Intercultural Communication in a Multicultural Workplace:
Challenges and Strategies of Effective Intracultural Communication
Seoh Koon TAN（Josai University）
Takashi Masuyama（Josai University）
This case study aimed to explore the challenges faced by Japanese office workers nonacademic staff members at a university in Japan) , where intercultural communication was required at work, and their unique coping strategies. Unstructured interviews were conducted with follow-up interviews to collect the necessary data from six non-academic staff members of X University. Participants shared some challenging intercultural scenarios they had experienced at workplace and their respective coping strategies. Data were analysed using qualitative content analysis and resulting in seven categories of intercultural communication challenges: 1）language barriers; 2）assumption of similarities; 3）expecting no similarities; 4）non-verbal communication barriers; 5）social pressure; 6）prejudice; 7）taboos, and five categories of coping strategies: 1）to be more direct when communicating; 2）to adopt apologizing strategy; 3）to use simpler words; 4）to reduce speed while speaking; 5）to learn the target culture. The findings on the intercultural communication challenges fit into the six barriers of intercultural communication proposed by Barna（1997). Implications and suggestions were offered for future research.