STRATEGIES OF COMMUNICATION: Intercultural Workplace Communication between an Australian Expatriate and Japanese Co-Workers in Japan.

Sean O'Connell (2011). STRATEGIES OF COMMUNICATION: Intercultural Workplace Communication between an Australian Expatriate and Japanese Co-Workers in Japan. PhD Thesis, School of Languages and Comp Cultural Studies, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Sean O'Connell
Thesis Title STRATEGIES OF COMMUNICATION: Intercultural Workplace Communication between an Australian Expatriate and Japanese Co-Workers in Japan.
School, Centre or Institute School of Languages and Comp Cultural Studies
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2011-07
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Dr. Kumi Kato
Dr. Noriko Iwashita
Total pages 287
Total black and white pages 287
Language eng
Subjects 20 Language, Communication and Culture
Abstract/Summary Workplaces around the world are becoming ever more culturally diverse through the advance of globalisation, and as a result, more attention is being given to workplace communication between expatriates and local staff. This empirical study attempts to craft a richer description and deeper understanding of intercultural workplace communication than that elaborated in expatriate-local staff literature and intercultural communication discourse. This thesis, through a single-case ethnographical study, explores the specific context of Australian-Japanese intercultural workplace communication in Japan. Specifically, it explores the use and interaction of high second-language (L2) (Japanese) competency and cultural intelligence by an Australian expatriate when communicating with his Japanese co-workers with a particular focus on the communication accommodation strategies used by him. Multiple perspectives on the communication strategies used in Japanese by the Australian expatriate are sought through an array of workplace conversation themes that emerged from the six-month fieldwork conducted at the research site. The on-site research employed an array of data collection techniques, including a questionnaire, on-site observation, audio-recordings and in-depth interviews of the Australia expatriate and his Japanese co-workers in order to acquire multiple perspectives from the research participants. The inclusion of auto-ethnographic philosophy also allowed the researcher, myself, as a bilingual and bicultural expatriate to reflect on his own communication strategies by exploring the findings. By illustrating how L2 proficiency and cultural intelligence interact, the present study expands upon the literature that has questioned the separation of L2 competency and cultural intelligence in studying intercultural communication competence in the workplace (Du-Babcock & Babcock, 1996, 1998, 1999; Marriott, 1993, 1997; Harris & Bargiela-Chiappini, 2003; Selmer, 2001, 2005). Through a thematic analysis of the ethnographic findings, I specifically show how the Australian expatriate intertwines his L2 proficiency and cultural intelligence in order to communicate effectively with his Japanese co-workers. Moreover, the findings of the present study broaden current understanding of accommodation strategies and their effectiveness in intercultural workplace communication through the incorporation of the above-mentioned multiple-perspective (Australian expatriate, Japanese co-workers and bilingual/bicultural researcher) evaluation of the Australian expatriate’s workplace communication performances captured during the on-site research. In contrast to anecdote-laden findings present within much of the previous literature on expatriate-local staff communication (e.g., Du-Babcock & Babcock, 1996, 1998, 1999; Peltokorpi 2006, 2007, 2008; Selmer, 2005), the present study finds that cultural intelligence does indeed play a significant role in the accommodation strategies used by an expatriate. In other words, the analysis of the recorded conversations between the Australian expatriate and his Japanese co-workers and the results from the follow-up evaluation interviews show that the higher the bilingual expatriates’ cultural intelligence, the more likely they are to able to accommodate their strategies in L2, so as to be evaluated positively by local staff. More importantly, the specific context of an Australian/Japanese workplace dynamic provides thematically useful insights into Japanese communication strategies used by an Australian expatriate that are deemed conducive to successful communication by Japanese local staff in Japan. In this regard, the findings potentially contribute also to language policy regarding future content of Japanese language studies in Australia by way of actual examples of specific Japanese language use for the workplace. The present study suggests that future research and literature on the interaction of L2 language proficiency and cultural intelligence in different contexts will contribute to further understanding of effective accommodation strategies in intercultural workplace communication. More importantly, the empirical findings provide scope for future research in the specific intercultural communication context of Australians and Japanese working together in culturally diverse environments in Japan and Australia, including how the elements of the Australia-Japan relationship and cultural diversity impact on the competence.
Keyword cultural diversity, australia-japan relationship, communication accommodation, intercultural workplace communication, cultural intelligence, expatriate-local staff communication

 
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Created: Thu, 08 Dec 2011, 10:12:12 EST by Mr Sean O'connell on behalf of Library - Information Access Service