Intercultural Communication in the Workplace

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This essay will address an American multinational corporation's staffing of a new regional sales office in Bangkok, Thailand. Particular attention will be paid to communication difficulties between the American and the Thai employees, a diagnosis to help explain why this particular communication problem arose, and some proposed strategies for ensuring more effective intercultural communication in the future.


There were minimum grade point averages established as well as minimum levels of English-language proficiency. In addition, all hires were expected to have at least five years of relevant sales and marketing experience. In all, there were to be eighteen local hires in Thailand. These staffing standards were established at a meeting six months previously at the corporation's Los Angeles headquarters. Present at that meeting were the Vice President for Human Resources, his assistant, and a Thai national hired to run the regional headquarters in Bangkok. The staffing standards were communicated orally and in a formal written set of job descriptions. The Thai national had graduated from a reputable American university, had worked for the corporation in Los Angeles for six years, and spoke English fluently. There appeared to be no problems until profiles of the proposed new hires in Thailand were sent to Los Angeles for confirmation. In short, the American Vice President was not happy.
He was not happy because the minimum standards for screening and hiring new employees in Thailand were ignored. The proposed hires did not graduate from reputable universities; indeed, three were graduates of a police college. ...
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