Psychology Wiki

Assessment | Biopsychology | Comparative | Cognitive | Developmental | Language | Individual differences | Personality | Philosophy | Social |
Methods | Statistics | Clinical | Educational | Industrial | Professional items | World psychology |

Social psychology: Altruism · Attribution · Attitudes · Conformity · Discrimination · Groups · Interpersonal relations · Obedience · Prejudice · Norms · Perception · Index · Outline

Cross-cultural communication (also frequently referred to as intercultural communication) is a field of study that looks at how people from differing cultural backgrounds endeavour to communicate.

Origins of the discipline

The application of cross-cultural communication studies began post World War II. Its use was originally found within businesses and the government both seeking to expand globally. Businesses began to offer language training to their employees. Businesses found that their employees were ill equipped for overseas work in the globalizing market. Programs developed to train employees to understand how to act when abroad. Current cross-cultural training in businesses does not only focus on language training but also includes focus on culture training.

Interdisciplinary orientation

Cross-cultural communication tries to bring together such relatively unrelated areas as cultural anthropology and established areas of communication. Its core is to establish and understand how people from different cultures communicate with each other. Its charge is to also produce some guidelines with which people from different cultures can better communicate with each other.

Cross-cultural communication, as in many scholarly fields, is a combination of many other fields. These fields include anthropology, cultural studies, psychology and communication. The field has also moved both toward the treatment of interethnic relations, and toward the study of communication strategies used by co-cultural populations, i.e., communication strategies used to deal with majority or mainstream populations.

Global rise of cross-cultural communication studies

While the study of cross-cultural communication is a long established field in the US, it is fast becoming a global research area. As a result, cultural differences in the study of cross-cultural communication can already be found. For example, cross-cultural communication is generally considered to fall within the larger field of communication studies in the US, but it is emerging as a sub-field of applied linguistics in the UK.

As the application of cross-cultural communication theory to foreign language education is increasingly appreciated around the world, cross-cultural communication classes can be found within foreign language departments of some universities, while other schools are placing cross-cultural communication programs in their departments of education.


The main theories for cross-cultural communication are based on the work done looking at value differences among cultures, especially the works of Edward T. Hall, Geert Hofstede, and Fons Trompenaars[How to reference and link to summary or text]. Clifford Geertz was also a major contributor to this field[How to reference and link to summary or text].

These theories have been applied to a variety of different communication theories and settings, including general business and management (Fons Trompenaars and Charles Hampden-Turner) and marketing (Marieke de Mooij, Stephan Dahl)[How to reference and link to summary or text]. There have also been several successful educational projects which concentrate on the practical applications of these theories in cross-cultural situations.

These theories have also been criticised mainly by management scholars (e.g. Holden, Nigel) for being based on the culture concept derived from 19th century cultural anthropology and emphasising on culture-as-difference and culture-as-essence[How to reference and link to summary or text]. Another criticism has been the uncritical way Hofstede’s dimensions are served up in textbooks as facts[How to reference and link to summary or text]. There is a move to focus on 'cross-cultural interdependence' instead of the tradititional views of comparative differences and similarities between cultures. Cross-cultural management is increasingly seen as a form of knowledge management[How to reference and link to summary or text].

See also

Prominant academics

External links

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).