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2009 Vol.2
Communication Skill for Heterogeneous Group

2009/04/01

As industry structure evolves, the level of importance of each of the skills that workers have in realizing their assigned jobs is changing. Among these, “communication” has become widely recognized as one of the most crucial skills in recent years. This paper discusses a more specific aspect of communication as a skill, which is communicating with “heterogeneous” people. (The term “heterogeneous” is used here to mean those with a different sense of values or behavior patterns.) Japanese companies have not only been active in overseas expansion, but are also exposed to increasing numbers of M&A transactions and non-regular employees. Therefore, widespread staff members within an organization are now required to obtain the skills to communicate with people of “heterogeneous” background. Development and utilization of such skills are likely to become a large issue in the medium and long term for both workers and employers.
In communicating with “heterogeneous” people, (1) having an insightful attitude, (2) avoiding stereotypes, and (3) full emotional control, are more important than communicating with individuals of like background. An individual should keep these essentials in mind. This will be the first steps in enhancing such skills. It is necessary to recognize firmly, for individuals as well as management, that Japanese companies in general have a strong tendency to maintain conformity, which could hinder the exercise and promotion of such skills. Companies planning to consolidate “heterogeneous” workers with traditional employees should change the organization’s management principles to form an organization comprised of various “heterogeneous” people.

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