How to improve cross-cultural communication in the workplace

It’s no secret that effective communication is central to the success of any organization, regardless of industry. But in order to truly understand what it takes to communicate effectively, you must first understand the different cultural factors that influence the way people interact with one another.

Our world is more interconnected than ever before, a fact that has given rise to many changes in the ways that businesses and organizations operate. Workplaces are more diverse, remote teams are scattered across the country or around the world, and businesses that once sold products to a single demographic might now sell to a global market. All of these factors have converged to make cross-cultural communication a vital part of organizational success.

Here’s a look at why cross-cultural communication is important in the workplace, and the steps you can take to overcome cultural barriers and improve communication within your organization.

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The importance of cultivating cultural awareness at work

Group of Diverse Business People Discussing About World Issues

Becoming culturally aware, however, requires understanding what “culture” means.

“’Culture’ is very dynamic and complex,” says Dr. Patty Goodman, cross-cultural communication faculty lead for Northeastern’s Master of Science in Corporate and Organizational Communication program. “It has to come from the individual perspective and go all the way through to the macro perspective.”

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