Talking Culture: Intercultural Competence in a Corporate Context

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    Taking its starting point in two, currently predominant views on intercultural business communication and intercultural competence (e.g. Askehave & Norlyk 2006; Blasco 2004; Franklin 2007; Gudykunst & Kim 2002; Hofstede 2001; Holiday et al. 2004; Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner 1997), this paper provides insight into the way practitioners in an international software company construct their experiences with culture and intercultural encounters in the workplace. On the basis of the discursive analysis of ten semi-structured interviews, the presentation details how practitioners make sense of their work experiences through the adoption of different approaches, ranging from what may be termed a ‘functionalist’ approach that constructs culture as a relatively fixed, homogeneous entity which can be ‘managed’ or ‘overcome’, to an approach based on situational adaptation and diversity. In doing so, the paper attempts to show that in practice members of staff may make sense of intercultural issues by means of various discourses that reflect very different ideas of what culture and intercultural competence is, potentially leading to differences in the handling and experience of intercultural encounters as well as to challenges for the company as a whole in addressing intercultural issues. These findings may prove valuable to the understanding of how to “define and design a sphere of interculturality” (the third place), and the study as whole may illuminate the usefulness of discourse analysis to this end.


    Askehave, Inger and Birgitte Norlyk. 2006. Meanings and Messages – Intercultural Business Communication. Århus: Academica

    Blasco, Maribel. 2004. Stranger to us than birds in our garden. In Blasco, Maribel and Jan Gustafsson (eds), Intercultural Alternatives. Perspectives on Intercultural Encounters in Theory and Practice, 19-48. Copenhagen: CBS Press

    Franklin, Peter. 2007. Differences and difficulties in intercultural management interaction. In Kotthoff, Helga and Helen Spencer-Oatey (eds), Handbook of Intercultural Communication, 263-284. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter

    Gudykunst, William B. and Young Yun Kim. 2002. Communicating with Strangers: An Approach to Intercultural Communication, 4th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill

    Hofstede, Geert. 2001. Culture’s Consequences, 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks: Sage

    Holiday, Adrian, Hyde, Martin and John Kullman. 2004. Intercultural Communication – An Advanced Resource Book. London: Routledge

    Trompenaars, Fons and Charles Hampden-Turner. 1997. Riding the Waves of Culture: Understanding Diversity in Global Business. London: Nicholas Brealey

    Antal sider1
    StatusUdgivet - 2010
    BegivenhedSecond International Conference on the Development and Assessment of Intercultural Competence - Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Varighed: 29 jan. 201031 jan. 2010
    Konferencens nummer: 2


    KonferenceSecond International Conference on the Development and Assessment of Intercultural Competence
    ByTucson, Arizona


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