Academic journal article Bulletin of the Association for Business Communication

Facilitating Research in Multicultural Business Communication

Academic journal article Bulletin of the Association for Business Communication

Facilitating Research in Multicultural Business Communication

Article excerpt

Increasing globalization of business and the recent passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, (an event of even more relevance and significance for North Americans than the largely successful completion of the Uruguay round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) are likely to enhance research interest in international business communication. Hence, a column on overcoming the barriers to research in multicultural business communication may be timely. Incidentally, a number of terms are used in the profession almost interchangeably: intercultural, international, cross-cultural, cross-national, multinational, multicultural, etc. Obviously, they do not mean the same thing: for example, while dealing with diverse cultures in one country (like the U.S.), the accurate term would be multicultural, not international. But since no standardization exists in this regard, each author contributing to this column has used the term he or she finds appropriate in the context.

Multicultural business communication has been, so far, rather data poor and theory poor. However, a few bright spots have recently appeared: Timothy Weiss (1993) has raised valid and significant conceptual issues regarding the way intercultural communication research has been approached by the scholarly community. The Journal of Business Communication ran a special issue on this subject (Reinsch, 1992) that contained several significant contributions, such as Beamer's presentation of a comprehensive model of intercultural communication competence, based partly on semiotic theory. …

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