13.3 Deepening Cultural Understanding

In technical writing, it is further important to understand cultural communication because, like other cultural systems, organizational culture controls the behavior, values, assumptions, and beliefs of organizational members. It is a combination of organizational members’ own beliefs and the values, beliefs, and assumptions of the organization. It is the role of the organizational leader, as a change agent, to help create a positive organizational culture that meets the demands of a competitive environment, board and shareholder expectations, and employee career satisfaction.

As a professional communicator in contemporary society, you need to be aware that the very concept of community is undergoing a fundamental transformation.

Try this

Think about two different times you have been part of two different communities concurrently (for example, even different classes in the same term). What were some of the differences in how communication functioned in the respective environments? What affected those differences? Subject? Instructor? Peers? Style of class?

Intercultural and international business communication has taken on a new role for students as well as career professionals.

Global business is more than trade between companies located in distinct countries; indeed, that concept is already outdated. Intercultural and international business focuses less on the borders that separate people and more on the communication that brings them together. Business communication values clear, concise interaction that promotes efficiency and effectiveness. You may perceive your role as a communicator within a specific city, business, or organization, but you need to be aware that your role crosses cultures, languages, value and legal systems, and borders.

However, it is important to know we are still working with human constructs. From the building we erect that represents design values to the fences we install that delineate borders, our environment is a representation of culture, but it is not all that is culture.
Culture involves beliefs, attitudes, values, and traditions that are shared by a group of people, as well as the psychological aspects of our expectations of the communication context.

Try this

Pick an assignment from this class that you think might fit for a cultural revision. This might be something you do as an individual or something you select from work a colleague has done.

  1. Through research, discussion, or any other method, select a culture that you will want to amend this piece of communication for. In other words, change the culture of the primary reader of your communication.
  2. Revisit Chapter 2 “Audience Analysis” from our Technical Writing book.
  3. Conduct any other research that will allow you to learn more about the changes you might need to make to better allow your new primary reader to take action.
  4. What would you change about that document to fit a primary reader from a different culture?


This chapter was written by Billy Merck, Portland Community College, and is licensed CC-BY 4.0.


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Technical Writing Copyright © 2017 by Allison Gross, Annemarie Hamlin, Billy Merck, Chris Rubio, Jodi Naas, Megan Savage, and Michele DeSilva is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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