21st Century Communication Trends

Stephen P. Borgatti identifies five trends in the 21st century regarding organizations. These trends are Globalization, Diversity, Flexibility, Flatness, and Networking. Connected with these trends, there are also implications for communication.


Due to globalization you have to deal with people from different countries and their language and culture may be totally different from ours. Therefore it is necessary to inform one about the different cultures, as you have to be able to work with them. First of all you have to agree to one language in which you want to communicate. Additionally you should also pay attention to nonverbal communication, as it is different in some countries. Another impact that globalization has on communication, is the need for new communication methods, as communication has to travel a long distance (e-mail, video conferencing…)


Diversity in companies is not only based on different home countries, but also individual differences. Therefore one has not only to deal with cultural differences but also with more heterogeneous individuals. Resulting from this, communication problems are more likely to occur and more than ever, a good communication strategy as well as good communication skills become necessary.

Flexibility / Flatness

Due to the fact, that companies have to be more flexible nowadays, employees have often more power and have to show more initiative. They also gain more power due to the trend of flat organizations. Management levels are eliminated and the employees’ responsibility is increasing. This results in more and maybe even more difficult communication for the individual in the company.


Even though companies’ structures are becoming more flat, networking is one of the key points, to stay competitive. Direct communications across unit and firm boundaries and cross unit team structures are typical for the 21st century. Outsourcing and strategic alliances make a good network necessary, as well as the fast changing customer needs.


“During this communication class, I was fully in the globalization trends. Indeed, during my teamwork I had to work with Indian people on topics that were taught by American citizens. It was a really good experience for me to work with them. Moreover, in IUP, I had to work with multicultural teammates and we tried to use a mix of our capabilities to do the best job. For example, I worked with an American Soldier, an Indian engineer and a Korean born in Japan that has spent 5 years in Canada and 1 year in France. That was a really melting pot team and we had good result and lot of fun to discover the difference way to work. But in India, it was different because I was the only foreigner and I had to adapt their working methods.  And this is really a different approach. You could not impose your method to 4 others people who almost have the same one. I am not used to stay silent if I am not agree but in this case, I had to sometimes. In a teamwork project, I think that if you are always against what the others propose it does not work. You should do concession and try to intervene when you think that it is really important.

Thus, the experience of the globalization during this MBA, was a very good experience to develop my team working skills. During my master in my French Business School, I really did not like to work with a team. I preferred work alone but this opportunity to meet different culture and different working method changed my mind and my interest for the team working. Now, I can say that I like this kind of assignment maybe more than personal one and I could imagine myself working in a team at the beginning of my career.”

Video on Globalization, Noam Chomsky

The World is Flat, Friedman

Published in: on July 2, 2008 at 10:47 am  Leave a Comment  

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