Globalization is creating culturally diverse teams. Managers are increasingly challenged to lead multicultural teams towards common organizational goals. It has therefore become imperative that team members be helped to quickly attain a shared understanding of messages. Much research has focused on generating awareness of different cultures and how this knowledge can be used to improve business communication.

Even with this awareness that different cultures exist, stereotypes (of race, gender, national culture) still influence how team members interpret the actions of their colleagues. Studies in social psychology have focused on how stereotypes influence perceptions about individuals or groups of people. Message encoding and decoding (verbal, non-verbal, intentional and unintentional) may thus unconsciously become victims of stereotypes. Often, these stereotypical frames do not provide a complete picture of the observations and so can lead to communication failures.

This study proposes a unified framework for the use and understanding of organizational culture to improve communication. The Message Coding Congruence model (MCC) draws on national and organizational culture models (Edgar Schein, Geert Hofstede and Alfonso Nieto) to facilitate the sharing of meaning in interpersonal and organizational communication towards organizational effectiveness, especially in the face of stereotypes. Members of groups will thus understand better how much of their observations and interpretations are victims of often wrongly held assumptions based on the cultural backgrounds of their interlocutors.

The MCC model should be useful in academic settings and in actual business environments. It would help in the training of managers and team members in effective communication that accommodates cultural diversity. Beyond training purposes the model also improve practitioners’ awareness and understanding of the consequences of cultural differences and taking them into account in striving to attain organizational aims.