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Communication and PR from a Cross-Cultural Standpoint

Practical and Methodological Issues

Edited By Valérie Carayol and Alex Frame

How should we approach cultural diversity in the workplace? Multinational corporations, transnational project teams and glocalised production and distribution processes raise challenging issues for communication and PR professionals. The complex nature of these communication processes often shows that existing models of cross-cultural or intercultural communication are inadequate to allow researchers or professionals get to grips with the complexity of the interactions encountered.
This book aims to pinpoint and address the apparent limits of many traditional intercultural communication research methods when they are applied to real situations in today’s hybrid and cosmopolitan global organisations. Written by distinguished scholars from around the world, the chapters challenge traditional ways of thinking and established academic categorisations. The chapters are structured around three main lines of questioning: how can we approach multicultural teambuilding situations where culture is a multi-faceted and multi-level dynamic construct linked to identity and experience, rather than ‘simply’ a question of national habitus; how can we study emerging concepts, categories and practices in such situations using culturally sensitive qualitative research methods; and how can we approach the field of PR from very different cultural standpoints?

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Valérie CARAYOL & Alex FRAME The different chapters in this book have all underlined the need for cross-cultural and PR research to take into account and be sensitive towards the complexity of multicultural situations and contexts. In methodological terms, this also implies facing up to certain underlying political, ideological and ethical questions, which researchers can no longer afford to ignore or sideline. Emerging research practices, applied to intercultural interactions, employ qualitative methods and embrace the diversity of models and conceptions of communication and PR encountered in different localities and cultural contexts. Such approaches appear to pave the way for more nuanced analyses of communicative behaviour, which take into account advances in the field of Communication Science. Cultural diversity is no longer confined to the high-flying world of international exchanges, but has become an everyday issue in organisations all around the world. Yet this also means that it is inextricably woven into the social tissue of the encounters being studied. As such, research methodology needs to be attentive to the specific models of social integration and operational group structures underlying each situation studied, while remaining sensitive to historical aspects and forms of cultural domination which may play out in the encounters observed. Idealistic, irenic visions of intercultural communication, seen from a humanist ideological standpoint as an egalitarian sphere of reciprocal exchanges and mutual enrichment, should not distract researchers from the oftentimes harsher reality of organisational practices and publics. Even in research whose goal is to facilitate or make more efficient communication...

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