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Cultural-based Communication Barriers

Wednesday, March 31, 2021
Author: Business Consultants, Inc.

Cultural-based Communication Barriers

Speaking a different language isn't the only reason that hinders communication in the workplace, some cultures and subcultures can clash in terms of communication. For example, in some cultures it's not common to use direct language. In fact, being too direct or blunt may be considered rude, especially toward a supervisor or manager. Employees from certain cultural backgrounds may expect to be asked for their opinions and will not simply offer them up, even when their peers speak freely and directly.

Body language, gestures and symbols can all carry different meanings from culture to culture as well. Be especially mindful of these nuances when communicating with international partners. It's helpful to hire a cultural liaison to coach your employees in key cultural differences in order to avoid embarrassing faux pas in these situations. Although your international colleagues may tolerate a few blunders, it's a sign of respect to learn about their culture and communicate in a way that makes everyone comfortable.1

Different cultures, whether they be a societal culture of a racial or simply the work culture of an organization, can hinder developed communication if these different cultures contradict, and definitely this would affect the employees and the organization’s performance.

1Cathy Habas 2020, accessed 15th of January 2021,


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