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What we do > Projects: completed works > Cross cultural studies
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Cross cultural studies in communication and comparative methodology

(project completed in 2012)

With globalization there is a growing recognition that communication studies « can no longer be considered as bounded within a unicultural framework » (Stohl, 2001) . The internationalization of the labor market, the immigration flews, the expansion of business travels and expatriations, the development of international organizational connections and the delocalization of industrial firms have multiplied the occasions of communications in international settings.

Pragmatic questions about how to manage a multicultural workplace, how to manage a multicultural negotiation or how to manage an international PR strategy have stressed the need for more research on intercultural or cross-cultural issues in the communication sphere. Macroscopic questions about peculiar communication and PR practices among different cultural settings also merge and show the evidence of a need for more comparative and international studies among our research community.

Many difficulties in elaborating international surveys and studies are to be considered, from an epistemological, and methodological point of view (Ryen, 2008). There is a key issue : « if researchers ignore the methodological issues common to cross-cultural research, they risk interpreting findings that may actually be meaningless, inconclusive, or misguiding. » (Schaffer et Riordan , 2003).

Comparative methodologies need to be questioned and studied in order to identify their main difficulties and opportunities.

Two main difficulties are to be overcome in developing cross-cultural research in the PR and Organizational Communication fields, in a hybrid and cosmopolitan world, where the globalization of organizations is fast becoming the norm rather than the exception.    

  • The reification of national identities, found in most cross-cultural studies, in a context where hybrid identities are growing fast. There is a need to encompass and consider the frequent “national cultural identity bias” and to understand better what kind of transcultural identities and new organizational identities are possibly (e)merging. What other non-national sources of identity come into play in a “multi-national” environment? What new hybrid identities are being built across Europe, and how might they affect practices and relationships within the workplace?
  • The hegemony of quantitative research. Most cross-cultural studies are quantitative, and as a result their focus tends to be explicative rather than comprehensive. Thus they do not necessarily contribute positively to our understanding of the kind of role communicative practices are playing in the construction and development of contemporary organizational structures. At a time when new professions are emerging at the forefront of the Web 2.0 revolution, we need to better understand the relationship between these new forms and practices. How can we conduct qualitative cross-cultural research?

The aim of the project is to share knowledge and collect research publications on cross-cultural methodologies, from among the enlarged Euprera community, in order to publish a book by 2012.

Overall timeline

The project started in Bucharest  (2009) with a panel on Cross cultural metholologies with Anne Gregory, Sue Wolstenholme and Olger Stievert. A new meeting and a présentation of the project by Valerie Carayol was organized during the congress in Jyväskylä, Finland (2010).

A call for papers ending december 2010 was organized.

Results

The result of the project is the book Communication and PR from a Cross-Cultural Standpoint. Practical and Methodological Issues".

The first part is dedicated to the question of work in multicultural teams, focusing notably on the way that participants can learn from interactions and take into account multiple sources of representations when handling predictability issues.

The second part deals with qualitative methodology and researcher subjectivity / bias in cross-cultural research.

The third applies these considerations more specifically to cross-cultural Public Relations research, taking examples from around the world.

Download the cover and the resume of the book

Project leader

In cooperation with

  • Alex Frame, University of Bourgogne, France

Project team members

  • Stuart Reid & Helen Spencer-Oatey, University of Warwick, UK
  • Anne Gregory, Leeds Business School, United Kingdom
  • Adela Rogojinaru, University of Bucharest, Romania
  • Iris Rittenhofer, Aarhus Universitet, Denmark
  • Kim Tsai, Hanze University, The Netherlands
  • Daniel Lowensberg, Hull University Business School, United Kingdom
  • Caroline Hodges, Bournemouth University, UK
  • Holger Sievert, Komm-passion consulting, Zeppelin University, Germany
  • Sorin Nastasia, Southern Illinois University, USA
  • Graeme Sterne, Manukau Institute of Technology, New Zealand

More info

For all information, please contact Valerie.carayol@u-bordeaux3.fr and aframe@u-bourgogne.fr




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