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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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5 The multi-method approach and the results of the present study


The central aim of this project is to investigate politeness strategies and face- work during intercultural business encounters in companies that have been sub- ject to a merger or acquisition during the last decade. A global company that had undertaken a major acquisition in 2004 supported this study. The organisation, headquartered in Australia, is one of the global leaders in its industry. In 2004, the Australian company acquired a US-based business with sites/entities in Eu- rope. At present, the organisation has over 10,000 employees worldwide with the majority of its staff based in Germany, Australia, the German-speaking part Switzerland, and the United States. With the approval of management, the pre- sent study was conducted amongst senior executives and managers across the four major locations. In the present study, the term managers will be used to re- fer to the senior executives who supported the research. This study combined different data-gathering sources. The research was based firstly on quantitative analysis (i.e., a questionnaire), and secondly, on contextually sensitive methodologies (i.e., follow-up interviews and discus- sions). The questionnaire was administered to 200 participants in the four major national cultures to measure face concerns and facework behaviours. In the sec- ond step, a qualitative approach was used. Structured follow-up interviews were conducted and discussions were held with five managers per culture who had offered their time. In the following discussion, the overall approach will be broken down into the description of the two applied methods. The quantitative approach will be described first,...

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