This fall the course BUS310 Cross Cultural Business Communication is being offered for the first time in the International School of Business. The objective of the course is for students to be able to communicate effectively across cultures. During the course, the students learn about the different ways in which communication can be affected by cultural differences. They are also introduced to some of the more influential theories, such as Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, that focus on culture’s effect on value systems.
According to course instructor and ISB Dean Kevin Manninen, “whether living abroad, travelling on business, or merely working regularly with ex-pats and immigrants, it’s important that business professionals understand the important role that culture plays in communication.”
In order to learn first hand from an organization that deals with cross-cultural issues on a daily basis, the students recently visited Evergreen Technologies, a Chinese firm based in Hancock. The company is developing water treatment technologies primarily for the Chinese market. During the visit, students learned about the firm’s operations and had a chance to meet with the firm’s American and Chinese employees.
The staff emphasized the importance that language and culture plays in its daily operations. Not only does the staff have to communicate effectively, they regularly interact with their Chinese parent company, Futianbao Environmental Protection Company, and other international organizations. Evergreen business manager Pete Makin emphasized that there are major differences in culture and communication styles between Americans and Chinese. He further noted that “with the proper level of understanding and awareness, these differences can be dealt with and any difficulties can be overcome.”
Other plans for the course include students participating in a workshop with Finlandia’s English as a Second Language (ESL) students. Most of the ESL students are from Japan, with additional individuals from India and the Czech Republic.Tags: Evergreen Technologies, Pete Makin