Cross Cultural Communication and Negotiation

  • Cross Cultural Communication and Negotiation
  • Intercultural Communication
  • intercultural communication occurs whenever a message produced in one culture must be processed in another”
  • Samovar and Porter (1997) cited in Arasaratnam andd Doerfel ((2005)
  • Communication Arena
  • country to country
  • company to company
  • with Host Country Nationals, Third Country Nationals and local community
  • Across culturally diverse teams
  • With customers, clients and suppliers
  • In negotiations
  • Communication process model
    Adapted from Buchanan and Huczynski (2010)
  • Questions on context
  • Similarity/difference of the norms and values?
  • Level of language competence?
  • How formal is the interaction?
  • Communication behaviour?
  • The politics of language
  • High and Low context Orientations

Context around culture is critical to meaning:

  • The degree to which information is explicit, vested in words, precise and unambiguous……… low context

= the listener know little and needs to be told all

  • The degree to which information is implicit, vested in shared experience and assumptions and conveyed through verbal and non verbal codes…. high context

 = listener is already contextualised and needs to read cues carefully
Hall, E (1976) Beyond Culture, Doubleday. New York IN Kakabadse, N.K and Kouzmin (2001) Low and High Context Communication patterns: Towards Mapping Cross Cultural Encounters. Cross Cultural Management. Vol 8 no 2

  • Low Context

Low-context societies:

  • speaker says precisely what he or she means
  • people often meet only to accomplish objectives
  • message is explicit
  • High context

High-context societies:

  • Messages highly coded, indirect and implicit
  • voice intonation, timing, and facial expressions important in conveying information
  • Explicit and Implicit Communication
  • Verbal Communication Styles
    International Management: Culture Strategy and Behaviour (2005)
    Hodgetts, Luthans and Doh
  • Elaborating style:
    • high-context cultures
  • Exacting style:
    • Focus on precision
    • the right amount of words
  • Succinct Style

high-context cultures
few words and allow understatements, pauses, and silence to convey meaning.

  • Negotiations and Culture
  • Stages of Negotiation (Graham 1986) cited in Gulbro and Herbig (1999)
  • Non Task (building rapport…)
  • Task
  • Persuasion
  • Agreement
    • Negotiation style and Culture

Gulbro and Herbig (1999) found in their research, (using Hofstede’s dimensions) that

  • Collectivist cultures spend more time on non task and building rapport , positioning, planning before debriefing after negotiations
  • Higher power distance cultures spend less time in compromise
  • High masculine cultures spend less time persuasion stage
  • High uncertainty avoidance cultures spend more time in the agreement phase
    • Communication Barriers
  • Language barriers
  • Perceptual barriers
  • Cultural barriers
  • Misinterpreted non Verbal cues
  • Non Verbal Communication
  • Body jewellery, tattoos
  • Eating, chewing, spitting, sneezing
  • Oculesics
    • Eye contact and gaze
  • Kinesics
    • Body movement and facial expression
  • Proxemics
  • Proxemics: your space or mine?


  • Personal Space in the U.S.
  • Non verbal communication
  • Chronemics
    • How time is used:
      • Monochronic…. linear chain of doing things
        • UK, USA Canada and Australia
      • Polychronic….many things at same time. Higher values on personal involvement than getting it done on time.
        • Latin America, Middle East
      • Time and timings
      • Relationship building
      • A “window of opportunity”
      • When to eat and drink
      • Punctuality
      • Private and public time
      • Non verbal communication
      • Chromatics:
        • The use and meaning

of colour

  • Significance and symbolism
  • Clothing, flowers, décor
  • Implications for product design, advertising, gifts, dress
  • Observe this week…….
  • Identify non verbal behaviours which you usually find:
    • annoying            hostile friendly loving   neutral
  • Identify 3 specific examples of your own territorial behaviour
  • Think about the physical distance you are comfortable and uncomfortable with.
  • What meanings are conveyed through touch?
  • What meanings do you derive from others touching you.
  • Consider how this may be interpreted or misinterpreted in a business organisation

Spend the next week observing communication patterns, body language and watch your space!

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