Inercultural Communication Class
April 27, 2010 6:59 PM   Subscribe

I need some help putting together a brief presentation/ class on intercultural business communication, specifically between the US and India. What good online resources are there? (unfortunately I don't have time to order & read a book.)

I work for a US company that has a sister company in Bangalore. I've been out there, and have also attended a day long cultural training course. I need to do a concise version of this training course for my colleagues who work directly with the Bangalore office.

I've done a bunch of research on India as a country - history, demographics, geography etc, but my data on how best to approach and deal with intercultural communication issues, and how to understand the different power dynamics at play in the typical Indian "West-facing" business environment is a bit thin.

What are the best places to look for this kind of information, which I accept must be generalized to a certain degree.
posted by forallmankind to Work & Money (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: How brief? How many slides?

Intercultural Communication studies is a large field. The Wiki article is actually decent enough with keywords and phrases to be helpful especially the Theory section BUT it is missing David Victor and the LESCANT model.

The topic is large what areas, in particular, did you want to focus on and what context?
posted by jadepearl at 7:24 PM on April 27, 2010

Best answer: I dunno, but you might want to look into polychronic vs. monochronic time management.
posted by hannahelastic at 7:33 PM on April 27, 2010

Response by poster: I'd like to focus on how to deal with problems like; that folks in India tend to work well with direct instruction, but not so well with "use common sense" issues (for example, if we provide 90% of what they need for a project they won't start until they have 100% vs get going with what they have), or that folks in the US don't/ can't understand that a simple request which would get them what they want in their own environment might not be so easily executed because of management hierarchies etc
posted by forallmankind at 8:40 PM on April 27, 2010

Go to your local book store and take a look at the book "Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands". There is a good sized section on business and personal culture as compared to the US.
posted by MsKim at 8:54 PM on April 27, 2010

This is so unofficial that I hate to even mention it, but if your company is related to software engineering/programming, you might want to read this Reddit topic. Ignore any posters who are immature or rude, but read the first-hand experiences of a lot of programmers. There are a lot of suggestions about how to structure incremental checkpoints and how to ask for status updates.

Just from my own experience, if you (an Amerian) are offering advice to the team in India, and you say: "If I were you, I would ... (call the supervisor, create a document, whatever)" they hear it as if you said "I will (do whatever) for you".
posted by CathyG at 9:46 PM on April 27, 2010

Remember, prepone is a word in India. As in "The meeting was at 10:00 but it has been preponed to 9:30".
Should be a word in "english" english, but it just isn't.
posted by conifer at 9:57 PM on April 27, 2010

>Go to your local book store

Also your library may have resources on this; drop by and ask a reference librarian.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:28 PM on April 27, 2010

Best answer: Before grinding down to specific processes that are mentioned in Reddit (anectdotal) then I suggest using the LESCANT model to get an overview of context. Here is a PDF slide set describing LESCANT pretty decently and breaking down communication topics that have special pertinence to business such as, concept of time. I steer you to LESCANT because it is business communication oriented and successfully borrows from deeper theorists in communication and cultural anthropology.

LESCANT will let you get a bigger picture overview and help categorize specific incidents, topics, techniques and best practices in your presentation and more importantly, question/answer time. Be sure to have handouts that are good take-aways NOT just a blurry set of your slide deck but actual, helpful information to aid communication successfully on all sides of the project discussion.
posted by jadepearl at 4:55 AM on April 28, 2010

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