CROSS-CULTURAL COMMUNICATION: A PRACTICE ICAPABLE OF BECOMING SCIENCE

  • The authors:
    Gregory Herbst
    Larissa N. Talalova
  • Issue: July 24-26th, 2019
  • Pages: 591-598
  • Section: DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES IN CONTEMPORARY SCIENCE COMMUNICATION: PROBLEMS AND PERSPECTIVES
  • URL: http://conference-ifl.rudn.ru/591-598/
  • DOI:
    10.22363/09669-2019-591-598

Abstract. From the period of the 60s with its Hofstede’s survey crosscultural communication being a relatively minor and oft-neglected field in
cultural studies has attracted increased attention within academicians and
gained popularity as a subject up to nowadays. This is a result of growing
needs and available opportunities as experts and businessmen find it
increasingly necessary to develop communication techniques that bridge
disparate cultures. Global technology expansion, the interconnectedness of
the globalized economy has made such contact constantly more common.
Experts such as Richard Lewis, Richard Craig, Fons Trompenaars, Kory
Floyd, etc. have expanded the field and categorized cultural differences to
aid in communication. The refinement of communication has a clear-cut
goal to solve problems that transcend cultural borders. Despite the essential
nature of its application, the practice of cross-cultural communication
appears to be limited from being considered a science or serious field of
research. There are three main arguments that consist of a methodological
basis, a definitional basis, and an empirical one. Firstly, “communication” is
a nebulous and ill-defined term that differs in meaning according to contexts
of technical field and cultural background. Additionally, communication is
not an entity that exists itself but rather is an informational link between two
separate entities. Therefore, communication can be studied only through the
lens of separate fields that relate to these entities. Lastly, communication
cannot meet the criteria of a science through the Scientific Method owing to
the lack of a controlled experiment. Cross-cultural communication therefore
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DOI: 10.22363/09669-2019-591-598
cannot exist as a “hard science” without a substantive transformation.
Communication is a process by which information is exchanged between
individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, behavior. This
vague definition is divided into numerous categories depending on field of
study and its use. According to Richard Craig, they can be summed into
seven traditions: rhetorical, semiotic, phenomenological, cybernetic,
sociopsychological, sociocultural, critical. Each of these differ radically by
process of handling distinct aspects of communication with unique goals in
mind. As consequence, their research process is also at odds in procedure.
This divide is exemplified by the difference between the field of
cybernetics, established through mathematical theory of communication
such as that by Claude Shannon and critical theory, which derives from a
more philosophical and ideological basis. (according to Craig). It is the hope
of Craig that such setbacks may be overcome and that eventually a unified
“metadiscourse” concerning all seven traditions could exist. A united
metadiscourse encompassing communication may, nonetheless, prove
untenable given the vast area involved. Some forms of communication are
different from other forms. Cybernetics handles precise bits of information
that are transmitted and received by machines; the goal is to reduce random
variance in order to maximize the flow of information. In contrast, the
political theory of communication considers the use of political tools,
verbal/nonverbal, to sway an audience emotionally. The difference in use
and nature of information between these fields is insurmountable. Artificial
intelligence is capable of using and interpreting words to some extent and as
well as audiovisual context, but outside speculation it is unlikely that
machines could ever adopt a sense of “otherness” that the field of
phenomenology necessitates. For human being communication is a simple,
thoughtless process, but a computer requires internal communication loops
of its own in order to process an external message. Sensory input must be
transferred cybernetically through circuitry to determine an adequate
response based on conditions. Such heuristic processes are efficient in
transferring logical information, but they lack the intuition and emotional
attachment that a human being provides. Therefore, cybernetic forms of
communication are evidentially a class apart from more social and
subjective forms.
Keywords: communication theories, cultural dimensions, epistemology.

Gregory Herbst1, Larissa N. Talalova2
1
Ningbo University, Ningbo, China, e-mail: gregherbst97@yahoo.com
2
State University of Management, Moscow, Russia,
e-mail: talalova@gmail.com
ORCID ID: 0000-0003-1380-2339

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