Communication in a Global Workplace:Issues and Challenges


Batta, N. W.


The paper highlighted the role of communication in the growth of the global workplace and revealed many benefits of the global workforce among which are fostering deeper connections among customers and employees, leveraging on cultural differences to better understand customers in countries outside an organization's core business. It also brought to bear pertinent issues such as the need to effectively incorporate communication technologies, address cultural diversity as well as adopt effective cross-cultural communication styles. Challenges that workers in the global workplace grapple with such as stereotypical perceptions, language barriers, technological dependencies, and limited face-to-face interactions were also identified in the paper. Consequently, the paper advocated the need to be well equipped with communication skills such as defining clear roles and responsibilities, establishing clear channels of communication as well as leveraging technology to surmount these challenges and survive in the multicultural global workplace. The paper adopted the Communication Accommodation Theory which emphasizes the tendency of humans to adjust their behavior while interacting (communicating).


Global workforce, Communication, Globalization, Cultural Diversity, Organizational communication


When in (1998) Townsend and his colleagues wrote on Virtual Teams: Technology and the Workplace of the Future, they were foretelling the global workplace. According to them, a group of technologies including desktop, video conferencing, collaborative software, and internet/intranet systems will converge to forge the foundation of a new workplace. This new workplace will be unrestrained by geography, time, and organizational boundaries; it will be a virtual workplace where productivity, flexibility, and collaboration will reach unprecedented levels. The global workforce is becoming increasingly prevalent due to this potential.


There is no gain saying the fact that global workspaces are brought about by globalization. Globalization is described by Tomlinson (1997) cited in Miller (2006) as the rapidly developing processes of complex connections between societies, cultures, institutions, and individuals. Changes in business practices, development of modernization programs to help meet new challenges, and liberalization of markets, are in Miller's (2006) view, the outcomes of globalization. Further, the nature of work has undergone a transformative shift, transcending geographical boundaries and cultural landscapes. The advent of a global workspace has brought about a paradigmatic change in the way communication is perceived and practiced within organizations. As the multifaceted realm of organizational communication is considered, the scholarly works of Antos (2011), Cheney (2011), and Keyton (2010, 2011) provide a rich foundation for understanding the intricacies of interpersonal dynamics, the impact of globalization, and the role of communication in shaping an organizational culture of the global workspace. Moreover, the organizational communication landscape within a global framework is intricately discussed by scholars such as Cheney (2011) and Canary (2011). The issues and reflections presented in these works shed light on the evolving nature of communication structures and practices, emphasizing the need for adaptability and a nuanced understanding of cultural contexts. Keyton's (2010, 2011) invaluable insights, presented in case studies and discussions on organizational culture, offer a lens through which we can examine real-world scenarios and their implications for communication strategies in a global workspace. As we navigate the complexities of modern organizational dynamics, Keyton's work becomes an essential resource for unraveling the multifaceted interplay between communication practices and the development of organizational culture.


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