A Comparison Between Japanese and US Business Communication Strategies:
Focusing on Dependence vs. Independence
Fuyuko Takita Ruetenik, Hiroshima City University, Japan
Cross-cultural negotiation involves the interaction of communicators from different societies with different rules. This presentation provides insights into how to understand and manage two vastly different and competing systems of business communication: Japanese and American. It provides a contrastive definition of a listener-based Japanese strategy and a speaker-based American strategy from a multidisciplinary point of view. In American business discourse, the ideal communicative goal is for each individual to speak up for him or herself, and to express messages logically in as explicit a manner as possible. In contrast, in Japanese business discourse, the goal of communication is for members of a group to depend on each other and express messages indirectly in as implicit a style as possible. We learn the rules of one communication system, and judge the world of communicators outside the system as illogical because we don’t understand their rules for interpretation. With an enhanced understanding and acceptance of cross-cultural differencesbetween the two systems, Japanese and Americans can avoid communication breakdowns and challenge each other to achieve higher levels of business competition and communication. The presenter will suggest how sociolinguistic research in business negotiation settings may provide insights for educators in cross-cultural business courses as well as second language studies.
Empowering Japanese and American Coworkers:
Testing the Interactive Acculturation Model in Japan
Adam Komisarof, Reitaku University, Japan
The goal of this paper is to examine which factors have contributed to creating a smooth acculturation process for American workers in Japan by assessing how and to what extent the compatibility of acculturation strategies between Japanese and American coworkers affected their quality of intercultural relations. Bourhis and colleagues’ Interactive Acculturation Model (“IAM”) was used to predict which acculturation strategy combinations were most likely to produce positive intercultural relationships between Japanese and American coworkers. With the independent variable of acculturation strategy alignment (i.e., Consensual, Problematic, and Conflictual acculturation strategy combinations, or “IAM types”), five measures of quality of intergroup relations were employed as dependent variables. The sample consisted of 97 Japanese and 97 Americans in 72 organizations. Statistical analyses revealed that Consensual IAM types did not score significantly higher than Problematic ones on any of the dependent variables, which contradicted one of the IAM’s fundamental premises. The IAM was expanded from the original three types into six subtypes to better explain this and other observed data patterns. Based on these findings, recommendations were made for how group boundaries can be redrawn to more thoroughly integrate disenfranchised Americans and Japanese into their organizations and to better utilize their professional skills.
Effective Teaching Strategies for Diverse Learners of Business Communication:
A Case Study from INTI University College, Malaysia
Arezou Zalipour, INTI University College, Malaysia
Dilani Sampath, INTI University College, Malaysia
Business discourse views language as contextually situated social action constructed by its social actors and aims to understand how people communicate strategically in an organizational context. This paper presents insights and experiences of teaching business communication to undergraduates in a well-known International University College in Malaysia. It aims to share scholarly views, effective strategies and practical methods that can be incorporated in any business English classroom. In this paper, the methodology of teaching ESP for Business is reviewed with special emphasis on authentic materials, computer/internet assisted learning strategies, cooperative learning, continuous assessment, intercultural elements, creative and critical thinking, analytical skills and hands-on learning approaches in classrooms. These techniques and activities in which the learners are actively involved enhance their abilities to communicate effectively in the business world.
1B Collaboration Across Cultures Internationalization as an Approach to Social Transition and Globalization
through Educational Communication across Cultures
Xin-Ping Guan, Shenzhen Polytechnic, China
This paper reports on findings obtained from measures taken by Shenzhen Polytechnic, a model polytechnic in the P.R. China for intercultural communication over the past 15 years. The generalization aims to prove the societal valuation of intercultural communication by means of educational exchange and collaboration for the construction of a harmonious world. The study will also deal with effective ways to cope with cultural conflicts in the process of collaboration. The paper includes four parts: (1) the challenge to China’s higher vocational and technical education in the social transition of globalization; (2) the approaches to meet the challenge by means of a holistic reform from school-run paradigm to the reconstruction of the power structure; (3) the analysis on the success and failure in intercultural communication; and (4) the conclusion: that educational collaboration builds up mutual understanding across cultures.
SME Representatives’ and Intermediaries’ Perceptions of Collaborative Relationships
in SME Internationalization
Pipsa Purhonen, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
Internationalization of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is typically realized within national and international networks of governmental organizations, financing companies, innovation and technology centers and other intermediary organizations. The present study examines collaborative relationships between representatives of Finnish SMEs and the Finnish and international intermediary organizations in the context of internationalization of Finnish SMEs into China. The paper describes and analyses how the SME representatives and intermediaries perceive their collaborative relationships in SME internationalization. The qualitative and quantitative research data (N=110) consist of evaluations of SME and intermediary representatives’ relationships as well as their perceptions of collaborative relationships in general. The results show that mutual goals and objectives, trust, achievement of results and goals, and mutual commitment to collaborating are, in particular, prioritized in the collaborative relationships. However, a wide variety of characteristics are expected from collaboration and the collaboration partner in the maintenance of collaborative relationships.
Kumiai is a concept that expresses a form of community-building and community sustainability. Kumiai, literally translated from Japanese, means group-join. Similar to “co-operatives,” the group’s shared mission is driven by the constituents’ deeds and by neighbors’ needs. The traditional function of the kumiai is to support its constituents socially, emotionally, and financially during death of a family member and after man-made or natural disasters. Constituents are considered responsible for the welfare of other members and their duty is to help themselves and others. As an autonomous community, diverse constituents unite voluntarily to satisfy their interdependent social, economic, and cultural needs and aspirations through a collectively-vested and democratically-controlled political system. Leaders and senior managers of the kumiai are expected to be professionally skilled, ethical and humble, and enact a “cooperative heart” (Takamura, 1992). During times of community and global crises, the kumiai way may be a useful model for community-rebuilding for community sustainability.
1C Communication Skills and Strategies
Communication Strategies Across Religious Culture:
Taking Christianity and Buddhism in Taiwan as an Example
Wei-wei Vivian Huang, National Chengchi University, Taiwan
In the latter half of the year 1996, many religious events began to occur in the Taiwan region, causing a rise of public doubt regarding religious communions. In addition, with the emergence of so many new religions, both traditional and new religions were faced with individual challenges and impacts of their own. Religions and the media came closer together. Not only did religious gospel spread through standard means of religious activities and communions, but religious meaning was also disseminated through channels of mass communication. This research focuses on observations of the broadcasting strategies of Christianity and Buddhism through the theory of uncertainty reduction. It was found that Buddhism has a distinctive characteristic of Eastern religions, while Christianity has the feature of Western religions. The research discusses the dissemination strategies of Christianity and Buddhism in the recent 50 years through document analyses and in-depth interviews. It also compares the similarities and differences of communication strategies between Christianity and Buddhism.
Presenting Across the Cultural Divide
Jane Harland, Fukuoka University, Japan
The presenter will use her several years' experience of training Japanese professionals to deliver presentations in English to highlight cultural differences that emerge in the process of preparing and delivering talks using Power Point slides. Perhaps you have seen academic presentations where researchers have simply read from a script when giving presentations in English, or Power Point slides that are overloaded with information. Kramsch (1993) states that "culture in language teaching is not an expendable fifth skill" and this certainly applies to the field of presentations. The main purpose of a presentation is to inform the audience as clearly and effectively as possible of your message. However, combining language and visuals in order to communicate effectively on the presentation stage is not easy, and the non-native speaker's intended message may not be accurately reflected in the spoken and visual message received by a native speaker. Japanese researchers need to improve their English presentation skills in order to present their research to a wider audience and this presentation will suggest ideas to help them bridge cultural differences and present their research to an international audience.
1D Conflict Education, Communication and Management Do the Strategies Really Work? : A meta-analysis of the applicability of pattern-matching of “situation-strategy-effort” in Taiwan’s crisis rhetorical studies
Yi-Chen Debbie Wu, Fu-Jen Catholic University, Taiwan
Situational Crisis Communication Theory (SCCT) offers a framework for suggesting how crisis communication strategies can be used to protect reputational assets during a crisis. SCCT provides a pattern-matching mechanism between the crisis situation and its corresponding response strategies. Until now, however, little research has been done to examine to what extent the pattern fits the practice in the real crisis situation, especially in the oriental environment. Accordingly, this study attempts to examine the applicability of the patterns for Crisis Cases in Taiwan. Meta-analysis was selected as the research method to analyze the empirical studies using a rhetorical approach. Thirty-three journal articles and master theses including 92 crisis cases were collected for analysis. The findings were consistent with SCCT in rumor situation and accident situation, while inconsistent in disaster and preventable crises. The study also expands the SCCT by adding “moral crisis” to the category of situation and “silent/no response” to that of crisis response. Suggestions for future studies are also included in the study.
Dialogicality in the Cultural Conflict: An Analysis of the Dispute over Homosexuals in Contemporary China
This paper studies the dialogicality of dispute over homosexuals in contemporary China based on discourse theories of dialogicality (Bakhtin198, 1986a, 1986b, Fairclough 1992, Holquist 1981, Gardiner 1992) and contradictions (Foucault1972:151) in discursive practice. First, we introduce the methodology of the research, including data selection (news reports in the form of text and photos, further readings attached to the news reports and netizens’ comments) and classification of interlocutors in accordance with their respective stands (proponents, opponents and mediators). Second, we point out that the different voices accentuated in this discursive activity indeed are struggling for their own cultural survival. Third, the authors measure various scales of dialogicality, consciously or unconsciously possessed by each party in terms of openness to, acceptance of, recognition of and exploration of differences. Fourth, we find that such dialogicalities are heavily influenced by different parties’ scientific, sociological, historical, psychological, ethnical, and philosophical assumptions with or without necessary and sufficient evidentialities. Finally, we conclude that the dynamic dialogicality in this dispute seems to betoken contemporary China’s initial steps from the Age of Essentialism/Objectivism to the Age of Non-Essentialism/Constructivism.
Friendships after Break-Ups:
Relational Maintenance Strategies in Cross-Gender Post-Dating Relationships in Taiwan
Pei-Wen Lee, Shih Hsin University, Taiwan
News reports of tragic endings (e.g., assaulting former romantic partners due to unpleasant break-ups) of heterosexual romantic relationships are often seen in Taiwan. Unfortunately, research studying relational communication between men and women has received little attention from Taiwanese/Chinese communication scholars. The goal of this research is to examine the communication process of relational maintenance in cross-gender, post-dating friendships in Taiwan. Specifically, this study intends to understand how members in post-dating relationships transit from being romantic partners to cross-gender friends, and to identify the communicative strategies they employ to maintain such friendships. The review of literature discusses existing research on cross-gender friendship, maintenance in different relationship types, and communication management in cross-gender friendship maintenance. The Grounded theory is selected to be the fundamental methodology. In-depth, semi-structured interviews of members in cross-gender, post-dating friendships have been conducted to collect data for this study. The result of this research attempts (1) to help us gain a better understanding of cross-gender friendship maintenance in a non-western context; (2) to help individuals prevent a harmful dissolution of their romantic relationships by engaging in constructive communication and conflict management; and (3) to promote harmonious, healthy, cross-gender friendships in our society.
*This research project is sponsored by the National Science Council in Taiwan.
Analysis on Chinese Students’ Failure in Applying Politeness Maxims
in an International Sports Fair
Zhou Jie, Harbin Institute of Technology, China
As China has been holding more and more international sports fairs, students working as attachés or assistants of different nations often find themselves troubled in expressing politeness to foreigners. The differences in applying and extending politeness maxims between Chinese and western society originate from their diverse culture orientation and different perspectives on life. This paper, based on the author’s working experience in the Harbin 2009 Winter Universiade, lists Chinese students’ (working as attachés of a certain delegation) failure in expressing politeness maxims in different competition venues, accommodation villages, as well as the transportation vehicles. The paper systematically analyzes these failures in the followiFng aspects: (1) increasing the athletes’ benefit by sacrificing their own; (2) offering any possible help by violating the minimum maxim in communication; (3) praising the performance of the athletes and depreciating their own to cause doubt on their competence; (4) applying too much Chinese pattern in directing, committing, or expressing illocution. Finally, the paper identifies some directions and suggestions which are likely to shed some light on students’ understanding of politeness in intercultural communication circumstances.
1E Culture and Language A Study of the Similarities of Idiomatic Expressions in Both Chinese and English Languages
Qiao Mengduo, Harbin Institute of Technology, China
This paper describes the similarities of idiomatic expressions in both Chinese and English languages. First of all, the importance of the study is discussed. Since those metaphorical expressions can usually not be understood by looking up the individual words in an ordinary dictionary and are very hard to understand for people who don't speak that language, they ought to be studied. Then, a detailed analysis of the idiomatic expressions is made from the viewpoint of two aspects: Idiomatic Themes and Grammatical Functions. Finally, it concludes that studying idioms in both Chinese and English can lead to a greater understanding of both languages and cultures. As Eugene A. Nida states in Translating Meaning“One important reason for the possibility of interlingual communications is the fact that human experience is so much alike throughout the world, in fact, that what people of various cultures have in common is far greater than what separates them from each other.”
Such a Unique Relationship… It Must be Yuan Fen:
Chinese cultural meanings of relations and actions in daily social settings
Sunny Lie, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, USA
The following study reveals the usage of a special Chinese term Yuan Fen, a Buddhist-based term which could roughly be translated as a positive, pre-destined relationship that one has with other persons and non-living objects, and how members of the Mainland Chinese speech community report their daily usage of the term. Focus group and individual interview data were processed using theories of ethnography of speaking (Hymes, 1962) and cultural discourse analysis (Carbaugh, 2007), through which meanings of action, relationships, and dwelling were extracted and interpreted. Through the analysis of this special term, we observe how deeply embedded cultural premises are expressed through various modes of cultural communication that are distinctively Chinese. Examples are the belief that there are certain aspects of one’s relationship beyond one’s control and ability to explain, and that one is connected to all objects in one’s surroundings. Future trajectories such as a cross-cultural comparison of how Yuan Fen is used by the Mainland and Overseas Chinese communities, and gender differences of the term usage within the Mainland Chinese community were also discussed as potential expansions of the study.
Understanding Culture Through Language: The Japanese Concept of ‘Self’
Nerida Jarkey, University of Sydney, Australia
A familiar claim about Japanese culture is that a Japanese person has no concept of the ‘self’ as an autonomous being. Rather, the ‘self’ is understood in relational terms, inextricably linked to the notion of ‘in group’. Certain language features are frequently given as evidence for this cultural stereotype. Some linguists propose a very different notion of the Japanese ‘self’, the ‘absolute self’, which they see as a fixed, non-contingent concept (Hasegawa & Hirose, 2005). They regard the ‘absolute self’ as the centre of the epistemological perspective of a Japanese person, and consider it more essential to Japanese culture than the ‘relational self’. This paper presents evidence of yet another concept in Japanese, the ‘empathetic self’, which allows a speaker to portray an event from someone else’s perspective, even someone who is not an ‘in group’ member. It argues the importance of recognising a variety of concepts of ‘self’, none more essential than any other, but each related to different speech purposes and modes of interaction.
1F Culture in Education 1 A Critical and Comparative Study of the Curriculum Development of CFL Offered by Overseas Confucius Institute and EFL Curriculum in China
Hongqin Zhao, Zhejiang University, China
Jianbin Huang, Zhejiang University, China
Chinese as a Foreign Language (CFL) has become a global phenomenon. Three hundred and seven Confucius Institutes have been established around the world to provide Chinese language and cultural teaching and learning. For the first time in history, the Confucius Institute has invested in, and opened the opportunity for people around the world to learn about the Chinese language and culture. This work presents a critical study of the CFL curriculum offered by 10 Confucius Institutes. It examined the provision of Chinese language classes, culture courses and Chinese for business purposes, including extra-curriculum activities and events. The result shows that all the Confucius Institutes in study adopted a rather humanistic and learner-centered approach to curriculum design tailored to the real world, for example, one institute offered a course introducing Chinese people and their everyday life. The most significant aspect is that none of the Confucius Institutes have made the curriculum into a formal degree program, which sounds different from English as a Foreign Language curriculum (EFL) in China. The presentation will look at the implications of this study for EFL Curriculum in China and examine whether and why there are differences in approaches to CFL curriculum by Confucius Institutes and EFL curriculum in China.
A Survey of the Deficiency in Conveying Chinese Culture
in College English Teaching and Learning
Shi Bingyan, Harbin Institute of Technology, China
Wang Xuesong, Harbin Institute of Technology, China
Nowadays, many language teachers have regarded it as one of their main teaching objectives to incorporate cultural teaching, especially the target culture, into their English teaching. There is no doubt that college students have a good understanding of the target culture. Although Chinese culture is beginning to capture the attention of the world, there is a deficiency in conveying Chinese culture in college English teaching and learning. A survey in the form of a test on festivals, social customs, places of interest, Chinese art and so on, was conducted in Harbin Institute of Technology. On the basis of an analysis, it was found that the majority of students are able to express the target culture much better than Chinese culture. It is evident that language teachers have attached great importance on the target culture but paid little attention to the native culture. The deficiency in expressing Chinese culture is not only a problem in language teaching and learning but also an obstacle in cross-cultural communication. It is necessary that we permeate Chinese culture into college English teaching and learning.
Introduction of the Intercultural Development Inventory to a Long-term Study of Student Journals in an Undergraduate Intercultural Communication Course