Intercultural Competence in Business

Cultural studies are rapidly developing and influencing every sphere of activity nowadays so that different approaches have been applied to the understanding of what intercultural communication is. Living in the intercultural society in the period of globalization presupposes incessant interaction with diverse representatives of one’s nation, so the interpersonal connection is a key to embracing different perspectives and interpretations. The business sphere has become a sphere where intercultural interaction is valued the most, especially now, when the world is subjected to rapid changes. Even though representatives of one culture tend to prioritize their own interests, it is essential to transit other culture’s needs and views to establish effective communication.

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The materials posted in the International Journal of Business and Social cover the broad audience: from international scholars to students, from businessmen to self-employed. This journal is explicitly topical as it gives extended and trustworthy information concerning social sciences, economics, management, psychology, cross-cultural studies, etc.

One article posted in this journal under the headline Transition in Intercultural Communication Competence: Business Communication between Japanese and Americans was written by an associate professor from Kansai Gaidai University, Junko Kobayashi. It was published in 2019, which proves to be relevant as new information concerning cultural studies is always highly demanded by people studying diverse cultures, intercultural business, and communication. Specifically, it is clear that American culture affects Japanese and vice versa.

This paper examines American and Japanese business people’s transition into intercultural competence over time. Moreover, the research’s purpose is to identify differences in conducting business in both cultures, determine what impediments lead to failures, and learn how to cope with them. The article also answers the questions of how these nations regard and concede each other to make their business transactions more efficient.

The primary method for detecting these points was interviewing among random representatives of each country: 21 Americans and 24 Japanese. People interviewed directly deal with food, banking, transportation, IT businesses. The KJ method was applied to analyze the data received. According to Kobayashi (2019), this method helps to organize qualitative data by blending separate concepts through naming, chart-making, card-making, or grouping. Its purpose is to synthesize different data to create factors.

The result of the research conducted showed the transition on times, implying that the number of people working in IT, or food industries increased, and Japanese more vigorously started to hire Americans. Kobayashi (2019) stated that there are significant differences between Japanese and Americans, concerning the priority of personal life and sticking to the rules according to the Japanese.

It denotes that Americans prefer to spend time with their families rather than complete their assignments, whereas the Japanese prioritize the job done. Secondly, the American tendency of self-promotion turns into an attempt to overrate their skills, which is neglected by the Japanese. Holliday (2019) explains it as statements about culture, i.e., how people position themselves and reveal genuine qualities. Moreover, Japanese people stated that Americans do not accept the oral agreement and follow only the written ones. The Japanese employers also noted the complexity of securing employment and pointed out that Americans take a lot of things for granted (Kobayashi, 2019).

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On the other hand, American reps also mentioned the cultural differences observes while working with Japanese. The first distinction they found was in the uncertainty avoidance that regarded Japanese cautious and deliberate decision making. The second difference concerned communication styles implying that Americans expressed whatever they had on mind while the Japanese preferred to say what other people wanted to hear.

It is conditioned by the fact that the Japanese prefer indirect communication styles when Americans speak from an individualistic stance (Nakayama & Martin, 2017). The third point Americans claimed to be different is the customers’ taste-Americans prefer handy things.

There were different approaches represented towards finding a compromise in conducting business between these two nations. Empathy was the key to understanding the perspective of a person from diverse cultures as well the past failures that led to future revelations. Japanese working with Americans tried to compliment them on raising their enterprising spirit, whereas Americans working with the Japanese tried to be subordinate when criticizing them.

Thus, the result of the experiment showed that there is a great possibility to establish stable business relations basing on the interviewed people’s experience. These interviews more or less help to contribute to creating a better world and building understanding between nationalities. On the other hand, the research was mainly conducted among American and Japanese males, so there was not enough information on how to deal with females in business. So, this question remains unanswered and up to reflections.

In conclusion, it is necessary to mention that intercultural communication is a crucial source of globalization, and people should be able to connect with other nations to develop every sphere of society. Cultural variations should not put a stop to interaction but to teach people to see new perspectives and ideas, and turn them into life. Thus, only people can comprehend the importance of respecting the needs and views of a person from a different country, accept them, and sometimes even concede.


Holliday, A. (2019). Understanding intercultural communication: Negotiating a grammar of culture. NY: Routledge.

Kobayashi, J. (2019). Transition in intercultural communication competence: Business communication between Japanese and Americans. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 10(4), 167-172.

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Nakayama, T. K., & Martin, J. N. (2017). Critical intercultural communication, overview. The International Encyclopedia of Intercultural Communication, 1–13.

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