Impact of Globalization on Organizational and Multicultural Communication

Impact of Globalization on Organizational Communication

In a global environment the ability to communicate effectively can be a challenge. Even when both parties speak the same language there can still be misunderstandings due to ethic and cultural differences. Over the last decade, there have been countless examples from the business sector that demonstrate how poor communication can lead to poor organizational performance. Understanding the impact of globalization on cross-culture communication is imperative for organizations seeking to create a competitive advantage in the global market. Recent economic challenges further highlight the need for organizations to develop the internal communication capacity necessary to control and monitor external threats. As society becomes more globally connected the ability to communicate across cultural boundaries has gained increasing prominence. Global businesses must understand how to communicate with employees and customers from different cultures in order to fulfill the organization’s mission and build value for stakeholders. The use of technology has had a profound impact on how businesses communicate globally and market their products and services. However, with the advancements in technology organizations must still be cognoscente of the culture nuisances that can potentially present obstacles in trying to increase profits and market share.

Connecting with people on the other side of the world is now much easier than it was a few years ago. Satellites, fiber-optic cables and the internet make it effortless to share information with those in different time zones and locations. Global communication is directly affected by the process of globalization, and helps to increase business opportunities, remove cultural barriers and develop a global village. Both globalization and global communication have changed the environmental, cultural, political and economic elements of the world.

Increased Business Opportunities

Many companies today hire employees that are located in other countries. Using communication vehicles such as video calling make it simple to converse with colleagues across the globe, almost making it feel as if they are in the same room. Technology also makes it easier to connect with suppliers and customers all over the world, and to streamline those relationships through improves ordering, shipment tracking and so on. With this kind of communication technology, many businesses are able to take advantage of opportunities in different countries or cities, improving the economic outlook on a global level.

Thanks to global communications, information itself can be transferred as a valuable business asset from one country to another. This has the effect of making everyone’s operations more modern and efficient, regardless where they are located.

Fewer Cultural Barriers

Many people perceive culture to be the root of communication challenges. When people from two different cultures try to exchange information, the way they speak, their body language or their mannerisms can be interpreted differently by the other person. The way people approach problems and how they participate in communities is all influenced by culture.

Globalization has made it possible, for example, for someone in Japan to understand how someone in the U.S. goes about their day. With television and movies, cultural barriers are becoming less prevalent. Being able to communicate effectively and frequently with colleagues or friends across the planet helps people understand each other’s cultures a little better.

Creation of a Global Village

You’ve likely heard of the phrase “global village,” coined by theorist Marshall McLuhan. Affected both by globalization and global communication, the global village is created when distance and isolation no longer matter because people are connected by technology. Wide-spread telephone and internet access have been life-changing for many people across the world, especially those in developing countries. Many are now enrolling in universities across the world without having to leave their desk chair. Virtual assistant jobs are becoming commonplace, where employees from developing countries work with companies in North America or Europe, providing administrative support and other business services that can easily be conducted over the phone or via the internet.


Travel hardly remains anyone’s dream for long – it easily becomes one’s reality with so many options and opportunities to move around, from one country to the other. It could be just for a holiday, a break from the norm. It could be to obtain better education, for a better profile, job and income. Or it could be for business, wanting to expand or build relations outside. Whatever it is – to succeed, develop in personal or business terms or simply “be better” they all seem to converge into a term we all may be familiar with, and that is ‘going global’.

But, what does it mean to go global, or be global? To visit a foreign country, you may require translation services to understand a foreign language. But in most countries to date, the common traveller no longer worries too much if they already write and speak good English. For further ‘international’ education, it is necessary, or rather, compulsory, to be able to communicate and understand everything in the English language. The same applies in business, where you can only build trust and partnership abroad only if you understand fully what is going on… And how would you be able to, if everyone doesn’t speak the same language?

Yet, why the English language? Is it because it is easiest to understand, or is it a result of historical ’cause and effect’? Is it dependent on which country has the current steady stance in the economy, or simply the subconscious takeover and absorption of popular culture, through films, songs and the lives of ‘Hollywood’ or English-speaking celebrities that have been, and still is so widely commercialised?

The reason really is probably the combination of all those possible reasons above. Even more so, it is not hard for anyone to deny that with a certain language, a certain culture or personal trait is carried with it. For example, globalised businesses such as McDonalds or Starbucks have brought about the culture of fast food consumption and standardisation of food and drink choices that it hardly makes a difference if you visited their outlets in many other parts of the world.

Even though this is the case, it is really an ideal and not the reality of life. We live with a few generations amongst us at any given time, and arguably, there will always be a need to hold on to specific beliefs, practices or traditions. This is to say that going global does not mean a cultural takeover all together. As much as we feel the need or necessity to converge and make all things ‘common’, we will also find the need to hold on to our sense of belonging, amongst family and people. For example, when you have been away from home and family for so long, without practice of even just your language, wouldn’t you feel disconnected from your grandparents when you do decide to visit them on one occasion then?

The beauty of every language is that each has a unique way of expressing objects or feelings that other languages would not be able to capture completely, or compensated with a string of many other words to describe one or two puzzling foreign words via translation services. This is something global businesses have picked up upon to make it work – again, with simply McDonalds as an example, while you may find the standard menu, in Muslim countries you will not find bacon burgers, and portions and celebration menus (such as The ‘Prosperity’ burger in conjunction of Chinese New Year are all dependent and based on its locality. And of course, any promotional bids and advertisements would be done in the Standard English, and the local language, to cater to everyone.

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