How to eliminate the misunderstandings in intercultural communication: a case study of American-Chinese higher education negotiation

Lu, Na (2010) How to eliminate the misunderstandings in intercultural communication: a case study of American-Chinese higher education negotiation. MA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    With the trend of frequent international cooperation between universities all over the world, intercultural negotiations have become the routine of university administrators. Misunderstandings often happen in such contexts. This research aims at predicting the possible sources of misunderstandings which cause failure in intercultural negotiations, analysing the causes of misunderstandings in terms of communication process, nonverbal communication and culture dimensions such as high-context/low-context, individualism/collectivism and long-term orientation/short-term orientation, and understanding the reasons of misunderstandings in advance so as to improve the effectiveness of communication. To answer these research questions, case study and interview have been chosen as the method to collect data. An official meeting between an American university and a Chinese university are recorded and four participants of this meeting are interviewed. By examining the connections between the findings and literatures associated to communication model, intercultural communication and nonverbal communication, a number of aspects were found to be the possible causes of misinterpretations. Among these factors the culture differences between America and China, presuming similarity and nonverbal behaviour are the major sources of misunderstandings. For example, the distinction in high-context and low-context, collectivism and individualism, high power distance and low power distance, and polychronic and monochronic are approved the possible resources of misinterpretation in this study. On the basis of being aware of the reasons, the misunderstandings can be reduced or eliminated through improving the competence of the communicators. To enhance the negotiators’ psychological adaptability and provide them information of typical characters of national cultures help to improve the effectiveness of communication.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Languages and Area Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2011 12:49
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:16

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