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Reflective journal assignment on Intercultural Business Communication

Question

Task Details: Students need to write a reflection report discussing and analysing any two topics explored in this course. Students are required to discuss not only their understanding of the topics, but also the implications for their current/future role in business or work. Not only should critical thinking be demonstrated in the reflection, students should also provide their opinions, ideas, thoughts and feelings on the topics explored.

Students who maintain a reflective journal will find this assessment very rewarding LIFE and have substantial data to support their reflections. The report is to be reflective and evaluative (use referenced theory), and it is important that you offer critical insight.

Consider the following when writing a reflective journal:

  • Describe the events and your experience — What did I do/hear/see?
  • Interpret and evaluate the events from your perspective — What do I think about it now? How does it relate to other things that I know? Explain your experience; reveal your new insights, connections with other learning, your hypotheses, and your conclusions.
  • Reflect on how this information will be useful to you — What questions do I have? Have I changed how I think about the situation? Where do I go from here?
    If you have been given specific questions or tasks to perform, use these as headings to help organise your writing adapted from 2.9 in the Subject Outline and the following source:
  • Morley-Warner, T. 2000, Academic writing is a guide to writing in a university context Centre for Research and Education in the Arts, Sydney.

Answer

Topic 1: Intercultural communication
Introduction: Intercultural communication in today’s world is an important requirement. This is because due to globalisation almost all business is exposed to different cultural settings and people belonging to different cultures. In this study the event related to an intercultural communication experience has been described. The phenomenon has been interpreted based on personal reflection. The lessons learnt from the event as well as the assumptions related to intercultural communication at that point of time have also been described.

Description of events and experience
Description of event: I was working as an executive in the finance department of the organisation and my supervisor sent me for a business meeting with a Chinese national. I was supposed to make the individual understand about the current position of the organization in the market and the capability of the firm to complete projects with efficiency. My task was to grab the business deal with the Chinese organisation and impress the individual with my analytical skills. However I faced a lot of problem while communicating since the individual did not knew English language properly and in addition he did not support the company’s style of managing things. He had brought with himself a translator who consumed a lot of time and resulted in a lot of miscommunication. The facts that I was stating about the company's performance were not properly translated to him. In addition he was against the type of work life our company follows that is fixed work hours and no scheme for family benefits. This is because in China, work life balance is required to be maintained and they give high priority to family over any other work (Neuliep, 2017, p.12). In the end, my proposal was rejected due to problems faced in the intercultural communication and non approval of the management style as per their culture.

Description of personal experience: I felt frustrated at the initial stage of the intercultural communication of which I was a part of. There was a lot of disapproval and the Chinese counterpart did not wanted to negotiate as our management style was against their culture. I felt like he could have given us some time to explain and change the type of work culture.

Interpretation and evaluation of events
I think about the situation now as a good learning experience. Had I have not been a part of the event in the past I would not have been able to understand the importance of intercultural communication. Though the problem lies in the cultural differences of the two nations and organizations work style still it proved to be a positive experience for me. As opined by Piller (2017, p.11), in the critical approach to intercultural communication that different countries have their own beliefs which influence the culture of that country in turn. These beliefs and culture prove to be a problem for the other countries’ culture. This is because as per the viewpoint of Rahim (2017, p.56), some cultures are overpowering over other cultures. For example in my case the Chinese culture and its beliefs of giving priority to families before work proved to be overpowering.

As per the theory of social science approach it can be understood that some people belonging to different cultures possess the habit of comparing with other cultures (Riasi and Asadzadeh, 2015, p.611). This was evident in my case too as the Chinese individual was comparing the cultural differences and did not gave us time to explain about the possibility of changing the work culture as per their need.

intercultural communication

Figure 1: Theories related to intercultural communication
(Source: learner)

However, my assumptions that intercultural communication effectiveness depends on the way people communicate among themselves proved to be wrong. I learnt that organizations and business come after the cultural setting of particular place of establishment.

According to the Interpretative approach the situation can be explained as the one to be using the subjective experiences to interpret the knowledge gained from other cultures. The pattern of their belief and the knowledge about other culture is gained with the help of intercultural communication (Brett and Thompson, 2016, p.68). Hence it has been observed to be an important learning experience.

It has helped me in understanding the importance of globalisation and the cultural factors that affect the organisational performance. In case of this particular event I have learnt and understood that organisations are required to change their way of controlling management. Moreover work culture should also be changed as per the cultural settings of the country in which they are operating (Johnson and Sohi, 2016, p.185).

Reflection on the usefulness of the information
The implication of the event on my professional life had been significant. I have been able to understand that it is important to know about the different cultures and thus changing the specific work structure accordingly. As of now I have no questions regarding the intercultural communication. I think about the situation as a learning experience and I would be able to improve my intercultural communication skills with the help of applying different theories that in have come across during the event. The impact of the event has been positive on me as I have been able to understand the importance of intercultural problems that can arise. Thus I would be able to apply the learning I gained in future endeavours. I would become more effective in communicating if assigned with a business deal that requires intercultural communication.

Conclusion
The study has provided an understanding of the intercultural communication problems faced and the importance of its application. I have described the event related to intercultural communication gap in detail and my personal experience has also been discussed. It has been found out to be a positive experience on an overall basis. Theories like critical approach to intercultural communication, interpretative approach and social science approach were used by me to interpret the situation faced as well as lessons learned. On the other hand a personal evaluation if the situation has also been presented.

Topic 2: Business communication
Introduction: Business communication can be defined as the process of sharing information inside or outside the organisation for organisational benefits. Business communication is a way to share information about products as well as services in front of potential customers. A business event is going to be described here in order to understand business communication. Interpretation, as well as evaluation of event, has also going to be provided. A reflection is also going to be provided on the basis of usefulness of the business information from the business event.

Description of events and experience
Description of event: As a financial analyst I represented my department in the annual meeting organized by the company. Around 30 members were the part of the meeting organised and it was a business setting. In the meeting I was supposed to present to the members about the current financial performance of the company and analyse the future capability of the firm to proceed with various projects. I was of the opinion as an analyst that the organisations’ performance is average in the recent years. The liquidity position of the firm was not good and it did not have enough cash to proceed with payments. Hence I stated as a part of the business communication that the firm cannot proceed with one of the projects as it requires a lot of funds. Moreover the creditors are not willing to pay to the firm extra funds. However majority of the member did not understand my views and suggestions. This was mainly due to the fact that I was not able to make them understand the top management about the company's current performance. As I did not use any interactive charts and figures. Moreover year’s figures were also not used by me to interpret the results. Hence a miscommunication happened.

Description of personal experience: I was frustrated to not have been able to make the top management understand about the problems inherent in the organisation. The miscommunication that arises due to my inefficiency of not using the interactive charts and previous year’s data made me felt miserable. However I have understood that the fault was mine and hence the impact of the overall situation on me is positive.

Interpretation and evaluation of events
The event happened to be a good learning experience for me as I learned a lot from my mistake. In the view of Wang, Pauleen, and Zhang (2016, p.4), and as per the cognitive dissonance theory it has been understood that people mostly avoid being a part of disagreement. However in my case it was seen that due to my fault people disagreed with my views and opinions. Since I was not able to explain myself and about the performance of the company with proper evidence hence it resulted in a disagreement.

Business communication

Figure 2: Theories related to Business communication
(Source: learner)

According to the view of Voinea et al., (2015, p.45) use of social media is also an important source to bring out the effectiveness in business communication. In other words as explained by Helin and Jabri (2016, p.487) new forms of business communication style should be adopted so that the things can be explained easily and without consuming much time of the top management.

As per the theory of communication accommodation, it can be understood that the different styles of communication should be used to accommodate with different situations. In case of the event explained above it can be understood that different charts and previous year’s data should have been used to predict the growth opportunities of the company. This would have helped in effective business communication.

Reflection on the usefulness of the information
From the business event, I have understood that in order to do business successfully, it is necessary to have effective communication skill. I was not able to make others understand my point of view clearly and I found that I need to improve my communication skill. Miscommunication has occurred as the top management was not able to understand my statement. It was really an embarrassing moment for me. It is important to have effective communication skill for working in organisations. There are many other employees who are also not able to understand my point of views. After that, I accept that I need to improve my weakpoints. I have learned a lot of things from my experience. I decided to use graphs and other calculations charts in order have business communication in future. I started working on my communication issue and feel that it is improving. I have decided that in order to give a presentation of business products and services, I will use simple and easy sentences so that everyone can able to understand my point of view. The communication should be slow and effective in order to make others understand (Ji, 2019, p.10). I started practising communication at home in order to improve my communication skills. It is important to face any issue in order to understand the weakness of people. That event has put great influence in my life and I will keep improving my communication and other skills in order to have a bright future. I have decided to listen to business presentation in order to understand how people communicate effectively at the time of giving a business presentation. I have requested my manager to provide me with some chances to attend an effective business presentation in order to improve my qualities. In this way, I was able to understand my weak points and improve it for my future benefits.

Conclusion
I have understood from the event that took place that the communication related to business should be effective in order to make people understand about the performance of the organisation. A business event has been provided in which it has been found that people are not able to make others understand about the business facts due to communication issues. A miscommunication has happened due to lack of business communication skill. A reflection has been provided in order to understand the usefulness of situation for future benefits. I took help from two theories such as Cognitive Dissonance Theory, as well as the Communication Accommodation Theory, in order to understand the situation and learn for future benefits.

Reference list
Brett, J., and Thompson, L. 2016. Negotiation. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 136, pp. 68-79.

Ji, H., 2019. The Usefulness of Accounting Information Derived by Applying the Percentage of Completion Method to Enhance Sustainable Business Practices: Evidence from South Korea. Sustainability, 11(1), pp.7-34.

Johnson, J. S., and Sohi, R. S. 2016. Understanding and resolving major contractual breaches in buyer–seller relationships: a grounded theory approach. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 44(2), pp.185-205.

Neuliep, J. W. 2017. Intercultural communication: A contextual approach. 7th ed. UK: Sage Publications.

Piller, I. 2017. Intercultural communication: A critical introduction. 2nd ed. UK: Edinburgh University Press.

Rahim, M. A. 2017. Managing conflict in organizations.15(14), pp.56-94.

Riasi, A., and Asadzadeh, N. 2015. The relationship between principals’ reward power and their conflict management styles based on Thomas–Kilmann conflict mode instrument. Management Science Letters, 5(6), pp.611-618.

Voinea, D.V., Busu, O.V., Opran, E.R. and Vladutescu, S., 2015. Embarrassments in managerial communication. Polish Journal of Management Studies, 11, pp. 45-67.

Wang, W.Y., Pauleen, D.J. and Zhang, T., 2016. How social media applications affect B2B communication and improve business performance in SMEs. Industrial Marketing Management, 54, pp.4-14.

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