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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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(Re)constructions of the Self & Others: Peeling Back Layers of Identity, Context, and Power in Intercultural Tourism Interactions - Sundae R. Bean 267

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267 Introduction to (Re)constructions of the Self & Others: Peeling Back Layers of Identity, Context, and Power in Intercultural Tourism Interactions By Sundae R. Bean Sundae R. Bean notes that it relevant for business to not only focus on commu- nication between cultures, but also to attend to the layers of context, power, and identity embedded in these intercultural interactions. Intercultural business, af- ter all, Bean points out, is essentially human interaction at the micro level. That is why understanding the key aspects which play into these interactions serves to enrich the understanding of the complexities of this form of communication. Bean observes that one foundational assumption of intercultural communication is that it is always context bound. So when considering communicative interac- tion, it is essential that context is considered as well because people may speak differently depending on who the person is they are speaking to, what the con- text is, and what the purpose of the telling is. The context for communication, Bean points out, can be described as the setting; but it can also include the social aspects as well as the historical circumstances. In order to understand intercultural interactions, Bean continues, it is necessary to understand power relationships. While power is always present in communi- cation, how and how much power influences communication is not always clear. Bean cites the example of a team leader who is dependent on an interpreter to communicate with local company staff. While the team leader’s corporate status may lend power...

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