Cross Cultural Communication

Table of Content

The following paper discusses the differences and similarities between American and Bahraini communication styles. Various countries have unique interpretations of every issue, influenced by their cultural background and mindset. American culture is characterized by individualism, equality, competition, freedom and privacy, action orientation, directness, particularity, and a problem-solving approach.

Religion and local customs play a significant role in Bahrain, as well as other Arab countries. Nevertheless, the Bahrain constitution distinguishes itself by being relatively progressive when compared to neighboring Middle Eastern nations. In today’s interconnected world, effective communication across diverse cultures has become crucial due to the rapid expansion of international businesses. Thus, it is increasingly essential for us to understand individuals from different countries and cultures beyond our own.

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Interactions between individuals from different cultures can be challenging due to differences in cultural background and perspectives. These disparities in thinking, perception, and interpretation can result in varying understandings of the same words, even among speakers of the same language. Furthermore, when language barriers necessitate translation, misunderstandings are more probable. Drawing from my personal experience working in Bahrain prior to coming to the United States, I can assert that each culture possesses its own unique norms and standards.

Extensive research has been conducted to assist individuals in understanding and maintaining effective intercultural communication. In the United States, people are considered equal and receive fair treatment in all aspects of life. Similarly, Bahrain’s constitution emphasizes equality for all citizens. However, it is clear that members of the royal family and wealthy individuals have the power to act without facing consequences. They have full control over the legal system and consistently ignore its rules. The American dream revolves around achieving success, a goal that has attracted many immigrants and is deeply ingrained in subsequent generations of American youth.

Everyone desires success in America, making it a highly valued aspect of American life (Nussbaum, 2005, para 2). Similarly, individuals in Bahrain also aspire for success, but they often seek assistance from skilled individuals to achieve their goals in business. Generally, they prefer to delegate tasks to qualified foreigners rather than working themselves. Significantly, the concept of success is strongly influenced by the belief in fate and divine intervention. In this perspective, God plays a crucial role in determining outcomes, surpassing human abilities.

Moreover, gulf countries governments provide comprehensive support to their residents throughout their entire lives. Hence, individuals do not prioritize the pursuit of success as it can be achieved effortlessly. Americans highly value their independence and personal space, preferring to be left undisturbed. They do not appreciate external interference, unsolicited advice, or attempts to control their lives. This principle extends to accepting and respecting diverse lifestyles; if you enjoy opera and I prefer country music, that is perfectly acceptable.

According to Nussbaum (2005, par 3), it is acceptable if someone wants to get married while someone else prefers to live with their partner without getting married. However, in Bahrain, the situation is different as there is a lack of freedom and privacy. The older generation tends to interfere in the lives of younger people, wanting to pass on their experiences through advice. This leads to younger people feeling inexperienced and often being forced to follow the directives of their parents. On the other hand, American people value action and do not favor excessive planning.

The sentiment of indecisiveness and potential time waste is evident here. Disliking restrictions and guidelines that hinder progress is a prevailing attitude. Averse to hierarchical systems mandating multiple notifications, they firmly oppose such authoritative structures (Nussbaum, 2005, par 6). Conservatism characterizes Bahraini individuals, harboring aversion towards unforeseen circumstances. Consequently, meticulous planning becomes a common strategy to mitigate potential difficulties. Additionally, making decisions unilaterally is rare as seeking advice from others is the norm. Furthermore, their societal customs are incompatible with impromptu actions or occurrences.

Americans generally follow rules, but they often view them as someone else’s perspective on how things should be done. They might believe that the rule was appropriate in a different situation but may not be suitable for their current situation. Consequently, they may disregard the rule and pursue their own ideas. While Americans acknowledge the concept of rules being breakable, they never suggest that laws should be broken. Laws hold an official legal status, and Americans proudly assert that in their country, no one is exempt from obeying them (Nussbaum, 2005, par 9). On the other hand, in Bahrain, individuals with popularity tend to comply with rules to avoid the possibility of being detained.

However, the royal family and the wealthy individuals are not concerned about regulations or laws as they continuously violate them without facing any repercussions. Overall, setting up a business in Bahrain is a simple process. The Bahraini government actively aims to attract more foreign direct investment, particularly from the United States and western nations. Conversely, based on my personal observations, individuals from Southeast Asia and Africa have no rights. For instance, certain private firms expel foreign employees without providing them with the rightful payment for their previous work.

America may be an exception that proves the rule regarding the benefits of a secular state and a religious government. It would be simplistic and inappropriate to assume that the same combination would function in the same way for all other countries. For instance, in Bahrain, the entire nation appears to be a conflict zone between Sunni and Shia Muslims. Moreover, if you intend to engage in any business activities in America or Bahrain, it is crucial to consider the complete range of communication aspects, including:
* Language: English language is exclusively used in America.

In Bahrain, Arabic is the primary language for written and spoken communication. However, English is commonly used when communicating with individuals from outside the Middle East. Non-verbal communication follows a similar pattern in both Bahrain and the United States. Americans prefer written forms of communication like emails or letters, while in Bahrain, face-to-face discussions often follow written proposals.

The importance of time differs greatly between America and Bahrain due to their respective economies. In America, time holds significant value because of its active and expanding economy. Time is seen as equivalent to money, and wasting time is considered as detrimental as wasting money. Americans prioritize punctuality and view lateness as an insult. On the other hand, people in Bahrain generally have a more relaxed approach to time management and frequently expect delays without prior notification.

Personal space also varies between Americans and those in Bahrain. Maintaining distance during interactions is not highly regarded by Americans but it is considered crucial in Bahrain as a sign of respect.

In America, women have nearly equal opportunities in all aspects of life. However, in Bahrain, despite the Constitution guaranteeing gender equality, women still encounter restrictions due to religious and traditional practices. Despite having high levels of education, Bahraini women face limited employment options.
As a customary greeting in America, people often say “Hey, how are you doing?” and expect a brief response like “pretty nice” or “good” (Nussbaum, 2005). Conversely, traditional male greetings in Bahrain involve exchanging kisses on each cheek; however, handshakes are more common during business meetings. Businesswomen should wait for a man to initiate the handshake.
Both America and Bahrain allow the consumption of alcohol.
Most Americans prioritize success, money, and time over God. Although there is a minority within American culture who prioritize God above all else.

Paraphrased and unified version:

In terms of gender equality, while women in America enjoy almost equal opportunities across various aspects of life compared to men; In Bahrain they experience limitations influenced by religious beliefs and customs despite constitutional guarantees. Even though Bahraini women possess high levels of education their employment prospects remain restricted.
Greeting conventions differ between these two countries as well: casual greetings among Americans usually involve an exchange such as “Hey! How are you doing?” followed by concise responses like “pretty nice” or “good” (Nussbaum 2005). On the other hand traditional male greetings in Bahrain include cheek-kissing but handshakes prevail during business encounters where it is expected for female professionals to wait until initiated by a man.
Alcohol consumption is allowed both in America and Bahrain.
While most Americans value success,money,and time over religious devotion,a minority segment within American society prioritizes God above all else.

Individuals play a crucial role in achieving success, as opposed to relying solely on God. In Bahrain, religion greatly influences daily life and business practices, with strict dress codes enforced for both genders despite hot weather conditions. In contrast, American employers have diverse dress policies that range from formal suits to allowing employees the freedom to choose their own clothing. The internet has played a significant role in fostering global business growth over the last twenty years by enhancing communication methods and connecting people worldwide.

With the advent of the internet, people from different cultures can now conveniently participate in discussions and conduct business transactions. However, a common problem arises when individuals from diverse backgrounds interpret ideas differently, potentially causing conflicts in communication due to cultural contradictions. Communicating with people of various cultures is generally difficult. To ensure successful intercultural communication, it is important to study the history, language, religion, traditions, and values of other nations.

Furthermore, the key to successful intercultural communication lies in possessing goodwill, honesty, and respect (Najafbagy, 2008, par3). To sum up, American and Bahraini cultures differ in several areas. American culture emphasizes individualism, equality, success, and personal control of surroundings. In contrast, Bahrain aligns with other Arab nations by placing importance on religion and traditional values within society. Essentially, comprehending diverse cultures is essential for achieving effective intercultural communication.


Najafbagy, R. (2008). Problems of Effective Cross-Cultural Communication and Conflict Resolution. Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture, 15/16(4/1), 146-150. Retrieved from EBSCOhost. Nussbaum, S.(2005). American Cultural Baggage. The “Ten Commandments” of American Culture Retrieved from

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Cross Cultural Communication. (2017, Mar 19). Retrieved from

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