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Post-Merger Intercultural Communication in Multinational Companies

A Linguistic Analysis


Christina Burek

In this book, the focus is on post-merger intercultural integration, effective communication between the relevant cultures and the different politeness strategies adopted by them. It is argued that cultural differences are a key issue in misunderstandings and miscommunication, which can affect a smooth post-merger integration, thereby focusing on differences between the Australians, US-Americans, Germans and the Swiss. The research contributes to bridge the gap between pragmatics, sociolinguistics and intercultural management studies. The empirical findings identify a company’s social dimensions and execution skills as strategic sources of competitive advantage in cross-border M&A activity.


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3 Intercultural communication and pragmatics in M&As


36 3 Intercultural communication and pragmatics in M&As Research on the differences in expectations based on cultural schemata is part of an area of investigation known as cross-cultural pragmatics (cf. Yule 2003). In particular, the interplay of culture, cultural influences and cultural biases in in- tercultural pragmatics research has come under careful examination as research- ers and practitioners become increasingly attentive to the inseparable role of language and culture. Brown and Levinson (1978) describe it as their goal “to rebut the once-fashionable doctrine of cultural relativity in the field of interac- tion” and “to show that superficial diversities can emerge from underlying uni- versal principles and are satisfactorily accounted for only in relation to them” (1978:66). They conclude, “interactional systematics are based largely on uni- versal principles” (1978:288). Today, there is acceptance that diversities in speaking and interacting are not superficial at all and that different cultural atti- tudes and values influence communication (cf. Hofstede 1980; Wierzbicka 2003). A strong demand for intercultural topics like cross-cultural pragmatics dur- ing the last decade developed from the growing field of studies focussed on in- tercultural communication that, again, is mainly due to increasing globalisation, international competition and extensive M&A activity. Wierzbicka (2003:viii) explains: At a time when every year millions of people cross the borders, not only between coun- tries but also between languages, and when more and more people of many different cultural backgrounds have to live together in modern multi-ethnic and multi-cultural so- cieties, it...

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