An Overview of the Cross-Cultural Business Negotiation between Malaysia and Australia/UNE VUE D'ENSEMBLE SUR LA NÉGOCIATION D'AFFAIRES TRANSCULTURELLE ENTRE LA MALAISIE ET L'AUSTRALIE

By Ismail, Jumiati; Azariadis, Michael et al. | Canadian Social Science, July 1, 2009 | Go to article overview

An Overview of the Cross-Cultural Business Negotiation between Malaysia and Australia/UNE VUE D'ENSEMBLE SUR LA NÉGOCIATION D'AFFAIRES TRANSCULTURELLE ENTRE LA MALAISIE ET L'AUSTRALIE


Ismail, Jumiati, Azariadis, Michael, Jusoff, Kamaruzaman, Canadian Social Science


Abstract:

This paper aims to explore communication deviances and strategies in the negotiation discourse of Malaysian-Australian business encounters, from both a linguistic and non-linguistic perspective. Specifically, it sees miscommunications/deviances as factors that may hinder the business communication process and prevent the negotiators from achieving their objectives. The study also focuses on strategies, or those discourse skills which promote successful business Malaysia-Australia negotiation.

Key words: Cross-cultural; intercultural; intercultural competence; deviations; strategies; miscommunication; negotiation

Résumé: Cet article vise à examiner les déviances et les stratégies de communication dans le discours de la négociation entre la Malaisie et l'Australie lors des rencontres d'affaires, d'un point de vue linguisitique et non linguistique. Plus précisément, les malentendus/déviances pourraient devenir des facteurs qui entravent le processus de communication et empêchent les négociateurs de parvenir à leurs objectifs. L'étude met également accent sur les stratégies, ou les compétences de négociation qui favorisent la réussite de négociation d'affaires entre la Malaisie et l'Australie.

Mots-Clés: transculturel; intercultural; compétence interculturelle; deviations; strategies; malentendu; la négociation

1. INTRODUCTION

The primary aim of this paper is to uncover the linguistic and non-linguistic features which either promote, or hinder, the success of cross-cultural4 business negotiations between Malaysians and Australians. This study has analyzed negotiation discourse between Malaysians and Australians, using the English language as the medium of communication, in business meetings in the city of Perth, Western Australia (WA). The research has been undertaken with the objective of looking into how Malaysian-Australian business people might develop a greater awareness of the importance of intercultural competency5 in order to build on or improve their current strategies of business negotiation discourse. With the different linguistic and cultural backgrounds, there is a possibility for Malaysians and Australians to confront mismatches in business interaction. This research will make sense of the discursive aspects of Malaysian-Australian business negotiations. The main focus is to be able to recognise and understand the sources of miscommunication so that strategies can then be applied to enhance the effectiveness of the negotiation process. In other words, the study attempts to identify the skills or know-how which business practitioners can employ to increase the likelihood of a successful outcome in Australian-Malaysian business dealings.

Negotiation is a process which involves the meeting of two parties with common or conflicting interests, who try to reach agreement on matters of mutual interest (Bichler & Kersten, 2002). In this study, negotiation is defined as 'a discourse-based and situated activity ..... [which is] interactionally constructed in concrete social settings' (Firth 1995, p.3). According to Ghauri (1996), the negotiation process is divided into three stages: pre-negotiation, negotiation and post-negotiation. The content of these stages is informed by factors such as culture, strategy, background and context. Using these three phases of negotiation, negotiation episodes can be identified and recognized. (For a detailed description of the methodology used in this study see chapter 3).

A meeting becomes a cross-cultural encounter when the parties have different cultural backgrounds. In such situations, both parties may have different ways of understanding the negotiation process as their norms, values systems and attitudes may differ. When negotiating with someone from one's own cultural background, making reasonable assumptions about the other party based on one's own experience generally makes successful communication possible (Firth, 1990, 1996). …

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An Overview of the Cross-Cultural Business Negotiation between Malaysia and Australia/UNE VUE D'ENSEMBLE SUR LA NÉGOCIATION D'AFFAIRES TRANSCULTURELLE ENTRE LA MALAISIE ET L'AUSTRALIE
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