Culture and Negotiated Meanings
Edited by Henriett Primecz, Laurence Romani and Sonja Sackmann
Chapter 7: Corporate Communication Across Cultures: A Multi-level Approach
Lisbeth Clausen INTRODUCTION This chapter presents the study of the intercultural and cross-organizational challenges faced by a Danish company and its Japanese alliance partners. An examination of communication processes between headquarters and the subsidiary/alliance partner shows that the transmission model of communication is less suited to intercultural business settings than a model that involves co-creation of meaning and market. In this study, levels of cultural influence are divided into the global, the national, the professional and the individual levels. Each level influences communication processes. New understandings and cultural practices emerge, and these new ideas and approaches are ideally incorporated back into new corporate strategies. In this study the model is applied to the specific case of Denmark and Japan. It is equally applicable to the analysis of interaction between any headquarter and subsidiary/alliance. The study is structured as follows. First, it presents corporate communication challenges of managers. Second, it presents conceptions of culture and communication to create a framework for a ‘negotiated’ culture perspective. Third, the methodology is presented in short. Fourth, the multi-level model is used to analyse strategic and operational communication between the Danish company and its Japanese subsidiary. Finally, the concluding sections present implications for practitioners and cross-cultural scholars. CORPORATE COMMUNICATION CHALLENGES All business activity involves communication. Within cross-cultural management, activities such as branding, leading, motivating, decision-making, problem-solving and exchanging ideas are all based on the ability of managers and employees from one culture to communicate successfully with colleagues, clients and suppliers from other cultures. Communicating effectively...
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