Cross-Cultural Communication

What difficulties in communication do cross-cultural workers face? How can these best be addressed in various settings?

Posts tagged individualism
Cultural Schemas Shape Identity and Influence Language

By Sheryl Silzer

When people receive the Scriptures in their language for the first time, they interpret the message through their previous knowledge and experiences. If the new information is not understandable in relation to what they already know, the Scriptures may not impact or change their lives. A major challenge for Bible translators coming from a scientific worldview is the ability to recognize how their scientific worldview may fit in and even promote the magical worldview of the receptor language speakers (Harries 2011, 18). Early missiologists linked this clash of worldview to a lack of applicability of the Gospel message (Hesselgrave 1978, 68; Kraft 1978, 94; Dye 1987, 39).

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Material Things in the Context of Relationships in the Non-Western World, Especially Africa.

by Jim Harries

Western thinking, shaped by years of compulsory education dominated by “Western dualism,” is preconditioned to view material reality as superior to spiritual, secondary understandings. Globalized education carries this materialistic approach far beyond the geographical boundaries of European peoples and their descendants’ “homelands” (i.e. North and South America, Australia, and so on). This thinking explains the nature of physical reality following “laws” of chemistry, physics, geography, maths, and to a lesser extent biology, history, physical education, business studies, and so on. The acceptability of infiltration of these concepts by individuals and communal societies does, however, differ according to levels of receptivity by the peoples concerned.

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Cross-Cultural Conflict Management

by May Nor Clara Cheng

Interweaving with stories of her cross-cultural experiences in three countries, Cheng contends that the context of conflict management is the emotional wholeness of a cross-cultural worker. One of the two starting points of cross-cultural conflict management is self-awareness of the impact of one’s national character in their personality, especially in relevant to individualistic and collectivistic cultures. The other one is the understanding of the conflict dynamics and the issues in cross-cultural conflicts. For cross-cultural workers from an individualistic cultural background, the core lesson is to move their social life and conflict management from a self-centered orientation towards more of a communal life orientation.

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Who Decides and How? The Challenge of Decision-Making in Intercultural Ministry Teams

by Donald Moon

Members of intercultural teams bring with them their cultural preferences or biases about many things, including leadership styles and how decisions are made. Misunderstandings and conflict were nearly inevitable when team members operate, often unknowingly, from their cultural preferences.  Their different ideas about what they consider the correct way to make decisions is a key indicator of their cultural type.

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Reflection: Cross-Cultural Interaction: Partnership with Chinese Workers

by Sam Yim

The concept of human development is different for East and West. For example, I heard of a Hong Kong pastor who worked with American missionaries to do church planting in Hong Kong. They started from zero and gave him five years to be independent. It meant this Chinese worker would not receive any financial assistance from the Western mission group after five years. When the time was up, the Chinese worker requested that the new church needed to have more time to be independent, but the negotiation failed as plans were fixed. The Chinese church viewed the Western group as selfish and that they were being forsaken too early. Therefore, any partnership needs both parties to dialogue and both parties need to be willing to adjust.

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