Oliver Günter Lazar
Sino-German Communication Interferences in Intercultural Teamwork: A Postmodern Approach
Schriften zur Kulturwissenschaft, Band 103
Hamburg 2013, 348 Seiten
China, Chinese, Chinesen, Deutsche, German, Groups, Gruppenarbeit, Intercultural Communication, Interkulturelle Kommunikation, Kommunikationsstörungen, Linguistik, Soziologie, Teamarbeit, Teamwork, Wirtschaft
Previously, research on multinational teamwork with various nationalities and cultures involved, which looked at the aspect of communication, was largely based on the examination of specific facilitators and barriers to its communication. There it was found that multinational teams might have specific communication facilitators dependent upon the cultures involved. This is reflected in the theoretical development in the field of intercultural management, which gives guidance for culturally complex team settings.
The complexity managers’ face is increasing further through China’s involvement in the implementation of globalization strategies. Recently, the relevance of China’s involvement has been increasing for Germany, in particular given Chinese companies’ investments in Germany. Therefore, the study of various nationalities in one research project has been reconsidered and currently there is new demand for studies, which seek to understand the complexity of Sino-German teamwork. However, besides non-research based literature, research focusing solely on Sino-German teamwork occupies a marginal place.
Additionally, much of the multinational team research looked at outcomes and disregarded the team members’ experience itself by using quantitative methods. It provided an understanding influenced by positivistic perspectives, saying that certain factors are pre-conditions for successful team communication. This study recognized these positions, but questioned the positivist bias demonstrated there. Throughout this research, associated factors were understood as being non-linear and interrelated, representing the complexity managers are experiencing. As a result this study argued that Chinese and Germans working in teams were marginalised in the intercultural management research field until today and their needs were not addressed by much of the existing research. These led to my conclusion that there is a need to conduct research that for the first time is informed by a postmodern theoretical framework that seeks to privilege multiplicity and diversity and that also attends to the silences surrounding this group. Therefore, a postmodern framework provided the theoretical lens through which this research, and its authorial, methodological, and interpretive characteristics were construed and represented. This perspective emphasized local stories about experiences, attended to ‘difference’, was concerned with the multiple nature of ‘reality’, and recognised the importance of language as a medium for the social construction of what may be considered ‘truth’.
Within the context presented above, the focus and contribution of this study were the descriptions of the intercultural communication experiences of members of Sino-German teams and the analysis of factors relating to interferences in communication to provide a thicker explanation of communication interferences in intercultural communication, where theoretical attempts so far remained rather fragmented, and to contribute findings from different perspectives on what has traditionally been viewed from a positivistic standpoint.
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