Communication competence of the professionals from India & Turkey.

AuthorRaina, Reeta

This paper studies the communication competence of the working professionals from India and Turkey. Both these countries have fast growing young populations and rapidly developing economies. There are significant differences between Indian and Turkish respondents, however. Indians perceive that they are easy to talk to, would not argue just to prove they are right, ignore others' feelings, do not make unusual demands on their friends and think that they are effective conversationalists, likable people and flexible. Turkish respondents treat people as individuals, are good listeners; their personal relationships are cold and distant, they try to understand other people and listen to what people say to them.


The communication competence is a multidimensional concept which has over the years constantly been changed and adapted to the context of its use. Initially, the concept of communication competence triggered varying definitions and responses from the scholars and academicians. Gradually they have narrowed down on the definition of communication competence. Lately, a consensus is built among the theoreticians on the basic content of the definition of communication competence. Initially, Chomsky (2006) identified communication competence as an ability to produce grammatically correct sentences in a language which convey the intended semantic meaning as it is. But this is the linguistic perspective on communication which is restrictive in its scope. It does not take into account how "the interlocutor perceives reality, nor the norms that govern social relationships" (Lesenciuc & Codreanu, 2012). As a result, the concept has evolved under the influence of interactionist schools and has grown beyond the realms of linguistics. Hymes (1972:284) unlike Chomsky who focused on the syntactic dimension of communication or Habermas who emphasized the semantic view, takes a pragmatic view of communication competence and defines it as a combination of knowledge participants need to make the speech in order to interact at a social level and skill set in order to be successful in communication and the right attitude that they employ by adapting themselves to concrete communication situations. Thus, the concept is redefined as the linguistic instantiation of the knowledge necessary for interaction within a given context that requires ability for the use of such knowledge. There are hosts of scholars who have, over a period of time, contributed to the definition of communication competence. For instance, Spitzberg (1988:68) defined communication competence as "the ability to interact with others with accuracy, clarity, comprehensibility, coherence, expertise, effectiveness and appropriateness". Friedrich (1994) defined communication competence as "a situational ability to set realistic and appropriate goals and to maximize their achievement by using knowledge of self, other, context, and communication theory to generate adaptive communication performances." Another definition is that the communication competence is about interpersonal communication and communication skills that specialists view as "specific components that make up or contribute to the manifestation or judgment of competence" (Spitzberg & Cupach, 1989:6). McCroskey (1982:5) attempts to clarify the importance of competence when he writes, "The domain of communicative competence includes learning what are the available means (available strategies), how they have been employed in various situations in the past, and being able to determine which ones have the highest probability of success in a given situation. Thus, it can be said that communicative competence is dependent on the context in which the interaction takes place. (Cody & McLaughlin, 1985; Applegate & Leichty, 1984; Rubin, 1985). Communication which is successful with one group in one situation may not be perceived as competent with a different group in another situation. Parks (1985:175) defines communicative competence as "the degree to which individuals perceive they have satisfied their goals in a given social situation without jeopardizing their ability or opportunity to pursue their other subjectively more important goals". This combination of cognitive and behavioral perspectives is consistent with Wiemann and Backlund's (1980:188) argument that communication competence is: The ability of an interactant to choose among available communicative behaviors in order that he (sic) may successfully accomplish his (sic) own interpersonal goals during an encounter while maintaining the face and line of his (sic) fellow interactants within the constraints of the situation. According to Widdowson (2007:25), the communication competence is not only " a matter of matching different forms of knowledge, but also a matter of complex negotiation of the common knowledge framework within which the linguistic instantiation takes place".

Based on this brief theoretical background, it can be said that communication competence can be broadly defined as a theory that seeks to understand an individual's ability to effectively convey meaning within given contexts. Each context demands different set of skills, knowledge and strategy. According to Payne (2005) for instance, communication competence in organizations involves knowledge of the organization and of communication, ability to carry out skilled behaviors, and one's motivation to perform competently. Similarly, intercultural communication competence (ICC) demands for an ability to negotiate cultural meanings while efficiently and appropriately transferring information, namely as the identification and evaluation of multiple identities in a specific communication environment. Therefore, to meet the various communication contextual challenges, the scholars and academicians together have identified some components of communication competence, which are widely accepted and which include grammatical competence, discourse competence, sociolinguistic competence, and strategic competence.

Why This Study

Globalization and informatization has triggered intercultural communication across the globe. Communicating with other cultures characterizes today's business, classroom and community (Gitimu, 2012). Thus, intercultural communication competence is becoming more relevant in the increasingly multicultural communities that we live in. It is obvious that the art of knowing how to communicate in a globalized and technologized social context should be a workplace skill that is emphasized. Targowski and Metwalli (2003) viewed this millennium as era that global organizations will increasingly focus on the critical value of cross-cultural communication process, efficiency and competence and cost of doing business. Working with colleagues, customers or clients from different cultural backgrounds, with different religions, values, and etiquettes can occasionally lead to problems. The potential pitfalls cross-cultural differences present to companies are extensive (Raina, 2012). Cross- cultural differences manifest in general areas such as in behavior, etiquette, norms, values, expressions, group mechanics and non-verbal communication. These cross-cultural differences then impact management styles, corporate culture, marketing, HR etc.

Lately, international business in India grew manifold at the rate of 7% annually. The performance of the stock market in India in comparison to the other international bourses, has drawn all the more attention of the international business organizations and multinationals. It is attracting people from different geographical locations- the US, UK, Europe, Africa, China, Japan etc. especially in the present regime. Therefore, it...

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