An Exploratory Cross-Cultural Analysis of Communication Apprehension between French and American Managerial and Non-Managerial Employees

By Yook, Eunkyong Lee | Global Business and Management Research: An International Journal, October 2015 | Go to article overview

An Exploratory Cross-Cultural Analysis of Communication Apprehension between French and American Managerial and Non-Managerial Employees


Yook, Eunkyong Lee, Global Business and Management Research: An International Journal


Abstract

Purpose: The current exploratory study examines communication apprehension of French and American managerial and non-managerial level employees. The purpose of this study is to gain insight into the similarities between communication in France and communication in the United States.

Design/methodology/approach: McCroskey's Personal Report of Communication Apprehension was used to collect information from 96 American and French workers (managerial and non-managerial). A 2x2 ANOVA was conducted to test the two hypotheses of interest in this study.

Findings: Results indicate that the non-managerial employees have higher levels of apprehension than the managerial employees, while the variable of culture is not a significant source of difference.

Originality/value: It is important for employees, employers, teachers and students to know more about communication in different cultures. It is also important for companies to be aware of differing levels of communication apprehension within their organization.

Keywords: Research paper, cross-cultural analysis, communication apprehension, superior-subordinate communication, individualism

Introduction and Review of Literature

Communication is an important aspect of superior and subordinate relations within an organization, and the culture of the interactants will color the nature of the communication. France and the United States share some cultural roots, and have valuable political and commercial ties. However, studies by anthropologists such as Hofstede (1997) and Storti (2001) have pointed out important differences between the cultures. Therefore, a deeper understanding of the similarities and differences between the two cultures in terms of organizational communication merits our attention.

Over the past few decades, a great amount of research has been done regarding communication apprehension (CA). The majority of this research has been based on McCroskey's view that CA is an individual's level fear or anxiety associated with either real or anticipated communication with another person or persons (McCroskey, 1977a, 1978). The original conceptualization of CA was advanced by McCroskey in 1970, and focused CA exclusively on oral communication. Much of the research done on CA has treated this construct as trait-like, but there has also been significant research directed at situational (or state) CA. For instance, the Personal Report of Communication Apprehension (PRCA) developed by McCroskey (1978) measures a person's CA over four situations, public speaking, meetings, small groups, and dyadic communication. Research has been done examining communication apprehension across different cultures, and research has been done on communication apprehension within organizations, but to our knowledge no one has attempted to compare the communication apprehension of managers and non-managers in France and the United States.

Previous studies have compared the apprehension about communication between Americans and many other cultures. For example, Watson did a study comparing American and Swedish children's apprehension about communication (1984). The results show that the Swedish children overall showed more apprehension. Zhang, Butler, and Pryor (1996) compared apprehension between Americans and Chinese. Using a translated version of the Personal Report of Communication Apprehension, the Chinese sample, as compared to an American sample, yielded a significantly higher mean score on apprehension about communication. These findings contradicted earlier findings (Klopf & Cambra, 1980) which compared a Chinese sample to Americans elsewhere and uncovered no significant difference. The reason for the discrepancies could be explained by the fact that Klopf and Cambra did not translate the Personal Report of Communication Apprehension scale, where the latter study (Zhang, Butler, & Pryor, 1996) translated the scale into Chinese. …

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