Implications of Cultural Communication in Business

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Implications of cross-cultural communication in business:
A study of Swedish small enterprise “ImseVimse” and its international distributors and retailers

Master in International Management Gotland University Supervisors: Fredrik Sjöstrand Per Lind Authors: Maka Kvantaliani Olga Klimina Spring 2011 Visby

In times of rapid economic development and internationalization of business, effective cross-cultural communication among managers remains a challenge. This thesis aims to research and analyze crosscultural communication in business context based on qualitative case study of a small Swedish company and its international business partners. Previous research has focused on differences and similarities in people‟s behaviour and ways of communication based on their cultural background. Through in-depth analysis and application of existing theories to the chosen case study company, the findings of this research demonstrated that although national culture does have an undeniable influence on people‟s behaviour and their communication style, implications in communication between business partners of different cultural backgrounds often connected to an individual approach to cross-cultural communication. A great emphasis was placed on the language being one of the biggest communication challenges facing SMEs in international arena. Finally, misunderstandings occurring due to communication through technological devices were discussed.

Key words: Cross-cultural communication, SME, communication barriers, international management, business communication, cultural dimensions, cultural differences, technological barriers

......................................................................................................................................................................................... 1 1.1 PROBLEM BACKGROUND AND DISCUSSION ....................................................................................................... 1 1.2. RESEARCH QUESTION ............................................................................................................................................... 3 1.3. AIM................................................................................................................................................................................... 4 1.4. METHOD......................................................................................................................................................................... 4

......................................................................................................................................................................................... 5 2.1. RESEARCH STRATEGY .............................................................................................................................................. 5 2.2. DATA COLLECTION.................................................................................................................................................... 5 2.3. RESEARCH METHODS ............................................................................................................................................... 5 2.4. SELECTED DATA COLLECTION METHOD - INTERVIEW ............................................................................... 6 2.5. CASE STUDY APPROACH .......................................................................................................................................... 7 2.5.1. OUR ROLE – ACADEMIC RESEARCHERS ................................................................................................. 7 2.5.2. OPPORTUNITIES .............................................................................................................................................. 7 2.5.3. LIMITATIONS .................................................................................................................................................... 7...
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