Intercultural Communication in the Workplace

Topics: Linguistics, Culture, Indonesia Pages: 3 (862 words) Published: December 9, 2007
Intercultural Communication In The Workplace
There is much diversity at Canyon Springs. There are numerous ethnic groups, which include African-American, Asian descent, Mexican-American and other Spanish speaking individuals; Africans, Filipinos, Native Americans, and Indians are also included. Canyon Springs' Health and Safety Officer (HSO) is of Asian descent; she came to the United States, with her parents, from Indonesia as a teen. She completed high school in Orange County, California and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University, Fullerton. She worked at Fairview Developmental Center for two years before coming to work at Canyon Springs four years ago. Although the HSO received the majority of her education here in the United States, her first language is Indonesian and she frequently experiences language issues. As a member of Canyon Springs' Health and Safety Committee, I have first hand experience with the HSO's language issues. In meetings, when the HSO presents her reports, it is difficult to understand what she is saying; she has a strong Indonesian accent. Her written reports, as well as her emails, often contain grammar and spelling errors. Many committee members and other Canyon Springs' employees have complained, amongst themselves, that the HSO's verbal communication language is difficult to understand and that her written communications were unprofessional and reflected poorly on Canyon Springs. I am unaware of any official complaints to upper management, but I am confident that upper management is aware of the HSO's communication problems. "The reality is that language and cultural barriers and misunderstandings can get in the way of effective communication and create complications in the workplace" (Charlotte-Mecklenburg). While language barriers and cultural differences can pose additional problems and misunderstandings in the workplace, personally I do not see the HSO's culture as a problem. Many cultural nuances...

References: Charlotte-Mecklenburg (2002). Cultural Language and Barriers in the Workplace. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Workforce Development Board. Retrieved from: ., on July 2, 2007.
Kottack, Phillip Conrad and Kathryn A. Kozaitis (2003). On Being Different. New York, NY: McGraw Hill.
Whitfield, George B. (1997). Business Across Cultures: Etiquette at Work. Living In Indonesia. Retrieved from:, on July 2, 2007.
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