Intercultural communication refers to the process of interaction between people from different cultures. More specifically, Karlfried Knapp defines it as the interpersonal interaction between members of groups that differ from each other in respect to the knowledge shared by their members and their linguistic forms of symbolic behavior. As such, intercultural communication is affected by how people from different countries and cultures behave, communicate, and perceive the world around them. Culture affects communication in subtle and profound ways. Our cultural perceptions and experiences help determine how the world looks and how we interact in that world. Today the world has grown so small that we all depend on each other. As more immigrants move from one culture to another, the issue of cultural adaptation takes on added significance. Globalization is changing the way individuals define themselves on the basis of economics, religion, culture, customs, language, and ethnic identity.

In addition to the field of communication, the study of intercultural communication includes fields such as anthropology, cultural studies, and psychology. The main theories for intercultural communication are based on the work especially of Edward T. Hall, Richard D. Lewis, Geert Hofstede, and Fons Trompenaars. Clifford Geertz was also a contributor to this field. Intercultural theories have been applied to a variety of different communication settings, including general business and management (Fons Trompenaars and Charles Hampden-Turner) and marketing (Marieke de Mooij, Stephan Dahl). There have also been several successful studies that concentrate on the practical applications of these theories in crosscultural situations.

Source : Littlejohn, Stephen W and Karen A.Floss. (2009). Encyclopedia of Communication Theory.USA:SAGE. 601