultural field that naturally all have different definitions of ‘intercultural communication’. For example Karl fried Knapp defines it as Intercultural communication can be defined as the interpersonal interaction between members of different groups, which differ from each other in respect of the knowledge shared by their members and in respect of their linguistic forms of symbolic behavior. As business becomes more and more international, many companies need to know how best to structure their companies manage staff and communicate with customers. Intercultural communication gives them an insight into the areas they need to address or understand. Intercultural communication theories are now also used within the education, health care and other public services due to growing multicultural populations (Robert, 2005). 

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Effective negotiation helps you to resolve situations where what you want conflicts with what someone else wants. The aim of win-win negotiation is to find a solution that is acceptable to both parties, and leaves both parties feeling that they’ve won, in some way, after the event. There are different styles of negotiation, depending on circumstances. Where you do not expect to deal with people ever again and you do not need their goodwill, then it may be appropriate to “play hardball”, seeking to win a negotiation while the other person loses out. Many people go through this when they buy or sell a house – this is why house-buying can be such a confrontational and unpleasant experience (Reynolds, 2004). Similarly, where there is a great deal at stake in a negotiation, then it may be appropriate to prepare in detail and legitimate “gamesmanship” to gain advantage. Anyone who has been involved with large sales negotiations will be familiar with this. Neither of these approaches is usually much good for resolving disputes with people with whom you have an ongoing relationship: If one person plays hardball, then this disadvantages the other person – this may, quite fairly, lead to reprisal later. Similarly, using tricks and manipulation during a negotiation can undermine trust and damage teamwork. While a manipulative person may not get caught out if negotiation is infrequent, this is not the case when people work together routinely. Here, honesty and openness are almost always the best policies.

Preparing for a successful negotiation

Depending on the scale of the disagreement, some preparation may be appropriate for conducting a successful negotiation. For small disagreements, excessive preparation can be counter-productive because it takes time that is better used elsewhere. It can also be seen as manipulative because, just as it strengthens your position, it can weaken the other person’s. However, if you need to resolve a major disagreement then make sure you prepare thoroughly. Using our free worksheet, think through the following points before you start negotiating (Schneider, 2002).

Goals: what do you want to get out of the negotiation? What do you think the other person wants?

Trades: What do you and the other person have that you can trade? What do you each have that the other wants? What are you each comfortable giving away?

Alternatives: if you don’t reach agreement with the other person, what alternatives do you have? Are these good or bad? How much does it matter if you do not reach agreement? Does failure to reach an agreement cut you out of future opportunities? And what alternatives might the other person have?

Relationships: what is the history of the relationship? Could or should this history impact the negotiation? Will there be any hidden issues that may influence the negotiation? How will you handle these?

Expected outcomes: what outcome will people be expecting from this negotiation? What has the outcome been in the past, and what precedents have been set?

The consequences: what are the consequences for you of winning or losing this negotiation? What are the consequences for the other person?

Power: who has what power in the relationship? Who controls resources? Who stands to lose the most if agreement isn’t reached? What power does the other person have to deliver what you hope for?

Possible solutions: based on all of the considerations, what possible compromises might there be? (Pride, 1985).

Style is critical

For a negotiation to be ‘win-win’, both parties should feel positive about the negotiation once it’s over. This helps people keep good working relationships afterwards. This governs the style of the negotiation – histrionics and displays of emotion are clearly inappropriate because they undermine the rational basis of the negotiation and because they bring a manipulative aspect to them. Despite this, emotion can be an important subject of discussion because people’s emotional needs must fairly be met. If emotion is not discussed where it needs to be, then the agreement reached can be unsatisfactory and temporary. Be as detached as possible when discussing your own emotions – perhaps discuss them as if they belong to someone else (Pauwels, 1991).

Negotiating successfully

The negotiation itself is a careful exploration of your position and the other person’s position, with the goal of finding a mutually acceptable compromise that gives you both as much of what you want as possible. People’s positions are rarely as fundamentally opposed as they may initially appear – the other person may have very different goals from the ones you expect! In an ideal situation, you will find that the other person wants what you are prepared to trade, and that you are prepared to give what the other person wants. If this is not the case and one person must give way, then it is fair for this person to try to negotiate some form of compensation for doing so – the scale of this compensation will often depend on the many of the factors we discussed above. Ultimately, both sides should feel comfortable with the final solution if the agreement is to be considered win-win. Only consider win-lose negotiation if you don’t need to have an ongoing relationship with the other party as, having lost, they are unlikely to want to work with you again. Equally, you should expect that if they need to fulfill some part of a deal in which you have “won,” they may be uncooperative and legalistic about the way they do this (Lewis, 2005).

Analyze the assigned case in the context of cultural differences

Canadian culture and American culture aren’t too different but aren’t too similar. The culture in the society seems to be different because like how people say United States is referred to as ” the great melting pot of society” where people of all nations join together to form “a more perfect nation”. Everybody expected to comply with the common community standards to make the nation strong. So any people from a nation that join Canada forget about their culture and join American culture. While Canada on the other hand has been compared to a mosaic, where people are invited to join the nation and still retain their cultural identities, complete with traditions, languages, and customs. Like for instance in British Colombia, a person may write their drivers license in English, French, Chinese, and Punjabi. And in Nunavut, the primary language of government will be Inuktitut with secondary services available in English as required. Since a lot of people speak French and 20% of the population of Canada is French-Canadian, on most things not only English is written but so is French. This can affect the culture in society because in Canada there will be parts of all different cultures like the clothing, the food, while in United States since they encourage people to be more into the “American culture” there will be less of different types of cultures but more of one (Le baron, 1993).

Identify intercultural communication problems and relate them to theories and models covered

Complex nature of human behavior produces many communication problems-perhaps more than the problems addressed in this course. It is for this reason that we will explore how diverse cultural orientations influence the way we perceive and interact with an increasingly culturally diverse world. The overall purpose of this class is to understand causes of intercultural conflicts in different communication settings (interpersonal, small group, school, workplace and global) and how to manage them effectively. Specific objectives are:

To learn how culture, your own and other peoples’, shapes the understanding of intercultural conflict analysis.

To explore cultural awareness of ‘self’, ‘other’ cultures and the challenges encountered in interaction between people of diverse culture.

To analyze cases of intercultural conflicts in diverse situations namely; interpersonal, small group, schools, workplace and global contexts, and acquire knowledge and skills that increase intercultural conflict competence.

To gain a critical perspective on local and global issues by using service learning pedagogy to address problems ensuing from increasing cultural diversity in St. Cloud.

You will have an opportunity to gain knowledge, skills and positive attitudes that increase your intercultural communication competence. I have adopted pedagogical approaches that include lectures, simulation, reflection exercises, role plays, small groups’ discussions, and service-learning that allows us to acquire an attitude of valuing diversity (Hemming, 1990).

Based on existing literature, provide recommendations on how these problems can be overcome

Due to ethnic diversity and globalization, conflicts between individuals are increasingly characterized by differences in core values between parties with different socio-cultural identities. Value conflicts can create interpersonal and intergroup tension at different levels of society. Fieke Harinck recently received an NWO conflict and safety grant, and with this grant she is planning to investigate how value conflict develops, when they escalate, and how they can be resolved.

Identify issues that may cause conflict

Consider cultural differences if difficulties or misunderstandings occur

Make an effort to sensitively resolve differences, taking account of cultural considerations

Address difficulties with appropriate people and seek assistance when required.

The obvious way we communicate is by using words. However, as we have seen, we also use non-verbal communication: our tone of voice, body language, gestures, posture and facial expressions all impact on communication.

Often people think that the use of gestures and facial expressions will be sufficient to convey an accurate message, without regard for the different rules of non-verbal communication which may apply in the other person’s culture (Hall, 1976).

However, just as verbal communication rules differ across cultures, so too do the rules of non-verbal communication. These rules are specific to each culture and are largely taken for granted. We respond to these rules without being aware of them.

Therefore it is important to be aware that our own non-verbal communication might be insulting to others. For example, in some cultures, maintaining constant eye contact while talking is interpreted as disrespectful. This is true for Aboriginal cultures.

The first step in developing skills to communicate with people from other cultures is to develop an appreciation of the rules of communication in our own culture. Similarly, an awareness of the most common barriers to effective cross-cultural communication is the first step to overcoming them. It also means that we will not be less likely to judge a person from another culture by our own cultural values.

When we are learning a new language, we need to learn the language as well as have an awareness of the culture. It is important of will have to learn new meanings and new ways of behaving (Hamston, 2004).


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