Cross-Cultural Communication

From: free-extras

You have recently hired a new baseball coach from South America. He will be an excellent asset to your program. However, after a few weeks you realize that he is struggling with the policies and procedures of the department. You are not sure why he has not come to speak with you. After all, you told him you have an open door policy.

You decide to call him in and explain everything. As you discuss the Athletic Department’s structure and organization he nods along and appears very grateful. You deem the meeting a success. However, after another couple of weeks nothing has changed and he still appears to be struggling.

As you reflect on how you would approach this problem consider two things:

  1. Culturally diverse employees may not ask for help or clarification when they do not understand. In some cultures, asking for clarification is avoided because it is considered impolite, especially when talking to a supervisor or elder.
  2. Apparent displays of understanding (head nodding) may mean, “I hear you” not “I understand you.” Among many limited English speakers, respect for authority, fear of the inability to express the need for clarification results in a show of understanding, when in fact, the employee does not understand.

On October 3rd, 2015, posted in: MAIN

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