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Cross-Cultural Communication: Concepts, Cases and Challenges By Francisca Norales ...

Chapter 1:  Communicating Within a Multicultural Workforce
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Cross-Cultural Communication:

Chapter 1

Communicating Within a Multicultural Workforce

Francisca O. Norales

More and more companies consider the diversity of human resources as an important, if not the most important, business issue. Companies such as Bell Atlantic, American Express, and Ford have implemented programs to address the issues and advantages of a culturally diverse workplace (Klimey, 1997). According to surveys conducted on the issue of workplace diversity, a resounding majority of businesses support and promote a more culturally diverse workforce (Pinkerton, 1995). This essay provides an understanding of the multicultural U.S. workforce, and analyzes the relationship between culture and communication.

The Importance of Effective Business Communication

The workforce in the United States is composed of people from Canada, the Caribbean, Latin America, Africa, India, and Asia. People from various ethnic backgrounds, such as African Americans, Caribbean Americans, Latin Americans and Asian Americans, bring their own language and culture to the workplace. Good communication is needed more than ever before in today’s highly competitive marketplace. Today’s consumers have greater knowledge of the value of various competing offerings. Effective communication may be the most important competitive advantage that firms have to meet diverse consumer needs on a global basis.

The global nature of our economy cannot be denied. An increasing number of companies have offices and factories around the world. To sell $200 million worth of appliances in India, Whirlpool adapts appliances to local markets and uses local contractors who speak India’s several languages to deliver appliances. According to Arndt&Engardio (2001), Diebold manages and owns automated teller machines (ATMs)