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The Interface of Business and Culture

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Edited By Michael B. Hinner

Humans need to communicate in order to interact with one another, and culture helps regulate such interaction and communication. The same is true in the world of business since there, too, people interact and communicate with one another. And in today’s globalized world, it is inevitable that many such encounters and interactions involve people of diverse cultural background. That is why it is so imperative that business people understand how culture influences human behavior and communication, including their own. This knowledge will provide a better understanding of not just one’s own behavior, but also that of one’s international business partners, employees, and customers. So who better to explain the influence of culture than some of the leading experts in the field? These contributing authors cover a wide spectrum of topics that range from general principles of intercultural communication to very specific aspects of culture’s influence in particular business contexts. These insights should prove to be interesting, perceptive, and useful to many international business transactions and interactions.

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A Case Study in Intercultural Management Communication: Icelandic Managers and French, Spanish, and Indian Employees - Erla S. Kirstjánsdóttir and Judith N. Martin 81

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81 Introduction to A Case Study in Intercultural Management Communication: Icelandic Managers and French, Spanish, and Indian Employees By Erla S. Kristjánsdóttir and Judith N. Martin Kristjánsdóttir and Martin note that business is increasingly international from traditional undirectional efforts to recent multi-directional globalization efforts. As many business scholars and practitioners point out, communication problems in international business often stem from a lack of understanding of cross- cultural differences in management, human resource management, competitive intelligence, business ethics, knowledge-sharing as well as work and life values. The authors also note, though, that there have been few studies that examine the points of conflict or asynchrony in intercultural interaction in international busi- ness settings. Only some studies have actually dealt with this issue, and these studies identified points of intercultural conflict in the manager-employee, man- ager-manager, and manager-international manager relationships. A number qualitative studies, deemed by the authors to be more useful in an intercultural context, revealed that many managers resort to national cultural comparisons (often relying on stereotypes) to makes sense of the complex reality of interna- tional alliances, but such comparisons were not as viable as encouraging differ- ent competing systems of organizing (competitive, hierarchical, and egalitarian). It was discovered that encouraging and listening to different points of view im- proves the chances of viability in an international alliance. Specifically that by encouraging different ways of organizing to coexist in the same alliance – though chaotic and messy – it prevents any one from becoming dominant; hence, ensuring...

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