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Describe, explain, and rectify a situation that illustrates an intercultural communication issue within a work environment Answer

SOC 315 Week 3 Individual Assignment Intercultural Communication in the Workplace Paper

This assignment asks you to describe, explain, and rectify a situation that illustrates an intercultural communication issue within a work environment. The paper should include the following:

  1. A full description of the communication issue. Describe the context, the principle players, and the outcome of the situation. Be attentive to verbal and nonverbal components in the experience you describe.
  2. A diagnosis of the communication issue. Using two outside sources, research the cultural norms of the principles players involved in the given situation. Explain how these cultural norms may have impacted the communication transaction.
  3. Strategies for dealing with the issue. Using your text, provide several recommendations that would have prevented the issue and paved the way for more effective communication.

This paper should be 1,050 to 1,400 words. Your final paper must include at least two sources (other than the class text) cited properly in the text and with proper reference listings at the end of your paper.


Working for a company that strives on diversity, is not always fine and dandy. Sometimes there is such a communication gap that it might pay not to be so diverse. In the following instance I will explain what happened, how cultural norms impacted the communication issue, and strategies that can help. In short, we no longer have a choice about engaging with the world. In the years to come, the majority of Americans — whatever their skill or profession — will either (a) work for an international concern, (b) buy from one, (c) sell to one, or (d) compete with one (Nolan, 1).

I work with a wonderful group of individuals who come from every walk of life. However, one person, Chinazo, stands out more so than others because of how she talks. She is from Nairobi, Kenya where her family stills lives and where her father practices law. Besides being an online rep, she is union steward for communication workers of America (CWA). She is a wonderful person to sit and talk with, but she can be overbearing at times.

Issues that come around from time to time always deal with the attendance of employees in the call center. Of the five hundred and sixty four employees only three to four hundred are scheduled in a given day. With that on average fifty will call out sick, federal medical leave act (FMLA), or just say that are not coming in. When they call in and it is not for FMLA then the attendance team gives an occurrence and sends them a counseling notice to let them be aware this could hurt their employment in the long run. Employees can also receive occurrences by either arriving late for start of shift, lunch, or breaks, or leaving early. This is done so that employees are discouraged from being late or calling in.

The communication issue it that Chinazo tries to help, but she has such a hard accent sometimes if can be hard to understand her. After being asked a few times to repeat herself she gets upset and states that we just need to listen. The other issue is that being raise around the law she always throws it at you. No matter what you are doing she is going to start talking about the law and how we are breaking it by firing people for not showing up to work.

A better way to have dealt with Chinazo can be summed up by the “Gateways to Effective Intercultural Communication “Adapted from the Diversity in the Workplace Training Module, INROADS, courtesy of INROADS/San Francisco Bay Inc. and reprinted in Job Choices: Diversity Edition 2001. Effective intercultural communication requires more than simply recognizing differences; it requires you to respect and know how to deal with those differences. Intercultural communication often is not easy (just take a look at the evening news! It’s a showcase of miscommunication between countries and their cultures.), but there are “gateways” to effective intercultural communication.

These gateways are:

  • Written, verbal, and nonverbal communication skills;
  • • Respect for differences;
  • • Tolerance for ambiguity;
  • • Flexibility;
  • • Suspension of assumptions and judgments;
  • • Willingness to see other person’s point of view;
  • • Time and practice.

These gateways can help you strengthen your ability to understand and to be understood. In the end, however, it’s up to you. The gateways are effective only if you’re willing to go through them.

Not every day do I deal with Chinazo, but every day I deal with someone that is from another background.   Below are some “Key Points to Intercultural Communication” are as follows that I found while doing research at work on When communications cause conflict, be aware that problems might have more to do with style or process than with content or motives.

Learn to understand different communication styles—you could even benefit through expanding your repertoire.

Communicating across cultures requires extra effort. Good communication requires commitment and concentration.

Although culture affects differences in communication patterns, there are many exceptions within each group depending on class, age, education, experience, and personality.

  • Remember that communication is a process and that the process varies among cultures. Look at what might be getting in the way of understanding. Constantly ask “What’s going on here?” and check your assumptions.
  • Avoid jokes, words, or expressions that are hot buttons, such as those that are based on ethnicity, race, or gender.
  • Use language that fosters trust and alliance.
  • Respect differences; don’t judge people because of the way they speak.

Don’t exclude others through language

Remember that language can divide as well as unify. While your language is part of your culture and binds you to others who speak that language, it can also separate you from those who do not share it. If you’re bilingual, take care not to let your language skill create a barrier between you and your unilingual co-workers.

Does that mean that you should hide your ability? Use your proficiency to help your co-workers, organization, and customers. For example, if it’s appropriate, offer to serve as an interpreter for customers who share your language. Or offer to translate a document for a business colleague who doesn’t speak the language. Or offer to teach your co-workers some basic words and key phrases for business or for their personal use.

After writing this paper I am able to understand a few things on how to deal with employees personalities. I realized it is not the employee, but the way they were brought up. Before I can go any further in a conversation I need to remember the cultural differences. This will allow me to calm down and think twice.




Nolan, Riall W., (1999) Communicating and Adapting across Cultures: Living and Working in the Global Village. London: Bergin & Garvey.


Gateways to Effective Intercultural Communication,


Key Points to Intercultural Communication,

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