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Understanding Cultural Differences in Communicating Key to Preserving Workplace Harmony
Tina Varughese - tWorks

Farmscape for February 8, 2016

The president of tWorks says an awareness of the different communication styles used in different cultures will go a long way toward preserving harmony in an increasingly culturally integrated workplace.
The increasing number of foreign born workers coming into the Canadian swine industry is changing the landscape in terms of the workforce.
Tina Varughese, the president of tWorks Alberta, told those attending the 2016 Manitoba Swine Seminar last week in Winnipeg different cultures communicate differently with people coming from countries such as the UK, the Netherlands, Germany and the U.S. considered to be very direct communicators with those coming from Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines being very indirect communicators.

Clip-Tina Varughese-tWorks Alberta:
So I think the biggest possible problem that you could see in the workplace is the differences between direct communicators and indirect communicators.
For example, using the Filipino example again because there are so many Filipinos working in our swine production facilities in Canada, they are considered indirect communicators.
What that means is that a yes might ultimately mean no or it might mean maybe.
It doesn't necessarily mean yes and the reason for that is they're trying to keep harmony, they're trying not to offend so they try to say yes even though the answer might be a no.
That can be very confusing for somebody in Canada who's very used to a no means no and a yes means yes.
That can really cause issues if you didn't know that people had a different communication style depending on where they're coming from and a lot of people don't know that so what they initially jump to is a misperception, they might be angry, irritated, annoyed at the workplace and it can really cause a lot of issues that way, particularly with employee engagement and moral if people are being misunderstood.
So it's just really important to understand even that difference exists amongst people because, if you didn't even know it exists, you would be very quick to be offended.

Varughese notes Canadians tend to be right in the middle in the spectrum of indirect versus direct communication styles.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork

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