Some Sources of Misunderstandings in Intercultural Business Communication Part 2
maart 4, 2020

Some Sources of Misunderstandings in Intercultural Business Communication Part 2

1) T. Lázár University of Debrecen Faculty of Economics and Business,

1. Intercultural Communication 1)

It was Edward T. Hall who first used this term in 1959 for communication between persons of different cultures. Today it is universally accepted that different skills are needed to be able to communicate successfully with someone from another culture .

Seelye (1993) enlisted six basic skills forming intercultural competences: cultivating curiosity about another culture and empathy toward its members, recognizing that role expectations and other social variables such as age, sex, social class, religion, ethnicity, and place of residence affect the way people speak and behave, realizing that effective communication requires discovering the culturally conditioned images that are evoked in the minds of people when they think, act, and react to the world around them; recognizing that situational variables and convention shape our behaviour in important ways, understanding that people generally act the way they do because they are using options their society allows for satisfying basic physical and psychological needs, and that cultural patterns are interrelated and tend to support need satisfaction mutually, developing the ability to evaluate the strength of a generalization about the target culture, and to locate and organize information about the target culture from the library, the mass media, people, and personal observation.

Several authors mentioned that intercultural competences are needed in the era of globalisation and they tried to define what they were. Chen and Starosta (1997) used the term intercultural sensitivity and they wrote that with the appearance of global society people need to adapt to the unfamiliar and there is a strong demand for greater understanding, sensitivity and competency among people from differing cultural backgrounds. To behave effectively and appropriately in intercultural interactions people need intercultural competence: self-esteem, self-monitoring, open-mindedness, empathy, interaction involvement and suspending judgement. Hunter et al (2006) used the phrase global competence, which is the capability to understand one’s own culture and identify cultural differences to other cultures.

Within the wide spectrum of intercultural competences the intercultural communication competence plays a significant role. Waldeck et al (2012) defined six communication competencies important within the contemporary business environment. Spitzberg (2000) created a “Model of Intercultural Communication Competence” and he enlisted more empirically derived factors. Makela et al (2007) did research on the interpersonal similarity in multinational corporations. The different intercultural competencies are the following:

  • ability to adjust to different cultures
  •  social adjustment
  • awareness of implications of cultural differences
  • national-cultural similarity
  • cultural empathy
  • cultural interaction

International Journal of Engineering and Management Sciences (IJEMS) Vol. 2. (2017). No. 3.

DOI: 10.21791/IJEMS.2017.3.9.

  • communication competence
  • communication apprehension
  • communication of enthusiasm, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit
  • relationship and interpersonal communication skills
  • mediated communication
  • intergroup communication
  • nonverbal communication
  • interpersonal flexibility
  • interpersonal harmony
  • interpersonal interest
  • speaking and listening
  • a shared language
  • ability to deal with psychological stress
  • cautiousness
    Steele and Plenty (2015) defined intercultural communication competence as “one’s knowledge of appropriate communication practices as well as effectiveness at adapting to the surroundings in a communication situation.” 1) T. Lázár University of Debrecen Faculty of Economics and Business,

About Professor C.J.M. Beniers

Prof. C.J.M. Beniers is a well known authority in the field of modern and international communication techniques. He developed the Six-Component-Model. This model enables companies, institutions and politicians to communicate and negotiate with counterparts from all over the world successfully. His career began as international manager at Philips and later he earned his doctorate as professor in communication. He has more than 35 years experience as manager and management trainer. Thus he knows both sides – theory and praxis – very well. As scientist, Prof. Beniers conducts frequently research in the field of intercultural communication. The results of his interesting research can be found in news articles, free pod casts, audio books and his E-books such as “Bridging The Cultural Gap.” Here, modern managers learn how to prepare for business meetings with people from different cultures; they acquire the techniques and tools to handle situations in times of crises successfully, master intercultural barriers, country-specific communication patterns, looking into personal cultural values & systems. Knowing all this, men can prevent cultural misunderstandings and misinterpretations – not only in business but also in private life.

Zoetermeer NL



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