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Chapter 3 Conceptualising Intercultural Communication Awareness in:

Fungai B. Chigwendere

Towards Intercultural Communication Congruence in Sino-African Organisational Contexts, page 63 - 80

1. Edition 2018, ISBN print: 978-3-8288-4234-2, ISBN online: 978-3-8288-7121-2, https://doi.org/10.5771/9783828871212-63

Tectum, Baden-Baden
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63 Chapter 3 Conceptualising Intercultural Communication Awareness Introduction As mentioned in Chapter 2, understanding IC awareness is underpinned by communication orientation and manner of communication. In this chapter, the criteria (IC awareness enablers) for conceptualising communication orientation and manner of communication are proposed, hence addressing theoretical objective T6. In order to give effect to this objective, however, it is necessary to have an understanding of the themes and subthemes underlying IC (Martin and Nakayama, 2010). The first few sections of this chapter address this need, hence addressing theoretical objective T5. Because this study focuses on the organisational context to provide managers, employees and practitioners with a quick reference point for identifying similarities and differences, a framework for comparing the manner of communication in different cultures is identified. In so doing, theoretical objective T7 is addressed. In the next section, IC themes and subthemes are discussed. 3 .1 Themes Underlying Intercultural Communication (IC) In this section, the themes identified as underlying IC are discussed, namely culture and values, self-perceptions, worldviews, communication, relationship between culture and communication and dimensions of cultural variation in communication. The concept of culture is unpacked first. 3 .1 .1 Culture and values The word “culture” is derived from the same root of the verb “to cultivate”, meaning to till the soil and signifying the way people act upon nature (Hofstede, 1991, p. 5; Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner, 1993, p. 23). In academic discourse there are numerous definitions of culture (see Allwood, 1985; Barnett and Lee, 2003; Blumentghal, 1941 cited in cited in Krober and Kluckhohn, 1952; Francesco and Gold, 2005; Geertz, 1973; Gudykunst and Ting- 64 Chigwendere: interCultural CommuniCation CongruenCe in Sino-afriCan organiSational ContextS Toomey, 1988; Hofstede, 1991; Kroeber and Kluckhohn, 1952; Martin and Nakayama, 2010; Parsons, 1949 cited in Krober and Kluckhohn, 1952; Schein, 1990; 2010; Schwartz, 2009; Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner, 1993). However, despite these multiple definitions, there is no single universally agreed definition (Gudykunst and Ting-Toomey, 1988, p. 27), which illustrates its complexity (Martin and Nakayama, 2010, p. 84). A review of a number of definitions may help one to build an understanding of what culture is. Culture is the sum total of the life of a people, developed over time and passed on from one generation to the next (Parsons, 1949 cited in Kroeber and Kluckhohn, 1952). Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck (1961) further suggest that culture is an expression of how people deal with universal problems such as relationships with time, space and nature, as well as relationships among people, mode of human activity and perceptions of human nature. With this in mind, it follows that human behaviours and actions within a society are guided by rules that serve to uphold culture. These rules also emanate from the society’s beliefs, values, traditions and guiding philosophies representing the accepted way of solving its problems (Trompenaars and Hampden Turner, 1993, p. 6). Culture therefore dictates the appropriate, effective behaviour and course of action for different societies. Accordingly, Hofstede (1991, p. 5) views culture as a collective programme inculcated in the minds of societal members and distinguishing them from other societies. Various images, such an onion or an iceberg, have been used to represent culture (see Hofstede, 1991; 1997; Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner, 1993). An iceberg with two-thirds of its mass hidden below the surface of the water suggests hidden danger, and the layers of an onion imply that culture exists at many levels with some aspects less apparent than others (Francesco and Gold, 2005, p. 18). Culture therefore “hides more than it reveals” (Hall, 1959, p. 53). In his metaphor of culture as an onion, Hofstede cites values as representing the deepest manifestation of culture in the innermost layer. Values represent broad tendencies to prefer certain states over others (Hofstede, 1991, p. 8; Schwartz, 2012, p. 3). Other scholars concur, explaining that values also serve as guiding principles in the lives of people or social entities (Allen and Varga, 2007, p. 20; Schwartz, 1994; 2012). Therefore, while one cannot directly observe values, inferences are possible from the way people act under various circumstances (Francesca and Gold, 2005; Fay and Spinthourakis-Katsillis, 2000, p. 62; Hall and Hall, 1990; Hofstede, 1991; Boafo, 1989; Lasswell, 1948 cited in Kroeber and Kluckhohn, 1952; Martin and Nakayama, 2010; Schein, 2010), with a potential orientation towards individualism or collectivism. Because individuals are the primary unit of analysis in IC, in the next subsection, the concept of self-perception of individuals falling within a cultural group is discussed. 3 .1 .1 .1 Self-perceptions While culture as usually understood in reference to the group, it is important to understand how people as individuals view themselves, how they perceive the world, and how 65 ChapTer 3: ConCepTualIsIng InTerCulTural CommunICaTIon awareness they behave (Fay and Spinthourakis-Katsillis, 2000, p. 53), hence how they communicate (Huang, 2010, p. 100). This is because more than belonging to a common cultural group, people are first of all individuals in themselves, each having their own personality, history and life experience (Martin and Nakayama, 2010). Principally, self-perception relates to how individuals portray themselves to others; the individual is saying “This is who I am” (Collier, 2015, p. 56) and this influences the IC process (Martin and Nakayama, 2010, p. 209). When people interact, they bring more than just their physical body and group cultures to the interaction. Stereotyping – in other words, failing to acknowledge different self-perceptions and making assumptions about individuals based on membership of a particular cultural group – brings forth IC challenges (Martin and Nakayama, 2010, p. 209). Managers and employees engaged in IC should therefore be wary of making assumptions relating to group culture about individuals. However, as a starting point, it is helpful to have an understanding of the broad cultural characteristics of the group. It appears that knowledge of values and guiding philosophies alone may not be enough to ensure that one can communicate successfully with people from other cultures (Jameson, 2007, p. 202; Lovitt, 1999). An understanding of values and guiding philosophies needs to be complemented by understanding self-perceptions to help enhance IC (Jameson, 2007; Varner and Palmer, 2005). 3 .1 .2 Worldview Worldview is “the individual’s perception of the world that helps him or her locate his or her place and rank in the universe while influencing nearly every action in which the individual engages” (Skow and Samovar, 2015, p. 144). Chen (2015) recommends worldview as a more comprehensive approach to understanding cultural values of individuals and groups of people in interaction. The concept of worldview is concerned with people’s views on the nature of existence, accepted ways of gaining knowledge, perceived goals of existence and reasoning approaches adopted in reaching goals. Essentially, worldview relates to the ontological, epistemological, axiological and methodological assumptions of a group of people (Lee, 2012; Narh, 2013). Chen (2015) successfully builds an understanding of IC in the United States and China by using a worldview-based framework. Chen’s focus is on understanding communication differences between American and Chinese cultures based on ontological, epistemological, axiological and methodological assumptions (see Chen, 2015, p. 467). In the context of the present study, rather than referring to ontological, epistemological, axiological and methodological assumptions, reference is made to the nature of communication, degree of interaction in communication, the objective of communication, and the thinking process in communication. These aspects will be discussed in section 3.2.1. 66 Chigwendere: interCultural CommuniCation CongruenCe in Sino-afriCan organiSational ContextS 3 .1 .3 Communication The word “communication” is derived from the Latin communicare, meaning to make common – implying a process of sharing thoughts, hopes or knowledge (Liu Volcic and Gallois, 2011, p. 31). While many definitions of communication exist in academic discourse (Samovar and Porter, 1995), for the purposes of the current study, a constructed definition of communication is adopted. Communication is defined as a process of intentional and unintentional transfer and exchange of information from one individual to another through the use of verbal or non-verbal codes, with the result of mutual understanding and achievement of purpose in any cultural context. Because communication occurs between individuals, the study suggests that examining communication at the individual level can assist in understanding areas of potential challenge or opportunity in communication between cultures. Scholars have established that communication between individuals is characterised by interdependency when people send messages to initiate, define, maintain, or further relationships (Berger, 2005; Collier, Ribeau and Hetch, 1986; Dainton, 2004). This sending and receiving of messages is in accordance with social expectations of prevailing situations (Berger, 2005) and aims to achieve individual or community goals (Dainton, 2004; DeVito, 2013). Communication between individuals can be described as relational, purposeful, reciprocal, transactional and interpretive (Collier, Ribeau and Hetch, 1986; Conrad and Poole, 1998; Dainton, 2004, p. 51; Liu, Volcic and Gallois, 2011). When communication is relational, it implies that what one person says or does has an effect on the other (Dainton, 2004 and DeVito, 2013). By implication, the relationship existing between the communicating parties will also influence their manner of communication. When describing communication as purposeful, there is an indication of an expected end result following communication. Communication is therefore a vehicle that allows people to learn or influence behaviours and attitudes (DeVito, 2013, p. 14). The outcome, however, may not be as desired when other factors such as cultural influences come into play. Also of significance in communication between individuals is its “give and take” or reciprocal nature where communicants simultaneously serve as speaker and listener, while sending and receiving messages verbally and non-verbally. Different cultures may have different rules for sending and receiving messages as well as for expected behaviours (Collier, Ribeau and Hetch, 1986). The transactional nature of communication is also subject to power relations as people constantly assess one another’s power or lack of it on the basis of messages they transmit, shaping their responses accordingly (Berger, 2005; Dainton, 2004; DeVito, 2013, p. 17). In essence, understanding the characteristics of communication between individuals may help to circumvent the IC barrier of lack of knowledge, when seeking to achieve IC congruence. In the next section the relationship between culture and communication is explored, leading to how communication may differ across cultures. 67 ChapTer 3: ConCepTualIsIng InTerCulTural CommunICaTIon awareness 3 .1 .4 The relationship between culture and communication Views from culture and communication discourse suggest an interrelated, reciprocal relationship between culture and communication as seen in the proclamation “Communication is culture” and “culture is communication” (Hall, 1959, p. 169). Culture influences rules, habits, preferences as well as values conveyed in the communication process (Gao and Ting-Toomey, 1998; Fay and Spinthourakis-Katsillis, 2000; Madzingira, 2001; Martin and Nakayama, 2010, p. 63; Phatak, Bhagat and Kashlak, 2005). In addition, culture determines the context and meaning of communication including that of paralinguistic behaviour such as touching, level of voice and body orientation in social interaction (Faniran, 2014; Gudykunst and Ting-Toomey, 1988; Hall, 1959, Madzingira, 2001; Boafo, 1989). On the other hand, communication has been described as the “live wire” of any culture, dictating appropriate communicative behaviours and reinforcing the cultural reality of a community (Boafo, 1989; Martin and Nakayama, 2010, p. 107). Because culture and communication reciprocally influence each other, by implication, when people are from different cultures they will have different ways of communicating. In seeking to enhance IC and to move towards IC congruence it is necessary to understand cultural similarities and differences in communication, as explored in the next section. This leads to identification of dimensions of cultural variation in communication, thereby addressing theoretical objective T5. 3 .1 .5 Cultural differences and similarities in communication While the present study makes use of cultural variability frameworks to help understand similarities and differences in communication, it does so in full acknowledgement of the criticism levelled against these frameworks. Criticism relates to their predominantly Western origin, questionable methodological foundations, and assumptions of cultural homogeneity of members of a given culture at all times and in all contexts (see Fang, 2003; Fang and Faure, 2011; Martin and Nakayama, 2010, p. 106; McSweeney, 2002; Shuter, 2012). The position adopted in the present study is that cultural variability frameworks provide a practical starting point for understanding the similarities and differences in communication in novel settings such as the Sino-African organisational context. 3 .1 .5 .1 Dimensions of cultural variation in communication Because there exist many dimensions of cultural variation for explaining differences in communication across cultures, the present research identifies the most prominent ones. The analysis conducted by Cardon (2008) provides a good point of reference for this. Of the total number of journal articles related to IC in business as published between the years 1990 and 2006, at 21.88% of the total, Cardon’s analysis shows that Hall’s (1976) “contexting” model is the most frequently cited in explaining cultural differences in commu- 68 Chigwendere: interCultural CommuniCation CongruenCe in Sino-afriCan organiSational ContextS nication. Next are Hofstede’s (1980) individualism vs collectivism and power distance dimensions at 18.30% and 10.71% respectively. Power distance relates to the extent that different cultures accept unequal distribution of culture (Hofstede, 1980). Ting-Toomey’s (1988) face negotiation theory discussed in Chapter 2, section 2.2.3.3 stands at 10.71% of the articles. Hofstede’s (1980) individualism vs collectivism index, Hall’s (1976) low- and high-context schema and Ting-Toomey’s (1988) face negotiation theory are discussed, as they influence many aspects of interpersonal communication (Gudykunst and Ting-Toomey, 1988, p. 45). The individualism vs collectivism dimension (Hofstede, 1980) is the first to be examined. a . The individualism vs collectivism dimension in communication The individualism vs collectivism dimension is one of Hofstede’s (1980) value dimensions among power distance, uncertainty avoidance, masculinity vs femininity and long-term orientation. Individualism vs collectivism has emerged in both Eastern and Western analyses of culture and this universality makes it a robust framework to use when examining cultural differences in communication between people (Gudykunst and Ting-Toomey, 1988, p. 43; Gao and Ting-Toomey, 1998, p. 3). Individualism as opposed to collectivism relates to the relationships among people in a society. While an individualistic culture has individuals as being mostly concerned for themselves and their immediate families, collectivist cultures have the community or in-group as their primary concern (Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck, 1961; Schwartz, 1992; Hofstede, 1980; Trompenaars and Hampden Turner, 1993). At this point, the concept of in-group vs outgroup needs some clarification. In defining in-groups, Triandis (1988 cited in Gudykunst et al., 1996, p. 513) proposes that in-groups or insiders are groups of people about whose welfare one is concerned, and with whom one is willing to cooperate without demanding equitable return, except for loyalty. In addition, separation from one’s in-group leads to discomfort or even pain. In collectivistic societies, in-groups draw sharp distinctions with out-groups and influence individual behaviour (Gudykunst et al., 1996, pp. 513–514). Therefore, in-group members behave in a manner expected by the group. Because of this phenomenon, communication in collectivist cultures is likely to be predictable; it shows concern for the group and avoids hurting others. It is important to note, however, that in-groups also exist in individualistic cultures. They are smaller in size, very specific and with little influence on individual behaviour (Gudykunst et al., 1996, p. 513). The expectation is that communication may be unpredictable and focused on individual feelings and interests in individualistic cultures. Illustrating the different effects of collectivism and individualism on communication, Salo-Lee (2006) cites the communicative practice of greeting, accompanied by an enquiry after the well-being of other family members as a notable in-group communicative behaviour in collectivistic cultures. The value placed on this phenomenon is different in individ- 69 ChapTer 3: ConCepTualIsIng InTerCulTural CommunICaTIon awareness ualistic cultures, where such an act is an intrusion into another’s personal space (Francesca and Gold, 2005). While it appears there may be a universal understanding of the individualism vs collectivism dimension, it has faced criticism in matters relating to communication. Kashima (1989 cited in Gudykunst et al., 1996, p. 514) contends that using dimensions of cultural variability such as individualism vs collectivism to explain individual level behaviour is inappropriate because culture cannot be controlled as if in an experiment. Moreover, the dual existence of individualism and collectivism in cultures may render it impractical for predicting individual communication behaviour with absolute certainty (Gudykunst et al., 1996, p. 510). To mediate the influence of cultural individualism vs collectivism on individual behaviour Gudykunst et al. (1996) thus propose adoption of individual level factors such as self-perceptions and values seen as having a profound influence on the IC process (Martin and Nakayama, 2010, p. 209). b . Low and high context communication Offering a different perspective, seminal anthropologist Edward Hall’s (1959, 1976) lowand high-context schema focuses on differences in communication processes. Hall determines that three cultural factors affect relationships between people, namely context, time and space. Hall proposes that communication and culture are not just about words, but also about all that one can see and touch as well as the context in which these occur Hall (1976). Hall uses the concept of context to explain differences in communication styles and in the manner of communication across cultures. A context is the inextricable information surrounding an event that is bound within the meaning of that event (Francesca and Gold, 2005, pp. 33–34). A context is essentially the background, setting and/or circumstances in which communication takes place. According to Hall, cultures may be regarded as high or low context, with low-context cultures being largely individualistic and high-context cultures being largely collectivistic (Gudykunst and Ting-Toomey, 1988, p. 44). Accordingly, low- and high-context communications are the predominant forms of communication in individualistic and collectivistic cultures respectively (Gudykunst and Ting-Toomey, 1988). Hall (1976) proposes that, because meaning lies within a context in high-context cultures, there exist many contextual elements that help people understand interaction rules and meaning. People seldom convey their feelings and thoughts explicitly and there is a heightened need to interpret subtle non-verbal messages (Fay and Spinthourakis-Katsillis, 2000, p. 69). In high-context cultures, communication is understated, indirect and ambiguous, with interlocutors expecting more of each other to the extent that they should know what is bothering them (Gudykunst et al., 1996, p. 516; Hall, 1976, p. 113). Knowledge of relationships and relationship expectations is therefore key in high-context cultures as it helps en- 70 Chigwendere: interCultural CommuniCation CongruenCe in Sino-afriCan organiSational ContextS sure appropriateness and maintenance of harmony in the in-group (Gudykunst et al., 1996, p. 51). In low-context cultures on the other hand, less is taken for granted in communicating; information is mostly explicit and in the verbal code (Cardon, 2008, p. 4; Hall, 1976, p. 91; Hofstede, 2011, p. 3; Solderholm, 2013, p. 28) so that there is likely to be less chance of misunderstanding in low-context cultures. As with individualism vs collectivism, Hall’s low- and high-context schema has not escaped criticism for lacking empirical validation (Cardon, 2008). Despite this view however, a number of scholars find that it remains one of the dominant theoretical frameworks for interpreting IC in qualitative studies (Solderholm, 2013; Kittler, Rygl and Mackinnon, 2011; Cardon, 2008, p. 399). c . High versus low face needs Ting-Toomey and Kurogi (1998) suggest that while face and face-work are universal phenomena depending on the value orientation, how the meaning of face is framed and how face-work is enacted may differ across cultures (Ting-Toomey and Kurogi, 1998, p. 188). A society high in individualism will have face needs that differ from those in a society that values collectivism. There is a concern for self-face maintenance with an emphasis on the “I” identity in individualistic cultures. On the other hand, collectivist cultures are concerned with both self-face and other-face maintenance with a corresponding emphasis on the “we” identity (Gudykunst and Ting-Toomey, 1988, p. 90). 3 .1 .5 .2 Summary An understanding of the dimensions of cultural variation in communication as discussed in this section, coupled with an understanding of IC and its underlying themes, makes it possible to suggest criteria for conceptualising communication orientation and manner of communication. Furthermore, as was highlighted in Chapter 2, section 2.4, in the context of the present study, a reciprocal understanding of the cultural, behavioural and social norms in communication by interactants enables an understanding of communication orientation and the manner of communication. An understanding of communication orientation and the manner of communication in turn enhances IC awareness. 3 .2 Intercultural Communication Awareness In this section, the criteria for conceptualising communication orientation and manner of communication, both of which enhance IC awareness, are proposed. This essentially addresses theoretical objective T6. 71 ChapTer 3: ConCepTualIsIng InTerCulTural CommunICaTIon awareness 3 .2 .1 Criteria for conceptualising communication orientation and manner of communication (IC awareness enablers) Table 3.1 below presents the proposed criteria for conceptualising communication orientation and manner of communication. These criteria (also referred to as IC awareness enablers) are: values and guiding philosophies (incorporating self-perceptions), the nature of communication, the objective of communication, the degree of interaction and thinking process in communication. The columns in Table 3.1 read from top to bottom, left to right as follows: • Column A states the proposed IC awareness enablers. • Column B explains IC awareness enablers as consisting of opposing orientations on a continuum of possibilities in human existence. For example, at one end may lie an individualistic orientation and at the other a collectivist orientation as is reflected in (B-i) and (B-ii) respectively. • The dotted line with reverse arrows suggests that existence of any value orientation in each culture is neither absolute nor to the exclusion of others. Individualistic and collectivistic value orientations are therefore likely to exist in all cultures although with a greater leaning to one value orientation over the other (Chen, 2015, p. 467). Differences in culture are in degree rather than type (Chen, 2015, p. 468). Each IC awareness criterion will now be explained by referring to column names, beginning with values and guiding philosophies (incorporating self-perceptions). 72 Chigwendere: interCultural CommuniCation CongruenCe in Sino-afriCan organiSational ContextS Ta bl e 3. 1: C ri te ri a fo r c on ce pt ua lis in g co m m un ic at io n or ie nt at io n an d m an ne r o f c om m un ic at io n So ur ce : R es ea rc he r’s o w n co nt rib ut io n fr om so ur ce s A ni (2 01 3) , C he n (2 01 1; 20 15 ), D in g (2 00 6) , E at on a nd L ou w (2 00 0) , F an ira n (2 01 4) , G ao a nd T in g- To om ey (1 99 8) , H al l ( 19 59 ; 1 97 6) , H of st ed e (1 98 0) , I gb oi n (2 01 1) , K ho za (2 01 1) , K im (2 00 7) , K in ca id (1 98 7) , L ee (2 01 2) , L itt le jo hn a nd F os s ( 20 08 ; 2 01 0) , M ao m ek a (1 98 9) , M iik e (2 00 2) , M ye rs (1 98 7) , Y um (1 98 8) 73 ChapTer 3: ConCepTualIsIng InTerCulTural CommunICaTIon awareness Ta bl e 3. I ( co nt in ue d) : C ri te ri a fo r c on ce pt ua lis in g co m m un ic at io n or ie nt at io n an d m an ne r o f c om m un ic at io n So ur ce : R es ea rc he r’s o w n co nt rib ut io n fr om so ur ce s A ni (2 01 3) , C he n (2 01 1; 20 15 ), D in g (2 00 6) , E at on a nd L ou w (2 00 0) , F an ira n (2 01 4) , G ao a nd T in g- To om ey (1 99 8) , H al l ( 19 59 ; 1 97 6) , H ig gs (2 01 0) , H of st ed e (1 98 0) , I gb oi n (2 01 1) , K ho za (2 01 1) , K im (2 00 7) , K in ca id (1 98 7) , L ee (2 01 2) , L itt le jo hn a nd F os s ( 20 08 ; 2 01 0) , M ao m ek a (1 98 9) , M iik e (2 00 2) , M ye rs (1 98 7) , Y um (1 98 8) 74 Chigwendere: interCultural CommuniCation CongruenCe in Sino-afriCan organiSational ContextS 3 .2 .1 .1 Criterion 1: Values, guiding philosophies (incorporating self-perceptions) Depending on whether a cultural group is individualistic (B-i) or collectivistic (B-ii), self-perceptions may be individualistic, independent and autonomous (Eaton and Louw, 2000; Gao and Ting-Toomey, 1998; Higgs, 2010; Kim, 2007; Littlejohn and Foss, 2008; Miike, 2002) as shown in (B-i). Self-perceptions may also be contextualised, interdependent and relational, situated in communities and relationships rather than in individuals (Eaton and Louw, 2000; Faniran, 2014; Myers, 1987) – (B-ii) respectively. Further right, column C presents a corresponding continuum of possibilities in communication. C-i suggests individualistic cultures may have an individualistic focus, characterised by an individualistic, assertive and controlling manner in communication (Eaton and Louw, 2000; Gao and Ting-Toomey, 1998; Kim, 2007; Miike 2002). In addition, communication may be low context and characterised by fewer face needs. In the opposite situation, as reflected in C-ii, collectivistic cultures may have a group focus characterised by a community-centred, agreeable, relational, reciprocal, associative manner in communication (Eaton and Louw, 2000; Faniran, 2014; Gao and Ting-Toomey, 1998; Miike, 2002; Miike and Yin, 2015; Myers, 1987; Yum, 1988). Furthermore, communication may be high context with an increased need for face-saving and face-giving behaviours. 3 .2 .1 .2 Criterion 2: The nature of communication Literature suggests that individualistic cultures may have fragmented and atomistic worldviews that emphasise the importance of the individual (Chen, 2015, p. 467; Miike, 2002) as reflected in (B-i). On the other hand, collectivistic cultures may have worldviews focusing more on wholeness and unity (Chen, 2015, p. 467; Chen and Starosta, 2003, p. 5; Igboin, 2011; Miike, 2002; Myers, 1987; Narh, 2013, p. 7) as reflected in (B-ii). Further to the right, column C presents a corresponding continuum of possibilities in communication suggesting that fragmented cultures display an individualistic orientation in communication (Chen, 2015) as shown in (C-i), while cultures that focus on wholeness and unity are likely to display supportiveness, solidarity, interconnectedness and collaboration in communication (Faniran, 2014; Maomeka, 1989) as reflected in (C-ii). 3 .2 .1 .3 Criterion 3: The objective of communication As previously mentioned, the objective of communication relates to the goals of existence of a culture. At one extreme, individualistic cultures may have solving problems, confrontation, commanding and controlling as their primary aims (Berger, 2005; Chen, 2015; Chen and Starosta, 2003; Miike, 2002; Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner, 2003) as shown in B-i. On the other hand, collectivist cultures may aim to maintain harmony, relationships and the social order (Chen, 2006; 2015; Chen and Starosta, 2003; Khoza, 2011; Maomeka, 75 ChapTer 3: ConCepTualIsIng InTerCulTural CommunICaTIon awareness 1989; Metz, 2014; 2015; Miike, 2002; Myers; 1987; Wei and Li, 2013; Yao, 2000) as shown in B-ii. Cultures whose objective is to solve problems, confront, command and control, may reflect a confrontational, direct and exacting manner of communication (Chen, 2015; Chen and Starosta, 2003; Gao and Ting-Toomey, 1998). In cultures where harmony is the guidepost, communication is likely a matter of human interrelationships, reflecting in a manner of communication that may be indirect, adaptive and consensual (Faniran, 2014; Gao and Ting-Toomey, 1998; Maomeka, 1989) as indicated in C-ii. In seeking to achieve harmony and maintain relationships, collectivistic cultures have unwritten rules that guide communication, for example the maintaining and giving of face as earlier discussed. Strategies for giving face and saving face may include use of intermediaries, praising in order to give face, avoiding confrontation, giving provisional responses and engaging in a compliant manner, particularly in situations of hierarchical relationships (Cardon and Scott, 2003; Gao and Ting-Toomey, 1998). 3 .2 .1 .4 Criterion 4: Degree of interaction in communication In the context of this study, the degree of interaction varies between individual and collective quests. As is illustrated in B-i, individualistic cultures are potentially orientated to scientific, objective, logical and reductionist approaches to gain knowledge where everything has to make sense (Chen, 2015; Littlejohn and Foss, 2008; 2010). There is a propensity to dichotomise, distinguishing between objectivism and subjectivism, rationalism and empiricism with human beings seen as superior objective analysers of nature (Ani, 2013, p. 306). In individualistic cultures no single extreme is upheld at the expense of the other as there is a constant negotiation of meanings (Miike, 2002, p. 7; Chen, 1993). Consequently, individualistic cultures are labelled as truth-orientated cultures (Hofstede and Bond, 1988; Metz, 2015). Collectivistic cultures as reflected in B-ii, display a pragmatic, holistic, interconnected and associative approach to gaining knowledge (Ani, 2013; Chen, 2015; Chen and Starosta, 2003; Ding, 2006; Metz, 2015; Miike, 2002; Myers, 1987; Narh, 2013). The universe, nature, humans, and spirits are seen as existing in unison and everyone and everything becomes meaningful in relation to others (Miike, 2002, p. 7). Gaining individual knowledge is also described as an intuitive process, dependent on a cooperation of all human experiences as well as symbolic knowledge and rhythms dictated by the community (Ani, 2013; Chen and Starosta, 2003; Ding, 2006). The concern for other and behaving in a morally upright manner is evidenced in a human orientation as embodied in the Ubuntu philosophy of African culture – and a virtue-orientation, for example in Chinese cultures (Hofstede and Bond, 1988; Metz, 2015). Regarding the continuum of possibilities in communication orientation and manner of communication, C-i suggests that individualistic cultures may display less interaction and 76 Chigwendere: interCultural CommuniCation CongruenCe in Sino-afriCan organiSational ContextS cooperation than collectivistic cultures. They may also be characterised by communication that is independent, of free will and “I” focused (Chen, 2015). In the context of the present study, communication that is of the free will is that which is according to one’s own discretion without any contextual or group considerations. Moreover, in individualistic cultures, the greatest importance is attributed to the message itself in creating desired communication effects (Littlejohn and Foss, 2008, p. 5; Miike, 2002, p. 9). Reflected in C-ii is the possibility that cultures with a cooperative and intuitive approach towards gaining knowledge may reflect a contextual, relationship-based, “we” focused and prescribed communication orientation and manner of communication as per collective beliefs (Chen, 2011; 2015; Ani, 2013; Maomeka, 1989; Myers, 1987). The holistic approach of not distinguishing between the spiritual and material may also result in ambiguity in communication. 3 .2 .1 .5 Criterion 5: Thinking process and communication It is suggested in B-i that at one extreme, individualistic cultures likely follow linear independent, rational, logical approaches to thinking (Chen, 2015; Littlejohn and Foss, 2010; Miike, 2002). On the other extreme reflected in B-ii is the view that collectivistic cultures display intuitive, non-linear, cyclical, ambiguous thinking processes, where the same destination can be reached by following many different paths. In terms of the continuum of possibilities in communication orientation and manner of communication, cultures following linear independent, rational, logical approaches to thinking may adopt communication that is individual-centred, free of ambiguity, justificatory and perhaps manipulative (Chen, 2015) as reflected in C-i. On the other hand, as shown in C-ii, communication in cultures following intuitive, non-linear, cyclical, ambiguous thinking processes may be interdependent, context-focused, intuition-based and ambiguous (Chen, 2015; Ping and Yan, 2013; Miike, 2002). The manner of communication may also be ritualistic, subtle, adaptive, accommodative and unifying (Chen and Starosta, 2003). This analysis further suggests an emphasis on ethical and humanistic communicative behaviour in collectivist cultures (Metz, 2015; Khoza, 2011; Igboin, 2011; Chen, 2011; Chen and Starosta, 2003; Miike 2002; Gao and Ting-Toomey, 1998). There is an indication that value orientation of a culture group, as defined by the individualism vs collectivism dimension, has an overarching influence on the communication orientation and manner of communication. This is so because the degree of individuality or collectiveness may influence communication in being either individual- or group-focused. Depending on the nature of the focus in communication, the cultural context of communication (Hall, 1959; 1976) may also differ, thereby influencing face needs (Ting-Toomey 1985; 2005). In the next section, the relationship between IC awareness enablers, communication orientation, manner of communication and IC awareness is put into perspective. 77 ChapTer 3: ConCepTualIsIng InTerCulTural CommunICaTIon awareness 3 .2 .2 Relationship between IC awareness enablers, communication orientation, manner of communication and intercultural communication awareness Building on the relationship between communication orientation and manner of communication suggested in Chapter 2 section 2.4.1, Fig. 3.1 below posits a relationship of interdependency between the IC awareness enablers, communication orientation, manner of communication and IC awareness. Although each IC awareness enabler is discussed individually in section 3.2, it is proposed that the IC awareness enablers work together. Taken holistically and interdependently as reflected in Fig. 3.1, the IC awareness enablers facilitate the gaining of IC awareness when communication orientation and the manner of communication in each of the interacting cultures is understood. Fig. 3.1: Relationship between IC awareness enablers, communication orientation, manner of communication and IC awareness Source: Researcher’s own contribution In summary, the present study advances the proposition that simply knowing the communication orientation and manner of communication in different cultures may not be enough for managers and employees to achieve IC congruence. Apart from IC awareness, there may also be a practical need for a universal framework for comparing the manner of communication in different cultures that allows quick identification of similarities and differences to highlight areas of challenge or opportunity in achieving IC congruence. In the next section, a framework for comparing the manner of communication in Western, African and Chinese cultural contexts is identified, which addresses theoretical objective T7. 78 Chigwendere: interCultural CommuniCation CongruenCe in Sino-afriCan organiSational ContextS 3 .2 .3 Framework for comparing the manner of communication Of the many existing frameworks that could be used for comparing the manner of communication across cultures, this study focuses on those of De Vries et al. (2009), Gudykunst and Ting-Toomey (1988), Smith (2011) and Yum (1988). De Vries et al. (2009) propose six main dimensions of communication styles, namely the degree of expressiveness, preciseness, niceness, supportiveness, threateningness, emotionality and reflectiveness. From another perspective, Smith (2011) posits the existence of high versus low agreement, and high versus low consensus communication styles. In this framework, high agreement/high consensus styles prevail in collectivist cultures, while low agreement/low consensus styles are prevalent in national cultures low on institutional collectivism. Alternatively, Yum (1988) differentiates between communication patterns on four levels: communication is either process- or outcome-orientated, it has differentiated or less differentiated linguistic codes, it reflects a direct or indirect emphasis and is receiver- or sender-centred (Yum, 2015, p. 115). The dimensions for comparing communication advanced by De Vries et al. (2009), Smith (2011) and Yum (1988; 2015) have parallels to Gudykunst and Ting-Toomey’s (1988) dimensions for comparing the manner of communication. In fact, the framework of Gudykunst and Ting-Toomey (1988) as presented in Table 3.2 embodies most dimensions for comparing the manner of communication proposed in the other named frameworks and proposed IC awareness enablers. For this reason, it is identified as the most useful in the current study for comparing the manner of communication in Western, African and Chinese cultures. The Gudykunst and Ting-Toomey (1988) framework is now explained. Using Hofstede’s (1980) dimensions of cultural variability and Hall’s (1959; 1976) schema to provide explanations, Gudykunst and Ting-Toomey (1988) posit that communication styles – or the manner of communication as referred in the context of the present study – may differ in four stylistic ways. These stylistic modes are direct or indirect, elaborate or succinct, personal or contextual, and instrumental or affective, with people with different cultural orientation preferring and/or responding better to certain manners of communication over others (Gudykunst and Ting-Toomey, 1988). As reflected in Table 3.2, individualistic, low-context, low uncertainty-avoidance, low power-distance cultures show preference for a direct, exacting, personal and instrumental manner of communication. Communication is on an equal footing, informal, mostly explicit and words are articulated, with the right amount of words used to convey meaning. Goal-orientated, sender-focused messages with the goal of persuasion are especially prevalent in these cultures (Gudykunst and Ting-Toomey, 1988). 79 ChapTer 3: ConCepTualIsIng InTerCulTural CommunICaTIon awareness Table 3.2: Framework for comparing the manner of communication in different cultures Manner of communication Variation Major characteristic Cultures where found Direct versus indirect Direct Message is more explicit Individualistic, low context Indirect Message is more implicit Collectivistic, high context Elaborate versus succinct Elaborate Quantity of talk is relatively high Moderate uncertainty avoidance, high context Exacting Quantity of talk is moderate Low uncertainty avoidance, low context Succinct Quantity of talk is relatively low High uncertainty avoidance, high context Personal versus contextual Personal Focus is on the speaker, “personhood” Low power distance, individualistic, low context Contextual Focus is on the role of speaker, role relationships High power distance, collectivistic, high context Instrumental versus affective Instrumental Language is goal-orientated, senderfocused Individualistic, low context Affective Language is process-orientated, receiver-focused Collectivistic, high context Source: Adaptation of Gudykunst and Ting-Toomey (1988 cited in Francesca and Gold, 2005, p. 74) In collectivistic, high-context, high uncertainty-avoidance, high power-distance cultures, preference is for an indirect manner of communication as reflected in Table 3.2. The speakers select words to hide their true feelings. Less talking is favoured and focus is on the speaker roles. In addition, words reflect the role and the hierarchical relationship of those in the conversation. The speaker is process-orientated and receiver-focused, with the aim of putting neither the speaker nor listener in a position of discomfort (Francesca and Gold, 2005, pp. 73–75) or saving face as it were. In some high-context, moderate uncertainty-avoidance cultures, however, the manner of communication may be elaborate, and characterised by detail, repetition and at times exaggeration. This indicates that while different cultures may be labelled high-context, there may still exist differences in the manner of communication owing to the influence of other cultural variables at play. 3 .3 Summary In this chapter, various criteria (IC awareness enablers) for conceptualising communication orientation and manner of communication serving as foundations for IC were proposed and explained. Specifically, these were values and guiding philosophies (incorporating self-perceptions), the nature of communication, the objective of communication, the degree of interaction in communication and the thinking process in communication. This 80 Chigwendere: interCultural CommuniCation CongruenCe in Sino-afriCan organiSational ContextS was possible following a deliberation on themes and subthemes underlying IC, namely culture and values, communication, self-perceptions, worldviews and dimensions of cultural variation in communication. To enable a quick and universally understood comparison of communication in different cultures, the Gudykunst and Ting-Toomey (1988) framework was identified as being the most useful. This chapter together with the preceding chapter has laid the groundwork for the construction of the theoretical IC congruence framework in Chapter 4. Aspects included in building the framework are considerations for IC congruence (section 2.4), criterion for conceptualising communication orientation and manner of communication (section 3.2.1) and the framework for comparing manner of communication across cultures (section 3.2.3). In the next chapter, a theoretical IC congruence framework is proposed.

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Abstract

The global outlook of contemporary businesses has made the notion of intercultural communication effectiveness increasingly relevant as home and host country organisational incumbents seek to minimise intercultural communication challenges. From an academic perspective, despite the prevalence of theories and research that could serve as guidelines for addressing intercultural communication challenges, continued existence of these challenges in some contexts suggests potential inadequacy of such theories. Therefore, in this study, using a case of the Sino-African organisational context, several frameworks for enhancing intercultural communication effectiveness are proposed and developed. The frameworks culminate in a hybrid intercultural communication congruence framework to enhance intercultural communication and achieve intercultural communication congruence (IC congruence) in Sino-African organisational contexts. This book is a must for academics interested in theory development in intercultural communication, as well as organisational and management research in Africa. The bevy of frameworks developed and the methodological processes followed present a point of academic debate and raise numerous questions for future research. The book also provides useful insights into intercultural communication in Sino-African organisational contexts and would be of interest to managers, consultants and trainers working in Chinese organisations in Africa as well as on cross-cultural and intercultural management. In addition to introducing new concepts to the discourse of intercultural communication, the study marks the first comprehensive inquiry into intercultural communication in Sino-African business relationships in the organisational context.