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Mutual understanding in an intercultural company: Researching the interactions in the relationships Sweden-Ukraine and Sweden-India from a perspective of culture, communication and context.
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.), Organization and management. (Organization and Leadership)
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.), Organization and management. (Organization and Leadership)
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Different national cultures use communication in different ways. When international businesses use resources in different countries, the communication needs to work for mutual understanding to occur. This essay focuses on the interactions between Sweden and Ukraine, and Sweden and India. As the business-oriented interactions play out, a negotiated culture is formed between the co-workers. Traditional cultural research makes comparisons between nations to predict outcomes, ignoring the importance of the interactions. This leaves no room for understanding the new culture that emerges in the meeting. The research conducted in this thesis is to be understood within the context of this negotiated culture; this space of interactions where the business communication takes place. Pioneers in our field we mapped the interactions observed in three virtual teams, called clusters, within the company. To understand the creation of mutual understanding several aspects were taken into consideration: the context of the company and the negotiated culture, the understanding of what another person means with their words – their frame of reference – and the view on and use of communication. 

The research found a low awareness of the negotiated culture that co-workers communicate within. As the host country Swedish egalitarian and flat structure heavily biased the negotiated culture; yet with a focus on the relationship that came to permeate all findings. A friendly relationship and trust within the cluster helped with the communication, collaboration and understanding of each other. Initial physical meetings were found important for understanding another’s frame of reference, while the continuous meetings proved relationship building. The process of mutual understanding works very well within the clusters of the company. Others could use the findings of this report as guidelines in reaching mutual understanding.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 79 p.
Examensarbete INDEK, 77
Keyword [en]
mutual understanding, negotiated culture, business communication
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-171240OAI: diva2:843097
Subject / course
Industrial Economics and Management
Educational program
Master of Science in Engineering - Industrial Engineering and Management
2015-06-03, rum 443, Sing SIng, KTH, 14:00 (English)
Available from: 2015-08-11 Created: 2015-07-26 Last updated: 2015-08-11Bibliographically approved

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