There are several components of a successful enterprise. One of them is effective communication between managers and employees. Corporate communication is generally defined as “a process of sending and receiving messages with attached meaning to achieve business results”. Communication within an enterprise shapes its culture and helps in achieving set goals. Regardless of the type of organization, communication works as a sustainable factor that helps in maintaining relations within it.
Scholars state that successful organizations are characterized by active collection and processing of information which is needed to create and deliver effective messages. The presence of feedback (or response) is an indispensable part of the communication process within a company. Feedback can be expressed even through non-verbal behavior, but the value of it might be explained by the fact that depending on the response, the sender of the message may alter their strategy. It is equally important to establish an effective feedback process in both directions, from managers to the personnel and vice versa. The most informative type of response is 360-degree feedback gathered from multiple sources. The absence of feedback would lead to some serious failures in the company’s organization and immediately affect its performance.
Prudent communication strategies also help resolve conflict situations between employees. As every company presents a unity of people with different personal features and positions, conflicts within a group are inevitable. At the same time, the knowledge of communication strategies and their skilful application can reduce the severity of any controversy. The goal of the paper is to analyze the way various communication behaviors can affect working relationships within a company based on the quality of feedback and psychological well-being of employees. Two cases of changing communication strategies are going to be investigated in order to illustrate the point.
Communication is one of the most important characteristics of human society. It has been calculated that nearly 70 per cent of waking time of an average adult is devoted to communication of different kinds. Listening, speaking, reading, and writing, all together or with the predominance of one of the components, compose a significant part of human life. Communication may take place in various conditions, but corporate communication as a means of achieving business goals is in focus of modern communication studies. Notably, for business professionals, the amount of time spent communicating increases as compared to average adults and constitutes about 80 per cent of the day. The knowledge of various communication strategies and its skilful implementation by business partners and employees of different ranks within a company becomes an integral part of business success. In order to apply this knowledge appropriately, it is important to understand the way communication works.
Notably, with the exception of some specific environments, the process of communication is rather universal and designed in such a way that it inevitably embraces several stages and participants. It is important to mention that a problem at any stage may lead to an ineffective communication act. Xavier mentions that principles of the basic communication model are universal enough to be applied both in personal and corporate environments, involving small and large groups of people and sometimes the whole organizations. According to her, constituents of the basic communication model are presented by a sender, a receiver, a message, and a communication channel, thus embracing individuals involved in communication, the transmitted information, and the media of the transference.
The scientists cited by Xavier generally agree that noise is an indispensable part of the communication process. In this regard, adding two sources of noise, for the sender and for the receiver, Phillip G. Clampitt proposed his theory of the typical communication model. Xavier proceeds that a key to successful communication is in acknowledgement and understanding of the roles performed by the variables. It is also important to pay attention to the fact that the basic communication model implies a certain structure which cannot be characterized as linear, oriented in both directions with extremities, but as such having a circular nature. This reflection reveals another important intermediate component of communication, which is feedback. It is considered that the message sent by the sender will eventually result in the form of feedback from the receiver. A peculiarity of feedback is that it is not necessary for it to be verbal. It can take forms of altered attitudes and behaviors in response to the received message.
In some cases, non-verbal feedback is more efficient and can help produce more results than its verbal form. In manager-employee relationships, the presence of feedback is essential. It serves as a measuring instrument for the effectiveness of the message, so it becomes a goal to be achieved in order to succeed. Clearly, different employees provide various feedback. This notion will be more directly addressed in the subsequent sections of the paper.
The classification of messages
Scientists in the field of communication pay much attention to the classification of messages. Adler et al. maintain that almost all statements can be divided into two types: content and relational messages. The first group focuses on a subject that is discussed. These messages are the most obvious and demand practically no deciphering efforts. Every communication implies the presence of verbal and non-verbal relational messages, “which make statements about how the parties feel toward one another”. The emotive component can be both of explicit and implicit nature. Obviously, messages with the most complex structure are those combining factual and affective information. For organizational communication, it is important to learn to recognize both layers of information that are present in messages. This is especially important for those employees who are prone to seek any kind of feedback from their managers.
Processing of a message plays an important role in communication. It can be influenced by a lot of factors. For instance, cognitive abilities of people are so developed and fast that often they already form a response in their mind before actually listening to the full question. Adler et al. also discover the way in which information is stored in memory and state that 65% of a message is already gone within 8 hours after the conversation. This fact reveals a rather limited capacity of an average mind. Therefore, the sender of the message should consider making it as concise, clear, and emotive as possible in order for information to be delivered to the receiver in the full measure and for it to be remembered afterwards.
Scholars also mention that the sender of the message needs to be aware of the type the receiver belongs to. They warn against the so-called “stage hogs” (also referred to as “conversational narcissists”) who do not have other interests except for expressing their own ideas. Such conversation holders do not care about communicational needs of the other party. Therefore, no matter how skillfully the message is formulated, waiting for their feedback might become a rather disappointing experience.
Communication studies by Adler, Rosenfeld and Proctor II
The book by Adler, Rosenfeld, and Proctor II presents a valuable theoretical groundwork for communication studies. As the professors of communication maintain, it is “built on a pedagogical approach that has successfully helped students obtain better understanding of communication in the ‘real world’. The authors developed a manual devoid of scholarship or scientific complexity which might be difficult to understand for first-time students. At the same time, the scope of presented theoretical material and its layout are unprecedented. Besides, the way it is composed is informative and easy to understand. Activities presented at the end of chapters have practical significance in the acquisition of necessary communication skills. Therefore, the book presents an effective introduction to interpersonal communication studies. Despite its focus group, Interplay: The Process of Interpersonal Communication would be of great aid to everyone, including representatives of companies.
The important role of noise in the process of communication cannot be underestimated. According to the meaning of this word, noise is a factor which is present in communication and alters it in a way that a message is not always transferred to the receiver in complete accordance to the sender’s intentions. The fact that some scientists tend to substitute the term “noise” for “cultural context” proves that there are a lot of reasons for the receiver to misunderstand the message.
Gudykunst et al. emphasize the role of context in communication by stating that the most effective interaction tends to occur with people who have a common cultural background with the sender. This issue in their research is investigated from the point of view of cultural characteristics of all national groups with their subsequent division into those which maintain individualistic features and those which support a collectivist approach. According to these and other features, the scholars offer to differentiate between high- and low-context communication styles. In order to define a person’s mode of communication regarding the context, they have also designed a measuring scale with polar and intermediate characteristics. Thus, the sender of the message should always be aware of the context in order to predict and prevent misunderstanding. This issue can also be applied to cultural management, as it was implemented by Xavier, which will be discussed in further sections of the paper.
Tara Dixon and Martin O’Hara: investigating communication skills
They view communication as an active process prone to various complexities and offer ways to solve them. Just like Xavier, the scholars refer to the circuitous nature of this process. They give detailed definitions and descriptions of all parts of the communication process. Dixon and O’Hara state that messages have the form of signals and symbols; they can be divided into visual, auditory, tactile, and olfactory. The authors claim that not all of the types can be used in interpersonal communication. Concerning the channel, it is maintained that communication practice develops the skill of choosing such methods of message transmission which will satisfy the sender’s intention to the fullest. According to the scholars, a certain degree of noise and, thus, distortion in the communication process cannot be avoided.
Apart from the constituents, it is also necessary to define functions of communication. They are especially important to recognize when it comes to the corporate environment, for communication consultation largely depends upon the fulfillment level of these functions. Thus, communication performs four major functions within an organization: task, maintenance, human, and innovation. The human factor, that is, interpersonal communication, seems to have the most important impact on the overall performance of employees and their job satisfaction.
Adler et al.: why communication is so important to people as social beings
They maintain that there is almost a physical need to interact with other people in every human being. Moreover, lack of communication may trigger a whole set of somatic and psychological diseases. It is stated that people need various number of social contacts and that “the quality of communication is almost certainly as important as the quantity”. Therefore, this gives reasons to once again emphasize the significance of clearly stated messages and provision of comprehensive feedback.
Business people should also remember that in the process of interaction, it is equally important to achieve set goals and satisfy one’s communicational needs. The scholars also maintain that communication is important for the purposes of shaping the identity of people. Through communication as a part of socialization, people are able to realize who they are. In explaining social needs satisfied by communication, the authors refer to six categories: pleasure, affection, inclusion, escape, relaxation, and control.
The authors sadly mention that with the development of civilization, the character of social interaction has changed for the worse: There is a definite tendency towards weakening of social ties. Perhaps, communication in the business sphere remains the only domain in which interactions are brisk. Therefore, the quality of communication in the workplace cannot be disregarded. This reveals a very important finding for the present research: Even in the organizational environment, it is crucial to fulfill one’s need of interaction. With limited social contacts in modern life, communication at work becomes a source of self-expression, and, therefore, satisfaction of one’s needs.
The final purpose of communication mentioned by Adler et al. is the fulfillment of practical needs. After all, advanced communication skills are one of the priorities while applying for a job and achieving success in life. Even if some theorists in somewhat exaggerating manner assess relationships with others as a main goal of human existence, it cannot be disregarded that communication does play an important role in human life.
With regard to organizations, there exists another dimension of communication which is worth mentioning: flows of communication in the corporate environment. Horizontal communication is one of the types of communication flows within an enterprise and it concerns “communication between employees at the same level in the organization”. It is opposed to the vertical one dealing with communication between employees of different hierarchical positions in a company. According to Richmond and McCroskey, vertical communication can be divided into two categories, upward and downward, with the former directed from employees to the upper management and the latter – vice versa. These subdivisions of corporate communication present one of the key notions of the paper.
Feedback as an Element of Effective Communication
One of the signs that communication is successful is the presence of feedback. Bearing in mind that feedback can have various forms, the mere fact that it is present is already a positive factor. With the help of it, the sender can evaluate the level of understanding of the message. Dixon and O’Hara mention one of the peculiar forms of feedback, which is “self-monitoring”. This method can be implemented in order to alter one’s own behavior on the basis of responses of others. It appears to be a very useful feature in an enterprise, for it allows employees to accommodate their responses to the needs of the management and improve the performance of the organization. The level of mastery of self-monitoring can reveal the level of a person’s efficiency as a participant of communication.
Moreover, the Irish scholars mention that the meaning of a message is not inherent; the transferred information finds its realization only by the interpretation of senders and receivers. As a result, the meaning attributed to the feedback is an important factor that should not be neglected.
Feedback is an important element of all communication situations. The definition of this communication phenomenon as “receiver’s observable response(s) to the sender’s message” can already introduce its most important characteristic: Feedback must have some clear manifestations, regardless of the fact whether it is verbal or non-verbal. Even without any special education, people are to a considerable degree apt to decipher non-verbal messages at the intuitive level. Therefore, when any signs of feedback cannot be detected, there are grounds to suppose that it is not manifested at all. Such situations are very rare, for human beings are apt to show at least some emotions or have a kind of a verbal response as a reaction to certain information.
Feedback can be subject to categorization. There exist some kinds of feedback that are more informative than others in corporate communication. One of the most acknowledged forms of feedback in corporate communication is 360 degree feedback. It is claimed that such a type of response has “emerged as one of the most used interventions of recent years for leadership development”.
The principle of 360 degree feedback is based on collection of information about an employee only from their immediate work surrounding, that is, from their colleagues and managers. This tool enables to analyze the attitude towards the employee’s performance in the most comprehensive way. Naturally, 360 degree feedback researches are especially important for representatives of management, for they help them elaborate new administrative strategies. Notably, the results of some studies indicate that the process of interpersonal corporate communication and the qualitative aspect of an employee’s working life and even performance are facilitated after the conduction of a 360 degree feedback research.
According to some scholars, the provision of “constructive, effective and assertive feedback to the others” is one of the most difficult tasks in communication. It is emphasized that responses should be honest. Therefore, the question of feedback misinterpretation arises, as people are often reluctant to express their negative attitude towards some ideas. It is obvious that critical feedback may trigger a conflict, and many people are not willing to face confrontation and will do their best to avoid it. In this case, there appears a fear of giving any feedback. However, it is a law of communication that sooner or later the truthful response finds the sender of the message.
Effective feedback-giving strategies
According to them, a response should be delivered in person and be specific, yet sensitive. It should also offer a solution in order for the message sender to improve their communication skills. A feedback-giver should focus on the message, not the sender, thus, being unbiased, no matter how difficult this may be. In the same way, feedback should provide rather a description than an evaluation. In order to get a truthful response, the sender of the message should indicate their openness to criticism. Feedback should also be well-organized in terms of time considerations, for it is no use providing a late response. Finally, the sender of the feedback should also elaborate their responsive message and pay attention to the clarity of information, as well as to its structuring. It allows concluding that mastering of the rules of effective feedback summarized in the work by Dixon and O’Hara might to a great extent facilitate the process of corporate communication and turn it into a positive experience for both parties.
In the corporate environment, it acquires special significance. During the process of interpersonal communication, managers and subordinates constantly generate feedback to each other’s messages. Although a lot of corporate communication studies are dedicated to defining effective methods of obtaining feedback from subordinates, it would be incorrect to say that one party in organizational communication demands more responses than the other. Perhaps, the core of this phenomenon is in personal characteristics of staff members and also in the specifics of an enterprise. Some employees need feedback on their performance or statements, while others have got accustomed to relying on their work experience and do not expect their performance to be assessed.
It is understandable that managers need to get responses to their messages from subordinates in order to shape their administrative line of behavior. The benefit of feedback is that it allows improving communication skills, for it serves as a signal tool of the quality of the message. This process works in both directions. A negative feedback is a sign that the message was not understood properly and that it should be restructured for a better effect.
A range of strategies of feedback processing
One of them is the so-called “sounding boards” technique. It is based on the approach of test feedback and is often used by modern managers. It has the following representation: A certain number of employees are selected to form an “advisory” group, and the manager delivers to them a preliminary scope of information, which is later to be distributed to all other subordinates. The reaction of the “sounding board” is then processed for the effectiveness of the message delivery. In the case of a negative feedback, the manager can even refuse to deliver the information. When the feedback is positive, it becomes incorporated into the strategy of conducting corporate meetings.
It is also possible to use the results of the test speech delivery during negotiations. Certainly, this approach incorporates a fair degree of arrogance, but at the same time it emphasizes how important it is for the management to have their messages delivered clearly. The very reference to this technique is a sign of an elaborate approach to downward communication. Therefore, it is another manifestation of the importance of feedback for corporate culture.
Giving and receiving as notions adjacent to feedback do not have the same weight in the communication process. It has been noticed by some scientists that a great number of the most successful negotiation practices are based on discovering needs of the other party in the context of the present meeting and striving to fulfill them in order to build a stable basis for future business relationships. Chamoun and Hazzlett refer to it as to the “TraDEAbLes” strategy, which is a notion coined by them. The authors connect the offered theory with the psychology of giving supported by them.
In their article under the same title, they maintain the idea expressed earlier in their book Negotiate like a Phoenician. They actually state that the art of successful negotiation which reveals effective feedback was resorted to by this ancient nation that was able to sustain its achievements due to the business model, which became part of its everyday life. According to the scholars, the manner in which the Phoenicians treated their neighbors was truly altruistic. Chamoun and Hazzlett actively resort to Johari windows with Service, Benevolence, Ministry, and Therapy categories to illustrate their point. The first and the second Johari quadrant represent the sender; the third and the fourth – the receiver; and the intersection of “self” and “others” present ways of interpreting situations. All the quadrants are filled with various qualities, and their position means the state of recognition of qualities by the parties. The following figures represent the adopted version of the Johari window for the theory of Chamoun and Hazzlett (pp. 157, 159):
The scientists claim that the traditional model of interpersonal communication can be subject to altering due to the fact that senders and receivers improve their listening skills, receive feedback, and as a result get new information. The scholars maintain that feedback is crucial in assessing the variables of Tradeables in a proper way.
The idea of the scholars implies that a shift in relationships may generate positive results for both parties and facilitate the progress of these relationships. The scientists define the roots of this mode of conduct, and it is stated that they date back to the times of St. Thomas Aquinas and are based on the elevation of “common good over private gain”.
Chamoun and Hazzlet: the role of empathy
Chamoun and Hazzlett explore the notions of giving, reciprocity, and empathy in detail. They are supported in their views by Robert Cialdini who goes as far as to ascribe the success of some developed societies to the fact that they were consistently guided by the reciprocity rule. He argues that “sophisticated and coordinated systems of aid, gift giving, defense and trade… bring immense benefit to the societies that possess them”. Given such an enthusiastic assertion of the psychology of giving at the general scope, it is not difficult to imagine what a positive effect it can exert on interpersonal communication of the smaller scale, including the one conducted in enterprises.
The role of empathy in the findings by Chamoun and Hazzlett is reflected by its beneficial character with regard to both parties in communication. The scholars maintain that empathy should be mutual in order to promote the creativity of both the sender and the receiver and make them strive for the best outcome of the negotiation. Mutual empathy helps in coping with the urge for personal success only. The most successful businessmen realize that in order to get what they want, sometimes it is necessary to yield. Perhaps, yielding should not be absolute; it can take various forms. However, the first step to a good result is hidden in the ability to perceive arguments of the other side, to actually listen to them, process, and respond in a corresponding way.
According to Chamoun and Hazzlett, reciprocity without resorting to changes in behavior is unlikely to promote the success of negotiations. They state that “placing the relationship above business” contributes to the establishment of mutual empathy and develops the feeling of connectedness. In such a model, meeting the needs of each party can be characterized as the most effective option. Their theory maintains that both a positive reputation and stable relationships can be built with the help of their Tradeables relying on feedback. These findings are rather valuable with regard to corporate culture and constitute one of the core theories of the paper.
Communication always takes place within a certain cultural and national context. Thus, the efficiency of feedback depends on how well participants of intercultural communication manage to put their ideas into words. The context itself may become a barrier to communication.
Noise as a significant distorting factor cannot be ignored either. It can considerably worsen such communication features as accuracy and effectiveness. Noise can be a psychological barrier, for different people interpret the same message in various ways. A very important kind of noise is the semantic one, as it embraces the whole scope of cultural and language differences between participants of communication. Dixon and O’Hara maintain that effective communication implies understanding of a range of factors, such as “basic values, motives and assumptions of the other person”.
Also, the scholars emphasize the role of the word choice in the success of the communication process. This idea supports the whole concept that thoughts have a symbolic interpretation, and the latter can vary greatly due to the forces which are beyond control of the sender and the receiver, the ones of linguistic peculiarities. Interpretation of the world expressed through the language is based on a lot of factors; it evolves together with a national culture. Ways in which people of different cultural and linguistic backgrounds can approach the same notions are truly hard to imagine, taking into consideration a language picture of the world as a whole. Thus, misinterpretations in the cross-cultural environment are a common phenomenon.
The environment in which communication takes place can also contribute to the distortion of a message, the scholars continue. Demographic factors, for instance, age and gender of the sender and the receiver, can also exert influence on the quality of communication. This issue is closely connected with a psychological predisposition during the communication process. Physical and mental disabilities can also become inhibitors of successful communication.
Finally, Dixon and O’Hara mention the last type of noise in their classification, the organizational one. It can be caused by some imperfections in the organization of an enterprise. Notably, the scholars mention that personal factors do not play such an important role in the situation as economic ones. In particular, they maintain that even if the management is not sufficiently resourced, it will immediately act as a noise agent and deteriorate the general performance of an enterprise. Thus, it can be summarized that a lot of noise factors distort the communication process and are hardly changeable. It gives reasons to suggest that within an enterprise, in order to reach corporate communication of a high level, it is important to know how to deal with such differences between the sender and receiver. Various communication strategies like negotiation and persuasion are designed to help eliminate distortion of this kind at least to some extent. They are to be discussed in subsequent sections of the paper.
Cultural barriers to communication are especially palpable in the working environment, so they demand the keenest attention. Individualism and collectivism as national specific communication characteristics mentioned in the study by Gudykunst et al. were not the original idea of the authors. Nishimura, Nevgi, and Tella, who investigated cultural identity of Finland compared to India and Japan in regard to communication, mention that they were the ones to apply their own measuring methodology to the theoretical background offered by Hall at the end of the 1950’s.
The work of the group of the scholars was also preceded by Geert Hofstede who investigated similar phenomena. The idea offered by the prominent Dutch psychologist in his book on corporate culture implies the presence of certain cultural dimensions relevant to the study of communication barriers. He believes that country cultures differ according to five dimensions which include binary oppositions presented in the categories of individualism- collectivism, power distance, uncertainty avoidance, femininity-masculinity, and the area of long-term orientation. The power distance dimension is defined as the attitude towards an unequal distribution of power. Uncertainty avoidance reveals tolerance to ambiguity. The masculinity-femininity dimension deals with representations of gender in behavior and defines the extent to which national groups are characterized by “assertiveness and competitiveness versus modesty and caring”.
Reasons for assessing a certain culture as being apt to the categories of individualism or collectivism are defined by the scholar as “degrees to which individuals are integrated into groups”. Long-term orientation defines whether society is a careful tradition-keeper or can easily accept some cultural changes.
Hofstege: the theory of communication
Hofstede also argues that there exist societies with loose connections between people, with opposite to them being those “integrated into strong, cohesive in-groups, often extended families”. It is understandable that the notion of “family” has a broad meaning from this viewpoint, and it is supported by the idea that Hofstede often approaches families, organizations, and other groups of people as similar social entities. According to the division into dimensions, the world can be divided into certain culture areas. The scholar himself identifies the relevance of his findings to the corporate communication study. He maintains that organizations on a daily basis face issues arising from collaboration of staff members who are carriers of various culturally influenced mental programs.
Hofstede begins the study of culture with regard to the theory of communication with the definition of values which he presents as “a broad tendency to prefer certain states of affairs over others”. Values can be activated in various situations, but all of them represent core elements of culture. Values become the grounds for defining cultural dimensions which constitute the main findings in the works of the scholar.
The scholar’s methodology is also worth mentioning. He used the results of the survey conducted within 66 IBM subsidiaries during a six-year period, stretching from the end of the 1960’s till the beginning of the 1970’s. Naturally, every subsidiary was located in a different country. There were an unequal number of respondents in the countries, and only six of them were presented by more than a thousand people. With application of a statistical analysis to provide scores of the countries, the scholar came to the conclusion that every territorial and national entity can be characterized differently from the point of view of four dimensions which tend to be “largely independent”. At the same time, all the respondents had some common features in their attitudes. This was interpreted by the scholar as a sign that there are reasons to speak about organizational culture. Definitely, Hofstede states, some corporate values are implanted into all employees of the same company; however, for a successful business process including effective communication, it is necessary to recognize national differences of all members of the staff. With these issues addressed adequately, the chances of increasing job satisfaction become higher.
The organizational culture defined and explained by Hofstede
As a component of corporate communication, the organiztional culture is connected with the purpose of the paper. The Dutch scholar maintains that cultural dimensions find their local reflection in every corporate culture. As he suggests that organizational cultures differ on the basis of practices applied in them, he delimits “six dimensions of practices” pertaining to them. As well as cultural dimensions, they are based on the principle of binary oppositions and include: “process-oriented versus results-oriented”, “employee- versus job-oriented”, “parochial versus professional”, “open versus closed system”, “loose versus tight control”, and, finally, “normative versus pragmatic”. Obviously, it requires time for an organizational culture to be elaborated in order to be classified according to each of these groups. Naturally, senior management represents the central source of the organizational culture. Its representatives shape it according to their own values, and employees need to adjust to the type of the culture existing in the organization. If an employee feels psychologically secure within a certain organizational culture, their communication needs are met, then the work performance and inner comfort of this individual would be at a high level. On the other hand, however, divergence of opinions between managers and subordinates can lead to serious and constant conflicts, especially when communication in the company is hindered by the national factor.
The Dutch scholar uses an interesting example to demonstrate culturally related values. Hofstede’s study revealed that there is a great discrepancy between the scores of American managers and those from other countries for the realization of the famous Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. He states that this theory was based on the culture pattern characteristic of American middle-class citizens (to whom the author belonged himself). The jocular explanation of this fact given by the Dutch scholar reads: Maslow “could not have done otherwise”. At the same time, Hofstede warns against manifestations of ethnocentrism in cross-cultural studies.
The question of language as barrier to communication
They are closely connected with cultural barriers. Moreover, a culture can often be identified through language. Here Hofstede mentions a famous theory supported by a lot of linguists: Words and categories of a person’s native language define the way this person thinks. Therefore, numerous conflicts and misunderstanding in organizations can be explained by this factor. The situation with language being a communication barrier is exacerbated by the fact that the picture of the universe is so wired into the brains of a native speaker that in order to change it, there is no other way than to actually learn the language of the counterpart. However, the genealogical proximity of modern languages makes it possible to transfer the meaning of every concept absent in the language of the addressee by means of circumlocution. Then the scholar explains the importance of translators as carriers of culture for his study. Further, circumlocution will be mentioned as a part of numerous influence, persuasion, and negotiation tactics. The fact that paraphrasing can be used in order to facilitate the effectiveness of the communication process proves the interconnected character of the components of interpersonal interactions.
Hofstede as a scientist is very consistent. None of the findings of the following years and decades compromised the initial outcomes of his research. He continued his cultural studies. In 2010, in a new edition of his book written in co-authorship with Michael Minkov, the psychologist added another dimension to define cultural areas, that of indulgence and self-restraint, as well as proceeded with his research on different levels of data selection. Notably, Hofstede differentiates between two divisions of culture: The first one is synonymous with “civilization”, while the other one constitutes our “mental software” and, therefore, can be characterized as national culture. Such a definition is relevant to the consistent line of thoughts supported by the scholar: He believes that “people carry “mental programs” which are developed in the family in the early childhood and reinforced in schools and organizations”. Culture is considered to be a constituent of this program.
There is a definite collision between society and an individual in Hofstede’s division of cultural expressions. Investigation of the dimensions of communication by the influential scholar is gradual and composed of the findings of several decades. This fact proves that this branch of science develops dynamically and constantly provides new perspectives for research. As one can see, the existence of such polar characteristics may become a serious communication barrier, especially in the corporate environment in which people tend to come from the whole variety of cultural backgrounds.