Cross -Cultural Communication: U.S. Managers and Central Americans
Communication between the people of different cultural backgrounds seems a bit difficult. Even if the language does not act as a barrier, the hidden cultural differences become the reason of confusion. These differences are invisible and ineffable, but create a gap between the people of the North and South. To avoid this condition, it is important to find out the area of the misunderstandings.
Many things depend on the thought process. When you come from a different cultural background, your thought process becomes influenced by some ideologies, beliefs, and surroundings. Moreover, you find your culture different from the others. You cannot easily decode the thoughts of other cultures. When you share your thoughts with the people of the other cultures and receive their thoughts, you just try to decode the meaning according to your perception. As the cultures and the upbringings are different, you find it difficult to understand the true meaning. You just use your intelligence to decode it. That creates the confusion. You can expect the misunderstanding in the following five areas.
Context- vs. Content-Focus
Both the verbal and written communication styles are different for the Latin Americans and US Managers. When the US’s style is explicit and direct, the Latin Americans focus more on the contextual factors like timing, relationship, and circumstances. These different communication approaches make a difference.
Molecular vs. Atomic Social Structure
The people of USA are more confident and they are accountable to their own decisions. The country has the most individualistic culture. Their decisions are highly respected. But when it comes to the Latin American, it has rated to have much lower individualism. The dependency on the godparents makes the communication more complicated, diplomatic, and non-confrontational. The USA people believe that the Latin Americans are more diplomatic. In the contrary, the Latin Americans believe that the U.S. people are egotistical.
Task vs. Relationship
The U.S. people are task-oriented. They focus more on the result instead of methods. Their first priority is to get the job the done with the best result. But the Latin Americans believe in creating a warm environment first before starting the project. They focus on the positive relationship for any success.
The U.S. people take the time as the money. They utilize the time in the best possible manner. Besides, USA focuses more on the future than the past. But the Latin American people are not serious about the time. They spend more time on the complex relationship and molecular networks than the business. The difference between the attitudes creates a huge gap in the communication between the people of two cultures.
In the USA, they maintain a distant communication like eye contact, firm handshakes, and the smiles. They stand a meter apart during the face-to-face conversation. The business dresses also are formal and conservative. The things will be different for the Latin Americans. They believe more on the softer handshakes, hand and arm gestures, and touching. The dresses will be fashionable and colorful.
How to overcome the differences
To overcome this condition, they will have to understand the cultural differences clearly. Moreover, they will have to develop some skills to communicate with the non-native English speakers. Instead of focusing on the differences, they need to work with the same objective.