Exploring Strategic Management Problems in local and global context — ‘China construction bank (CCB)’ and ‘Agriculture bank of China (ABC)’

Chapter 1.0: Introduction

1.1 Introduction

Cross-cultural communication is concerned with investigating how people in different as well as diverse background communicate. Globalisation has present new economic opportunities for companies and to exploit these opportunities companies expand their horizons across borders. Therefore, globalisation has resulted in cultural diversity that has raised control and communication challenges at the workplace (Thomas and Peterson, 2014).

Carbaugh (2013) added that communication strategy is an important aspect of planning and stakeholders engagement, which allows the organisation to achieve operational effectiveness as well as brand visibility. The purpose of the communication strategies is to manage control and transfer knowledge from parent to subsidiary and vice versa. An effective communication strategy involves sender and receiver of message from different backgrounds. The factors that restraints the communication effectiveness are technology, culture, employee, environment and language (Thomas, 2003) .

In international business environment, workplace demands both managers and employees to interact and communicate with people with different values and behaviours to achieve resource effectiveness. Cross-cultural communication problems lead to lower efficiency as well as failure of business to achieve objectives.

Thus, the purpose of this study is to compare and evaluate cross-cultural communication strategies of Chinese bank operating in the UK.

1.2 Background of study – Research context

1.2.1 Cross-culture environment and international business

Chen (2013) analysed that cross-culture involves interaction of two or more different groups with different background, language, mentalities and perceptions. In globalised world, workplace involves people from diverse background and challenges involve tolerating vast cultural differences. The differences in values lead to cross-cultural conflict as values are deepest part of culture enclosing attitudes, beliefs and actions of people.

According to Hofstede (2001), culture does not include regulations for social behaviour but it highlights how people distinguish from each other. People with different values are likely to have differences. Therefore, communication in diverse culture environment result in disappoint and failure of business. Multinational organisation operates in diverse cultural environment and failure to manage the cultural differences result in confusion and conflict (Rohlfer and Zhang, 2016).

1.2.2 Cross-cultural communication in multinational organisation

Lucke, Kostova and Roth (2014) proposed that cross-culture communication focuses on how individual or group differences influence the communication with different culture people. The cultural differences affect the ability and communication process leads to conflict and misunderstanding. Cross-cultural communication influence control and affect relationships between employee and managers.

According to Schmidt et al (2007), communication and business operation have strong correlation in the international business environment. Intercultural communication occurs when message is produced by member of one culture for interpretation by member of another culture. Therefore, intercultural business communication is between and within the people from more than one cultural background. The interpretation of intercultural communication alters the communication based on symbol system and cultural perception.

Therefore, business communication is important to recognise the process, which helps the people to achieve their goals and understand cultural awareness (Bird and Mendenhall, 2016).

1.3 Importance of study

Intercultural communication is influenced by culture, national culture and organisational culture Cross-cultural communication is important to influence people behaviour and thinking except for individual differences. Cross-cultural communication enhances innovation through collective problem solving as well as understands the value of external information to increase effectiveness of business. The external information enhances the core competencies and creates competitive advantage. Absorptive capacity of organisation increases through cross-culture communication and provides new perspective to satisfy the needs of stakeholders (Moran, Abramson and Moran, 2014).

The cross-cultural communication challenges involve how people from one cultural background react to people of different cultural environment and manage cultural conflict. The purpose of study is to understand how Chinese bank communication strategies influence the management as well as decision-making in the UK.

The reason for selection of study is to understand cross-cultural challenges and improves cross-cultural communication of Chinese business in the global environment. The research is unique in its context and missing theory, which deals cross-cultural communication of Chinese firm in UK banking sector (Okoro, 2012).

1.4 Research aims and question

The aim of this dissertation is to review the cross-cultural communication strategies of Chinese firm with subsidiaries in the UK. The two specific organisations (banks) selected for this study ‘China construction bank’ and ‘Agriculture bank of China’ subsidiaries in the UK. The research question for study is

“How cross-cultural communication strategies are managed by the Chinese bank in the UK context”

1.4.1 Research objectives

The specific research objectives are

  • To appraise how Chinese bank communication strategies influence the management and decision-making in the UK subsidiary
  • To recognise challenges of cross-culture communication and how it differ from intercultural process in the UK
  • To compare and evaluate the cross-culture communication approaches associated with Chinese bank in the UK context

 1.5 Limitations of study

The limitation of study is that it focuses on Chinese bank subsidiary in the UK and interactions among the employees involve intercultural communication. The study elaborates the organisational and national cultural context but individual personalities are not included in the study. Moreover, research is based on secondary qualitative data and no primary data is collected for this research. Secondary data may be general or vague which limit the scope of study.

The time constraint has limited the study to two organisations rather making comparison in order context. There is limited data available to examine the specific context related to cross-cultural communication context of Chinese bank in the UK. The secondary data analysed is used to generalise the result for larger population, which exclude the human personality factors within the UK.

1.6 Structure of dissertation

  • The first chapter of dissertation enclosed introduction, aim and objectives, objectives as well as limitation of the study.
  • The second chapter of study includes a critical review of communication theory and model and cultural differences in the UK and China context. Moreover, cross-cultural communication model and barriers are evaluated and how they distort the message between sender and receiver.
  • The third section of study reviews the research methodology and analyse the suitability of research method used in this study.
  • The fourth chapter of the study discusses the data collection and analysis approach and how it contributes towards the success of study objectives.
  • The first chapter of study entails the finding and discuss the study as well as the sixth chapter of study enclosed the conclusion.

Chapter 2.0: Literature Review

2.1 Introduction

This chapter of study enclosed the literature review on cross-cultural communication including model, barriers, outcome and approach to managing cross-culture communication. The literature is divided into three sections.

The first section analyses communication theory and model along with cultural communication context in the UK and China. The second section of study enclosed the cross-cultural communication model and barriers, which distort the message in a cross-cultural communication context.

The third section of study enclosed outcome and approaches for of cross-cultural communication. The diagram below enclosed structure of literature and it a contribution towards the objectives of the research.


Figure 1: Structure of literature review

Section 1

2.2 Communication theory

Craig (1999) stated that communication involves giving and receiving information for interaction among the participants. Communication is a process in which individual or group interpret the meaning through symbols and sign for the other individual or group. In cross-cultural environment, communication is biggest part of influence on management. The communication elements include verbal as well as verbal communication, style and situation, messages as well as communication strategies.

These are important attributes of communication and it is not possible without attributes. Cross-cultural communication involves sending both verbal and non-verbal messages and thus, involves complex and dynamic process for information exchange (Guirdham, 2011). The elements of communication are enclosed below

2.2.1 Verbal and non-verbal communication

Verbal communication includes speech and writing and allows expressing intention and information to exchange ideas directly. The poor communication results in difficulty in expressing feeling and raise conflict among the individuals. On the other hand, non-verbal communication allows expressing feeling and attitudes and body language differs in cross culture environment. People from different culture have dissimilarities compare to people from same culture (Jones and LeBaron, 2002).

2.2.2 Situation and message

Situation highlights the communication environment in which communication is managed. The situation enclosed subject, participants as well as how it is communicated. Situation is influenced through communication style and different culture shows different understanding in same situation. In cross-culture context, priorities of people and value influence culture. Message conveys information and it is based on acquiring and exchanging meaning. The messages are sent and received but meaning are not. Therefore, interference and interpretation result in misunderstanding and conflicts. The cultural barriers and challenges in cross–cultural environment lead to poor efficiency and effectiveness (Slater, Peter and Valkenburg, 2015).

2.2.3 Style and communication strategies

Kasper and Kellerman (2014) added that communication style influences the listener despondence and people in cross-culture communication are more flexible. Assertiveness elaborates decision making without influence of others and thus, understand differently in cross-culture environment. Positive assertiveness is associated with efficiency whereas negative is associated with aggressiveness.

Communication style influence both cultural tendency as well as individual in organisation. Communication strategy allows attaining goals and motivation of communication strategies. The factors such as power, situation and position are important in communication strategy (Kasper and Kellerman, 2014).

2.3 Communication model

Heath and Bryant (2013) stated that communication allows exchanging information and conveying meaning. In the global business environment, communication complexities increase because of social and economic differences. Communication is critical to managing the business activities and control in the global business environment through exchange ideas and values, negotiation and integration of stakeholders.

The success of cross-culture communication depends on upon the ability of manager from one culture to effective communicate with an employee from different backgrounds. The communication model below shows the information exchange between the sender and receiver (McQuail and Windahl, 2015).

Braverman and Rao (2014) elaborated the model below symbolises behaviour and feeling that cannot be communicated directly. The message needs to symbolise before communication. The encoder is the production of the message whereas decoding highlights the receiver of the message. The sender of the message needs to encode so that receiver understands and recognise the meaning and behaviour involved. On the other hand, receiver of the message needs to decode the meaning as well as behaviour to absorb the message. In cross-cultural context, translating meaning and decoding behaviours have different meaning for both people involve in the communication have different meaning of the message. The cultural differences influence the meaning of message between the sender and receiver (Ang and Dyne, 2015).

Communication Model

Figure 2: Communication Model

Source: Bhatnagar (2011)

2.4 What is Culture?

According to Hofstede (1980), culture is collective programming of mind, which differentiates people from each other. Culture is shared system of understanding and shaped based on experiences of members. People are less conscious about own culture but in practice culture influence of interaction and external stimulus. The shared experience, institutions and theme shape value orientation and behaviour of people. Corporate culture is important to explain organisation practices and styles (Smith, 2001).

Organisational culture is defined as company shared beliefs and values as well as the way of operating in the business environment, which bind the members of the organisation. The two distinct value of corporate culture is subjective culture, which includes beliefs and values, as well as an objective culture that involve artefacts and physical setting of the company. Organisation culture enclosed business principles and values that are practice by the management, ethical standards and stakeholder relationship, which defines employee attitude and behaviour and highlights what, is happening in the organisation (Schein, 2010).

2.4.1 Organisational Culture and communication – Chinese context

Barkema et al (2015) analysed that Chinese culture is characterised as collectivism, high-power distance, high uncertainty avoidance, long-term orientation and masculinity. The cultural values are important to gain understanding about procedures the way Chinese firm operates. The basis of Chinese culture values is based on ‘Guanxi’, which related to all cultural elements.

‘Guanxi’ is preferential treatment for business partners in favour of obligation and favours. It requires similar treatment in return in the short period. If managers fail reciprocity, in return then social harmony between managers disturbed. Guanxi is important for business in China and it is an essential part of business operations in China. In the Chinese context, there are three important assumptions that elaborate the corporate culture (Jiang, 2014).

Samovar et al (2015) stated that first, culture is created by people and it should follow ethical beliefs and values. Secondly, values and norms designed by organisation need to match the social and environment context. Thirdly, corporate culture is physiological bond its members to achieve organisation goal. In Chinese corporate culture, people are considering as the core asset, the influence of national culture in binding corporate and systematic groups to manage human resource of company.

Chinese perspective on corporate culture is that it should match policies and strategies of the company. Corporate communication in China is different when with westerns style. Introductions are formal and people prefer to use nicknames. Personal contact and appointments are important as well as decision-making is slow (Ng and Ngai, 2015;).

2.4.2 Organisational Culture and communication – UK context

UK culture is characterised as individualism, low power distance, low uncertainty avoidance and low long-term orientation. Business communication in the UK is distinct when to compare with China. British norms and culture involve open questions rather subjective assumption and people are vocal and tolerant. The verbal communication is challenging in the UK because of understatement, which seems self-deprecation and makes it difficult to understand the people and situation.

For example, business negotiation in the UK is complex because ‘bit expensive’ have confusing meaning such as very expensive or little problem. (Couldry and Hepp, 2013) The English language is dominant in the UK and there are linguistic differences within English. British managers have poor competence and acceptance of foreign language and culture and usually interprets required in case English capabilities are lower.

Business relationships in the UK are different from Chinese context. Verbal and written contract are required with a large number of legal requirement. In the UK context, personal relations are not important and there is the strict separation between social and business matter. The greeting and meeting are less formal and use of the nickname is avoided. The use of explicit gesture as well as physical contact is avoided and privacy of people is priority (Asante, Miike and Yin, 2013).

Section 2

2.5 Cultural implication in Cross-cultural communication

Bochner (2013) stated that culture is distinguished into two different approaches. The first understands culture as the adaptive system and in the second approach; culture is treated as the symbolic approach. These two approach as independent present difficulties in understanding the culture in the context of cross-culture communication.

Therefore, the culture in the context of cross-cultural communication is reviewed as an interactive approach that elaborates culture as information universe, which defines and configure pattern of behaviour in society. (Bhatnagar, 2011)

Culture includes values, emotion, artefacts, heritages and behaviours of the social group that allows adapting them to surrounding and functioning in an effective way. Culture in cross-communication context defines the interaction with the environment and encodes the message, influence the construct of the message to symbolise and adapt behaviour and elaborate how to interpret message and decode the meaning of message (Moran, 2014).

Culture is inherent to form the collective identity of groups and articulated in social belongings. Cross-culture mechanism interprets adaptive, instrumental and regulatory meaning to elaborate social actions.

Cross-culture communication highlight socially constructed the process which inherent multiple meanings to define social situations. In international business, political, economic and social factors influence and determine the values and culture give meaning to reality. The characteristic of diverse culture elements represents feeling and identification of groups (Chiu et al., 2013).

2.5.1 Cross cultural communication model

Maude (2011) stated that communication model elaborates how receiver understands the message. The factors that restraints the communication effectiveness are technology, culture, employee, environment and language. The communication model elaborates how receiver understands the message. To achieve the organisation objectives and value of company, communication strategies are fundamental to these factors and implement the strategies. The diagram below highlights the cross-cultural communication model (Matthews and Thakkar, 2012).

Cross cultural communication model

Figure 3: Cross cultural communication model

Source: Matthews and Thakkar (2012)

The diagram above elaborates the purpose of communication in organisation, which is transfer of knowledge from parent to subsidiary. The first step of communication is sender of message (input) and receiver of the message. The successful communication loop demonstrates when receiver effectively decodes the message and understands the message.

There are number of barrier from organisation perspective that distorts the message between the parent and subsidiary and flow of communication impeded. The barriers, which effect the communication, are culture, language, workforce, technology and environment. The model includes the culture as values and customs prevalent in country (Hurn and Tomalin, 2013).

The norms effect the operations of business. Moreover, technology depicts the medium used to communicate electronically in the company. The formal and informal communication affects the information flow and decision-making in the organisation. Language is the national language spoken in the country of operation of company and understanding of linguistic is important for timely communication.

In addition, workforce refers to internal structure of company that includes employees and managers. Finally, environment is the external forces affect the company. For example, effect of the socio-economic forces present obstacle for cross-culture communication. (Duncker, Sheikh and Fields, 2013; Matthews and Thakkar, 2012)

2.6 Barriers in cross-cultural communication

The communication barriers in cross-culture context exist because of culture, language, common characteristic of workforce, environment and technology adaptation. Cross-cultural communication strategies are dependent upon style and cultural barriers.

2.6.1 Cultural barriers

Prejudice and stereotyping are two common barriers in intergroup communication. Stereotyping involves patterns in which people use their values to understand other people and show less interest in other culture people. Stereotyping is monolithic identity, which fails to recognise the differential identities among member of groups. In addition, stereotyping involves thinking that people from other groups are less cooperative and not honest. For example, stereotyping in Asian culture is arrogant, intelligent and technical. Stereotyping can negatively affect the work relationship and do not match the reality of situation (Levitt, 2015).

On the other hand, prejudice is attitude towards ageism, racism, sexism and religion. The prejudice attitude affects the people in negative way and this result in high tendency of conflict and misunderstanding during communication. Prejudice generates negative view from people of both cultures and result interrupted communication. Perception of individual enclosed past experiences, roles and responsibilities, feeling and physiological factors. The prejudice includes interpretation and judgements (Stephan, 2014).

2.6.2 Language: Verbal and non-verbal

Richards and Schmidt (2014) stated that language is ambiguous and has different meaning for people. Language difference is obstacles and failure to understand result in poor translation and conflict. Cross-culture communication not only requires language understanding but also non-verbal practices, value and behaviour. Non-verbal communication involves motivation and hidden meaning. Language is a distinct differentiation in cross-culture communication and conflict occurs because of improper use of language because receiver interprets different meaning for same words (Gregersen, Macintyre and Meza, 2014).

Moreover, despite using the same language creates misunderstanding. For instance, English is commonly spoken globally, but result deliver different meaning among people because of difference in cultural background. High context culture is associated with homogenous and involves indirect communication such as metaphor and non-verbal implications. The common knowledge among the group in high degree context is based on explicit communication. (Alberts, Nakayama and Martin, 2015)

On the other hand, Gregersen, Macintyre and Meza (2014) elaborated that lower degree involves heterogeneous and involve precise communication i.e. need for explicit communication. International business managers are perceived as the primary reason for cross-cultural communication challenges. The structural aspect of language includes syntax and perception to deal with meaning.

For example, in the UK, people used informal language and people from cross-culture perceive different meanings. The range of informal languages used in the UK is slang, provincialism and jargon. The language complexities and elements cannot be comprehended without an understanding of culture background. (Carbaugh, 2013)

Cultural knowledge involves norms, lifestyle, values and norms highlight barrier of communication. Non-verbal communication is important to understand the message and includes contact, facial expression, proximity and posture. Non-verbal communication from one culture might be offensive in other culture. The understanding of non-verbal communication is effective to manage business relationship (Argyle, 2013; Dragojevic and Giles, 2014).

2.6.3 Communication style

Sundberg (2013) stated that people from different culture have different communication style. For example, in china, collectivist culture of social distance. On the other hand, in the UK, individualist culture is common and members are vocal to clarify the situation. Employee with different style, language and background result in different verbal and non-verbal attitude.

Cross-culture team requires clearly define roles and responsibilities though aligning member by two-way communication. Verbal communication includes speech and writing and allows expressing intention and information to exchange ideas directly. Non-verbal behaviour of workforce includes attitude and behaviour and body signal interpret differently in cross-culture context. (Ferraro and Brody, 2015)

Non-verbal signs convey different meaning for the people with different cultural background. For example, gesture, message delivery and eye contact have different meaning in different cultures. Low-context and high-context environment create conflict and misunderstanding corresponding to culture. The message between sender and receiver can be distorted because of communication context. For example, in low context communication culture and people use indirect communication and share limited information with public but focus on the relationships. (Vollmer and Wolf, 2012)

2.6.4 Workforce and environment

Workforce refers to internal structure of the company that includes employees and managers. The power and style of the leadership are significant influence on the communication management in an organisation. The hierarchy of organisation (power distance), Interpersonal relationship, social harmony as well as networking affects the communication process in an organisation. The role of culture in organisation provides the frame of reference, which elaborates the communication style, and values to influence and understands the other culture. (Merkin, Taras and Steel, 2014)

The behaviour differences in diverse workplace distort the message in the workplace and reduce the effectiveness of the message. In western countries, the work environment is based on sequential cultures in which attention is given to each other. On the other hand, in Asian countries, synchronic which evolve around time and long-term approach are taken. In international business, emotion and reason have a significant role in human communication.

In high context, environment people are less concerned with direct communication but rather share information in public. For example, in low-context communication environment, people prefer different communication strategies whereas in high context environment different strategies are preferred. (Richards et al., 2012; Sultana et al., 2013)

2.6.5 Technology

Thatcher (2011) elaborated that international business involves communicating with people all over the using different technologies such as teleconferencing, social network and email. Technology is integral part of today workplace and in service industry technology, plays pivot role for resource effectiveness. The technology integrates people and places through facilitating effective communication. Technology facilitates the communication in the organisation and right communication tool is important for effective communication. The engagement of employee through managing level of complexity of message is important for effective communication. (Tan, 2011)

For example, workplace requires interaction to address message complexities. The communication skills are important for connecting and interacting among the diverse workforce. Therefore, it is important that employee understand the benefits and limitation of technology at workplace. The use of technology for companies is important for competitive advantage in international business environment. The advantage of communicating electronically may result in informal communication and difficulties in cross-cultural communication process. (Park, 2010)

Section 3

2.7 Outcomes of cross-cultural communication

When company overcome these barriers then benefits achieved are reduced conflict, innovation and improve communication. The understanding of cross-cultural challenges is critical and removal of these berries improves communication in the organisation. Cross-culture communication enables the organisation to create dialogue as well as transfer the information (Norris, 2013).

2.7.1 Innovation

Engelen et al (2014) propose that global organisation need to ensure employees have skills to communicate in cross-cultural communication, which enhance innovation through collective problem solving. Communication allows exchanging the information between the parent and subsidiary for time innovation and share ideas. The role of communication is vital to manage the knowledge repositories and exchange information to overcome problems through new ideas and solutions.

The use of information to understand stakeholder requirement and collaborative problem solving spur innovation in the organisation. Cross-cultural communication enable effective message decoding to share idea and work for common goals. The next stage involve acceptance of common goals and ideas through mutual understanding. The final stage is decoding of message to implement the ideas through timely encoding of message. (Hwang and Matsumoto, 2013)

2.7.2 Conflict management

Conflict is known as competition between individual and groups with incompatible goals as well as competes for the power. Conflict defines the goals, resources and power that differ among the individuals. Culture is socially inherited and shape behaviour and patterns to learn shared way of function. Conflict in cultural boundaries is based on perceptual and cognitive environment especially in misunderstanding and miscommunication.

These cultural boundaries define the cross-culture conflict. In international business context, differences based on language, nationality, ethnicity and socio-economic characteristic. Cross-cultural communication enables the business to tackle the problem of intercultural communication and increase business performance. (Eisenberg et al., 2013)

Conflict in cross-culture boundaries deal with communication style and behaviour to ensure objectives are achieved. The cognitive perspective of conflict manages through communication. The conflict resolution in low-culture context and high-culture context is influence through communication style through cross-culture communication.

In low culture context involves instrument and direct use of language as well as non-verbal language. High culture context indirect language and paralinguistic cues affected through communal culture. Cross-cultural communication allows to effective decoding and encoding of message. (Brett, Behfar and Sanchez-Burks, 2014; Tjosvold, Wong and Chen, 2014)

2.7.3 Improved Information flow

In international business, environment active communication is required for interaction. Global teams have become important part of organisation and i.e. communication is important to understand and balance the need of stakeholders. Strategic communication is focus on achieving business goals and deliver success for business.

Cross-cultural communication facilitates the intergroup, organisation as well as external environment management. The goal of cross-cultural communication is applicable at to levels, which is relationship management among stakeholders and effectively use the technology. (Caligiuri, 2014) Cross-culture communication strategies allow overcoming wrong use of communication channels, lack of information in decision-making, overcome language differences.

Effective communication enables to overcome semantic barriers through clarifying the meanings. In addition, it allows reducing the perceptual challenges of non-verbal communication. Semantic barriers are associated with sending and receiving of message, mechanical barriers enclosed physical obstruction as well as psychological barriers is belief and attitudes.  (Jenifer and Raman, 2015; Alberts, Nakayama and Martin, 2015)

Environment and communication in organisation

Figure 4: Environment and communication in organisation

Source: Nakayama and Martin (2015)

2.8 Cross-cultural communication approaches

Theories of cross-culture communication are useful to improve intergroup communication. The cross-cultural communication barriers affect communication and cross-cultural communication theories allows to manage situation, styles, behaviour and cognitive of the individuals and groups (Monaghan, Goodman and Robinson, 2012).

2.8.1 Adaptation theory

Xu (2013) stated that the theory elaborates efforts of participants to adapt to communication style and ensure effective communication in cross-culture context. The participant’s responsibilities influence communication and adjusting communication style and attitude to other behaviours. If both sender and receiver want to achieve the positive results, adaptation can easily made.

When purpose is shared, both participants are likely to adapt but if values are not shared then, participant expect positive results are likely to put more effort to adapt. The adaptation theory highlights that cross-culture communication is dynamic process for participant for adaptation during the whole communication process (Littlejohn and Foss, 2009).

The participant adaptation initiatives influence behaviour of people of both cultures. The adaptation either make individual or group to adhere to original culture or learn other cultures. The process of intercultural adaptation involves when people from one culture does not understand communication of their counterpart. The misunderstanding occurs when participants lack shared knowledge and result in miscommunication. (Adair, Hideg and Spence, 2013)

2.8.2 Culture identity theory

Cultural identity negotiation theory has emerged from social identity theory, which elaborates that people find positive social identities during interaction with people from different culture. It explains how cultural identities are formed and relationship between people in cross-cultural context exists.

According to theory, in every operation of business culture identity exists and results in successful business operations. Cross-culture communication between people show different aspect to each other. It is claimed that participants and individual values describe the cultural dimensions and influence the interpersonal communication in cross-culture context. (Ting-Toomey, 2012)

2.8.3 Cultural intelligence

Van Dyne et al (2012) added that cultural intelligence involves the ability of individual to adapt to different cultural group through empathy and observation to read people and understand situation. The high cultural intelligence represents beliefs and values within cultural group to make informal decision and adapt behaviour as well as actions accordingly. Cultural intelligence involves knowledge and acquisition of right skills.

The key element of cultural intelligence are drive (motivation to learn new culture), knowledge (how culture shape behaviour and beliefs), strategy (culture and planning) and action (behaving in cultural sensitive way). (Asante, Miike and Yin, 2013)

Cultural intelligence is ability to learn behaviour and qualities that is turn in cultural values and attitudes. The four key attributes associated with cultural intelligence are linguistic intelligence, spatial intelligence and interpersonal intelligence. Linguistic intelligence means using international business language can increase communication effectiveness. Spatial intelligence highlights the time and space during meeting and greeting. Interpersonal intelligence means understanding other people culture to adapt. (Crowne, 2013)

2.9 Conclusion

Culture enclosed set of beliefs and values, which enclosed the way for bonding of employee and problem solving in an organisation. Cross-culture communication is important to manage the cultural differences. The hierarchy of organisation (power distance), Interpersonal relationship, social harmony as well as networking affect the communication process in an organisation.

Cross-cultural communication involves interaction process at individual and organisation level, which reduce uncertainty for information seeking participants for successful communication. Adaptation theory highlights how sender and receiver adapt during cultural differences whereas cultural identity theory discusses relationship between the communication process and cultural differences.

Chapter 3.0: Research Methodology

3.1 Introduction

This chapter of study enclosed the research design and method selection used in this study. The research design of study is based on qualitative secondary data to analyse and evaluate the communication strategies of banks. The research strategy is based on ‘case study’ approach because of flexibility it offers and allows to present holistic perspective through examining social scenario from wider context. The qualitative research and case study is useful to analyse the relationship between the variables through evaluating documents and human behaviour in social construct.

3.2 Comparative Research

Bray, Adamson and Mason (2007) analysed that comparative research is useful tool to conduct ‘comparison’ through power of description. Moreover, it is useful in concept formulation through bringing the similarities and contrast in focus among the cases.  Comparative research contributes towards the inductive research through developing new hypothesises. It is useful for social-cultural studies in better way for identification and explanation of similarities and differences among the multiple events.

The goal of comparative research is to identify and search the similarities and variance Comparative research in socio-cultural studies allows developing scenario and situation analysis in wider context. The finding and analysis of comparative analysis explain the data and present information need of organisation in wider context (Esser and Hanitzsch, 2013).

3.2.1 Rationale for selection comparative research

For this study, comparative research design is selected as it fits with need of cross-cultural research question of this study. Comparative design is useful when studying particular issues by comparison of behaviour and practices. In this study, a comparison of cross-cultural communication strategies of two Chinese bank subsidiaries is conducted. The purpose is to understand the similarities and differences of cross-culture communication strategies of two banks.

3.3 Research Approach – Inductive vs. deductive research

Moore, Parker and Rosenstand (2011) highlighted that the two approaches to research are inductive and deductive and it is important to understand the research approach selected. Deductive approach issued to test the theory whereas inductive approach is concerned with generation of new theory. Inductive approach allows summarising the social events and present new theory rather confirming the hypothesis.

Inductive approach is known as bottom up approach, starts with observations, and detects patterns to develop outline (hypothesis) and develop some theories and conclusion. Therefore, inductive approach present results and generalise the phenomena. (Glaser, 2014)

On the other hand, deductive approach quantifies the problem and confirms the hypothesis. Deductive reasoning includes working toward specific problem using the top-down approach. The result narrow to specific hypothesis and observations confirm the original theories. (Amorett and Preyer, 2011)

For this study, inductive approach is useful because wider data is explored and generalizations of multiple data source are useful to develop new theories on cross-culture communication strategies of Chinese bank in the UK.

3.4 Research design – Qualitative vs. Quantitative approach

According to Wahyuni (2012) the research design are qualitative and quantitative. The difference between the two approaches is based on data collection and analysis required. The fundamental difference between the two-research approaches is degree of flexibility to examine the scenario.

3.4.1 Qualitative research

Creswell (2011) added that qualitative approach, emphasis is on words and textual analysis. Qualitative and inductive approach allows testing the relationship between research and theory and focus is generation of theory. Qualitative research involves developing understanding and derives result from social scenario.  In qualitative research, researcher cannot is part of research to understand relationship between variables. The flexibility offered allows understanding concepts and theories in relation to research question. Qualitative research is useful to describe the variation and interpret the relationship between variables. (Camfield, 2014)

3.4.2 Quantitative research

On the other hand, quantitative approach is suitable for quantification of data and analysis is conducting using the deductive approach. The focus of the research is confirming the hypothesis using the numerical data. The intention is to verify the theories. Quantitative approach use analytic approach to confirm the hypothesis using survey and questionnaires. The focus of quantitative relationship is to establish the relationship between the variables and closed end questions are used. The researcher cannot influence the outcome of research data analysis conducted using statistical computation. (Blaikie, 2009)

3.4.3 Rationale for selection of qualitative approach

Qualitative approach is suitable for this study to answer the how question. The research question for this study is how cross-cultural communication strategies are managed by the Chinese bank in the UK context. The cross-cultural communication context is useful to analyse the communication challenges and evaluation of communication strategies of the Chinese bank in the UK.

The qualitative research is useful to explain how Chinese values and communication feature influence in the UK. The research is unique in its context and missing theory, which deals cross-cultural communication of Chinese firm in UK banking sector. The research is based on exploring wider secondary data about experiences and text of people and qualitative research is useful. (Hackett, 2015)

The holistic perspective from multiple data sources and cross-culture communication approach of the Chinese banks through understand the behaviours and attitudes. The usefulness of qualitative data for this study is the ‘elusive population’ of study. The time and resources available as well as senior management is difficult to reach. The existing data is useful to understand idea and theories through re-interpretation of research.  Qualitative secondary data is useful to summarise wide range of studies and generate knowledge and present new insight on cross-communication strategies of Chinese companies in the UK context. (Smith, 2015)

3.4.4 Critiques of qualitative approach

The problem associated with qualitative research is subjective nature, difficult to replicate and generalisation of problem. Subjective nature of qualitative present challenging situation and finding rely upon the vision and bias of researcher. Qualitative research is associated with open-end style and researcher narrow the problem through generalisation of finding on area clues only. The difficultly to replicate depend upon researcher ingenuity. The generalisation of problem restricts the scope of findings. The small sample size makes it difficult to generalise the finding for larger population. (Boeije, 2009)

3.5 Research strategy – Case study

Yin (2013) stated that case study is useful to answer ‘how’ and ‘why’ scenario questions. The flexibility offered by case study research is that it allows multiple cases analysis and analyse data from various sources to present holistic perspective. Case study is useful wen researcher have no control over the situation and result can draw from event and situation. The finding of case studies is useful to develop deeper insight because of different perspective and validate the results. Case study generalise the results from larger population and conduct analysis for multiple events. Case study research involves intensively research for targeted organisation and for this study, two Chinese bank subsidiaries are selected to explore the research problem. (Polonsky and Waller, 2010)

3.6 Ethical consideration

The two principle issues associated with secondary research are confidentiality and fidelity. In secondary research, informed consent is not required but it is important that data re-use do not violate the agreement between the original researcher and participant of research. (Hammersley and Traiano, 2012)

The ethical issues rise when studies are compared. The ethical standards ensured in this study by making sure privacy and confidentiality of participant is intact from original study. The data interpretation is managed without personal bias and distortion and no personal or confidential nature of information is collected of disclosed during the research. The conflict of interest and biasness is avoided through using multiple sources of data. (Blatter and Haverland, 2012)

Chapter 4.0: Data Collection and Analysis

This chapter of study enclosed data collection and analysis approach selected for this study. The chapter enclosed three sections, which discuss data collection approach, data analysis as well as data reliability and validity issues.

Section One – Data collection

4.1 Primary vs. Secondary data

Primary data is a data, which is collected to answer the specific research problem. The primary data is collected first hand and does not already exist. The source of primary data includes questionnaire and interviews of research population. On the other hand, secondary data is a data that is already exist and collected for purposes. The useful of secondary data is that it allows enhancing existing knowledge and objective is support research question.

For this study, no primary data is collected and researcher focuses on qualitative secondary data only. The qualitative secondary data collected for this study includes published articles; peer reviews journals, business premier resources and university database. (Brace, 2013)

4.2 Qualitative secondary data

Blaikie (2009) stated that qualitative secondary data is useful to search new information through analysis and interpretation of existing information that is relevant to objective of research. The method of analysing secondary data is useful in comparative research and it involves analysis of existing information in cost effective and timely manner. Qualitative secondary data analysis allows exploring the existing data and answer the research question that are different to original research.

The use of secondary data has gained narratives in comparative research because of valuable insight it offers for researcher. Qualitative secondary data is useful to gain insight in border context and answer the research. Secondary data is useful to evaluate the findings and theory from multiple sources and case study approach allows consolidating and synthesising the finding to present holistic perspective. (Goldkuhl, 2012)

4.2.1 Rationale for choice — Qualitative Secondary data

For this study, qualitative secondary data is used to analyse the cross-cultural communication strategies in the UK context. The purpose of qualitative secondary data is to examine existing practise of the companies to elaborate the communication values and behaviours in diverse cross-culture environment. The qualitative secondary data is used to analyse, explore the relationship between the variables, and evaluate the cross-cultural communication strategies.

4.3 Sampling

Sampling involves selecting representative data sample from the whole population. The data collection from wider community is difficult task and studying each member is difficult task.  Therefore, sampling is useful tool to select the sample and generalise the finding for whole population. The research objectives and characteristic of study of population allows the researcher to decide what population to study. The problem associated with sampling is biasness and subjectivity of researcher in selecting sample. (Levy and Lemeshow, 2013)

For this study, quota-sampling technique is used as it allows studying the population based on characteristic and representing all member of study population. The quota sampling for this study would offer flexibility to choose the focus based on the information and experiences relevant to cross-cultural communication and gain better insight of communication strategies in two organisation. (Mills, Bonner and Francis, 2006)

Table 1: Key Secondary data sources

Section Two -– Data analysis

4.4 Comparative Case study

Yin (2013) stated that the data analysis strategy selected for this study is qualitative data analysis because it suitability with study research question. The qualitative data analysis is useful to answer questions such as ‘why’ and ‘how’ context. The data finding and discussion elaborates the data in the light of theories and present the holistic perspective using the comparative case study. Comparative case study allows researcher to develop holistic perspective and present characteristic of real-life event.

Case study is useful to investigate the contemporary event of real-life event when boundaries of event are less clear.  The data analysis process starts with defining research problem and question, elaborating hypothetical explanation and proceeds with data collection. The research data is elaborated using the literature review to understand the cross-cultural communication strategies of two companies. (Stake, 2013)

Comparative research method enables comparison through multiple cases and important source of casual inferences. It allows investigators to study casual conditions between the two cases with same outcome. The advantage of comparative case study is construct validity (measurement of qualitative variables) and identification of new variables.

In addition, case study offers ability to measure and retain construct validity using the theoretical concept. The advantage of case study is that statistical research is not required and focus is on the deviant cases. (Thomas, 2003)

4.5 Document analysis

Documents analysis is process of analysing useful information related to scenario and phenomena been investigated.  The documents exist independent of research questions and researcher actions. The document analysed are case studies, journal articles and books, which highlight different perspective for current study.

The document analysis allows the researcher to evaluate multiple sources and integrate into single case. The advantage of document analysis is that it is cost effective as well as non-reactive way of analysing problems in unbiased manner. (Blatter and Haverland, 2012)

Section three — Research validity and reliability

4.6 Validity and reliably of research

In qualitative research, the validity and reliability of research is important issue. The qualitative research, validity and reliability involve different issues and meaning rather than focus on measurements only. (Camfield, 2014)

4.6.1 Reliability of research

The reliability of research involves internal and external reliability. Internal reliability involves highlight that whether observer or research team agree with findings. The research process is discussed with supervisor and meeting has allowed translating the data and ensuring cohesion during the data analysis.

External reliability highlights the social setting and circumstances associated with study and beyond the control of researcher. It is difficult to freeze the external construct. The external reliability is ensured using the published and peer review journals to compare the cross-culture communication practices between two countries. (Bryman and Bell, 2015)

4.6.2 Validity of qualitative research

Similarly, validity of qualitative research involves internal and external validity. Validity requires a good match between ideas and researcher observations a good match is required. In this study, communication theories are used and journal articles and books have allowed answering the research question in precise way. External validity is achieved through generalisation of findings.

In this study, case study strategy is used to increase the validity of research through generalisation of cross-cultural communication strategies in the two banks. (Krishnaswamy, Sivakuma and Mathirajan, 2009)

4.7 Triangulation

Amorett and Preyer (2011) analysed that triangulation enables the researcher to investigate the research problem from multiple sources and increase confidence in findings. Triangulation is useful in behaviour research, improves confidence through confirmation of proposition from two or more independent event, and reduces the uncertainty involved. Data triangulation is useful to reduce uncertainty for data collected during different situation and time.

Triangulation reduces the possibilities of error and brings completeness to research. Moreover, methodology triangulation reduces the personal bias and develops holistic perspective from multiple sources. For this study, triangulation is achieved through using multiple sources of data, which increase reliability of findings, builds confidence and validates the results. (McNulty, 2011)

Chapter 5: Findings and discussions

5.1 Introduction

This chapter of study enclosed cross-cultural communication case studies for the two selected banks. The case studies analyse and evaluate cross-cultural communication barriers and strategies for each bank. The two specific banks selected to compare and evaluate the communication are ‘China construction bank’ and ‘Agriculture bank of China’ subsidiaries in the UK. The qualitative secondary is collected from different sources to evaluate and compare the cross-cultural communication strategies of banks and analysed in light of literature review.

5.2 Case study – China Construction bank (CCB) — London

China Construction Bank (CCB) is a second largest commercial bank in China. The services offered by CCB include personal banking, corporate banking, treasury service as well as trading service for public. CCB offers fund and asset management and investment services in China. Bank has 15,000 branches in China with 10 branches overseas.

CCB starts it operations in the UK in 2009 after approval from financial regulatory authority. The first branch was open in 2014 after approval from prudential regulation authority. The ranges of services offered by the CCB are trade finance, letter of credit, deposit as well as clearing operations. CCB management focuses on values and ethics and ensures integrity to offer high-quality services to customers.

The vision of CCB in the UK is to become the gateway for companies who intended to trade in China. CCB in London operates as wholly owned subsidiary along with branches in the UK. (CCB London, 2016)

5.2.1 Cross-cultural communication barriers and strategies in CCB

5.2.1.1 Language and culture misunderstanding

Chen (2013) analysed that cross-culture involves the interaction of two or more different groups with the different background, language, mentalities and perceptions. For CCB, language is considered as common communication barrier and influence the quality of communication. The difficulty to understand and interpret the message impacts the meaning and process of communication.

English is not the first language and cultural difference impacts the decoding and encoding of messages. English language barriers in the UK result in misunderstanding because of difference in native language. For example, English create confusion when asking the question and usually it means ‘yes’ but respond by ‘no’. People in the UK have the different accent which is sometimes difficult to understand and lack of clarification and understanding result in problems.

Richards and Schmidt (2014) stated that language is ambiguous and has different meaning for people. Cultural difference result in misunderstanding of language because difference in native languages and culture cause misunderstanding. For example, in Chinese context, older people are called ‘teacher’ rather calling them by name in the UK. Moreover, people in Chinese context call other people as brother or sister at work which is confusing for people in the UK.

Miscommunication happens when communicating with employee in the CCB UK office because of values and communication elements. For example, in the UK people have communication style is different, for example, ‘you do not want to waste time by taking bus’ which mean travelling on train is faster but people do not use direct style. (Buckley, Clegg and Tan, 2013)

The adaptation theory highlights that cross-culture communication is dynamic process for participant for adaptation during the whole communication process. To overcome language misunderstandings while communicating with CCB office, adjustment is made during communication with other. In the China, calling people to inform is common and range of task are managed over the phone. However, in the UK, email is commonly used to contact people. Therefore, email is commonly used to contact and communicate with the UK employee. This allows overcoming the verbal and non-verbal communication misunderstanding and adjusts to the UK context. This ensures timely and effective flow of information and minimise the conflict.

5.2.1.2 Communication style and cultural experiences

Sundberg (2013) highlighted that employee with the different style, language and background result in different verbal and non-verbal attitude. Culture and language cause misunderstanding and comprehensions which influence the communication process. Similarly, in the UK, disagreements are expressed in a different way. For example, in a case of disagreement, people in the UK do not directly disagree but rather say it would be better doing this way in a different way. This results in inconvenience during communication and reduces the work efficiency.

Carbaugh (2013) stated that Non-verbal communication is important to understand the message and includes contact, facial expression, proximity and posture. Non-verbal communication also causes problems while with people at CCB London office. For example, Chinese employee experience while discussing projects over the Skype. Managers in the UK listened carefully and during the meeting ‘nod’ occasionally like they agree.

But in the last, employee said it turn out that UK managers were trying to polite whereas in Chinese context nod mean to agree to the facts. Chinese people act in hospitality and politeness which make consider as mistrust. (Deng and Gibson, 2014)

Vollmer and Wolf (2012) elaborated that low context communication culture and people use indirect communication and share limited information with public but focus on the relationships. CCB philosophy is to identify the needs of its employee and customers in all business areas through adopting management style which encourages new ideas and promotes innovation. CCB increased cultural awareness through communication and training which allow to experience and share cultural values. Cross-cultural communication enables to share culture experience among the teams.

Xu (2013) stated that the Adaptation theory elaborates efforts of participants to adapt to communication style and ensure effective communication in cross-culture context.  CCB promote and encourage sharing the cultural experiences and learning from the assignment in China.

Moreover, in Chinese people prefer to discuss issues after the meeting and during a meeting, there are fewer problems. On the other hand, people in the UK prefer to discuss issues during the meeting and to reduce the conflict and improve communication, questions and discussing are conducted during the meeting. These adjustments allow finding new of doing things and improve information flow. Moreover, in the case of differences in opinions with colleague adjustment are made to finish the job.

5.2.1.3 Workforce and Groups

Richards et al (2012) analysed that high context, environment people are less concerned with direct communication but rather share information in openly. Workforce act as barrier when they feel less valued. In high cultural context, employees are given less important and manager communication style is commanding. The less involvement of employee’s causes resentment because of left out for the job. IN CCB, workforce is barrier because of notification and instructions coming from China and UK have low context culture.

The cultural values and differences shape up different expectations. To effective communicate and manage in cross-cultural context, CCB London made decisions regarding the working schedules. The goal was to increase the team orientation and productivity. Communication and integrative approach allowed to workforce efficiency and thus, have active role.

Merkin, Taras and Steel, 2014 added that the role of culture in organisation provides the frame of reference, which elaborates the communication style, and values to influence and understands the other culture. CCB made adjustment through cultural shifts and specific employee issues were addressed. Moreover, use of technology has created more personal work space for employee through timely communication and understanding as well as employee proactively plan work and communicate progress and targets in proactive manner.

The goal of cross-cultural communication is to address diverse business environment and cultural manage cultural values which ensure company objectives are met. The process of intercultural adaptation involves when people from one culture does not understand communication of their counterpart. CCB defines the objectives of communication is to ensure commitment of employees, clear technical jargons as well as share experiences among the workforce.

Cultural identity negotiation theory in every operation of business culture identity exists and results in successful business operations. To overcome the cultural differences and reinstate culture values, ways of communication and information is important process to manage the differences. In the UK, communication between managers and employees is relatively quick and simple due to lower power distance.

In Chinese context, it is difficult to communicate with managers and employee opinions matter less in decision-making. Managers’ opinions from the UK are considered when making decision in China and suggestions are welcome rather commanding.

5.2.1.4 Innovation, environment and technology

Thatcher (2011) elaborated that technology is an integral part of today workplace and in service industry technology, plays pivot role for resource effectiveness. CCB aims at quality service through innovation by sharing best practices. Cross-culture communication unable to overcome the cultural barriers for the company and deploy global management initiatives based on shared information and experiences.

Cross-culture communication manage uncertain and unfamiliar cultural context within CCB through sharing valuable lessons and identifying needs of its stakeholders. The goal of cross-cultural communication is to adapt and integrate the needs of employees in the UK. The use of technology to communicate has enabled the CCB to develop research culture and improve decision-making.

Therefore, cross-cultural communication goal is to integrate and adapt the policies which allow fitting in context for global best business practices. This gives freedom of expression and feeling directly between the managers and employees. Furthermore, information sharing is different in the UK and China. (Cui, Lewis and Dong, 2014)

Cultural intelligence represents beliefs and values within cultural group to make informal decision and adapt behaviour as well as actions accordingly. In China, information is shared when compared with the UK management where managers share less information and employee finish work themselves.

However, in CCB London information sharing with employees is encouraged for a better result as well as finding new ways of resolving problems. Communication misunderstanding occurs because of expression and lack of cultural knowledge.

Cross-cultural communication provides a mechanism to manage CCB London through overcoming communication barriers and achieve the objectives of the company. Cross-cultural communication is essential for innovation and conflict management as it brings people from diverse background together. Cross-cultural communication aim is to improve the information flow and reduce conflict. The sharing of common vision and goal facilitate CCB to develop talent, identify innovation process, communicate mission and allocate internal resources important for success.

5.3 Case study – Agriculture Bank of China (ABC) – London

Agriculture bank of China was established in 1951 and was completely owned by government. In 1970, ABC was restructured as state owned commercial bank and offer wide range of services. However, in 2009, ABC restructure as joint stock company and transformed bank as public shareholding commercial bank. The bank provides wide range of services, which include asset management, treasury and retail banking.

ABC has 23,650 branches in China and 14 international subsidiaries. Bank ranked 47th in fortune global 500 and has capital adequacy ratio 13%. UK financial service regulatory author approves the ABC (UK) wholly owned subsidiary in 2011. ABC long-term international strategy is to satisfy the global ambitious of customers to invest in China. ABC subsidiary and branch are located in London and delivering financial service to global customers. The services offered by the ABC include deposit, trade finance, foreign exchange as well as derivatives. (ABC London, 2016)

5.3.1 Cross-cultural communication barriers and strategies in ABC

5.3.1.1 Language and culture misunderstanding

Stephan (2014) stereotyping involves patterns in which people use their values to understand other people and show less interest in other culture people. ABC offices are considering challenging because English people find it difficult to interpret Chinese’s English accent which results in misunderstanding during encoding and decoding of the message. English level is fundamental obstacle during the communication which distorts the meaning of message.

English level result in misunderstanding which makes it harder to understand each other. ABC challenge is English is not native language and it hinders the communication process. For example, English language barrier makes it difficult for Chinese employee to keep track of third person (his or her) and questions as well as expression makes it difficult to encode the message. The critical problem is level of English and general misunderstanding when communicating over the phone.

Communication goal is to overcome the opinion and experience problems in China context. The attention is paid to specific communication problems to ensure messages are encoded and decoded in proper manner.

Hurn and Tomalin (2013) added that perception of individual enclosed past experiences, roles and responsibilities, feeling and physiological factors. The prejudice includes interpretation and judgements. Managers are considering right in China but in the UK discussions are done to convenience for the agreement. Communication is done to manage the stereotype and communication is done with an open mind and opinions of managers are listening for input.

Technology and communication resolve the cultural differences which allow understanding the circumstances and opinion. This allows achieving the agreement and understanding on what needs to achieve. Gregersen, Macintyre and Meza (2014) stated that Language difference is obstacles and failure to understand result in poor translation and conflict. ABC added that adaptation approach allows that participant’s responsibilities influence communication and adjusting communication style and attitude to other behaviours. If both sender and receiver want to achieve the positive results, adaptation can easily made.

To minimise the conflict and information sharing, English is kept simple through excluding irrelevant expressions and focus meanings. Messages are checked for meaning and grammatical meaning so it is better understood from every angle and agreement is done on what needs to do. This ensures clear communication with ABC London through clarifying meaning. Simple English language allows adapting and avoiding misunderstanding through improving information flow.

5.3.1.2 Communication style and cultural experiences

Language as barrier already discussed but the discussion in the meeting is also a challenge. Chinese employee does not express the opinion or responds in the group discussion which results in communication challenges and open discussions are difficult. ABC employees believe that information during the meeting is less informative as group discussions are avoided and fewer opinions are expressed.

Therefore, ABC employees in London experience the lack of input or feedback problems and escalate lack of information problem. This leads to conflict and frustration during the meeting discussions which restrict the flow of information and conflict raise between hierarchies. The hierarchy and relationship within ABC subsidiary are communication challenge.

For example, Guanxi distorts and present communication challenge which is difficult to understand. The relationship changes the actions and opinion of managers affects the project outcome. Moreover, cultural barrier hinder the outcome because in slow decision making and information sharing.

Cultural intelligence is ability to learn behaviour and qualities that is turn in cultural values and attitudes in ABC. Workforce communication is distorted because of difference in values, emotions and beliefs. In the UK, saying yes represents complete agreement and represents the way things should be but in Chinese context yes means looking things differently and it is not necessary that things may not need to happen in that way or there may not be complete agreement.

For example, in China, ‘no problem’ means to end the discussion but it is not clear whether there is agreement or message is understood. Miscommunication results in a case of notifications for ABC London job done but it actually not completed. The difference in opinion and meaning regarding complete gives different meaning and understanding of task involved.

5.3.1.3 Workforce and Groups

Merkin, Taras and Steel, 2014 added that the role of culture in organisation provides the frame of reference, which elaborates the communication style, and values to influence and understands the other culture. Employees are backbone of innovation in an organisation and learning has the direct relation with innovation in an organisation. ABC adopts the holistic approach to addressing the communication and cultural challenges. This allows developing holistic perspective to align the cultural values and objectives of organisation.

The wider perspective ensures to tackle issues and communication challenges for entire process rather specific business operation. Cross-cultural communication develops the ability to move the network of organisation in same direct through aligning belief and values in whole organisation. (Qin, Ramburuth and Wang, 2013)

In ABC, employee emotional perspective of employees are considered when dealing with the UK when compare to Chinese in which employee opinion matter less and cultural values to influence and understands the other culture. The changing business environment requires developing strategies which meet global business challenges through communication.

ABC Cross-cultural communication integrates vision of organisation and employees to refine the idea through information sharing as well as responding quickly to market changes. Cultural identity negotiation theory stated that participants and individual values describe the cultural dimensions and influence the interpersonal communication in cross-culture context. Cultural differences affect the manager decision because of communication style of managers.

ABC employee in the UK managers challenges the assumption and beliefs. The communication goals are to clear message and providing detail information about the process and needs to complete the task. Therefore, the communication goal is to make understand what needs to follow and done. The group discussions are clear and open discussion allows overcoming cultural problems.

5.3.1.4 Innovation, environment and technology

Cross-cultural allows bringing together individual from different backgrounds which generate conflict among the ABC departments. The Cultural difference means expectation and values of people are different. The opinion difference leads to innovation and conflict drive growth in an organisation.

Cross-cultural communication goal is to manage the relationship to minimise the conflict and spur innovation to compete in global marketplace. The need of communication style in cross-cultural teams is important to manage the multicultural teams.

ABC use of technologies for communication is vital so that language jargons are overcome as well as team members participate and communicate openly. The improved information flow reduces the cultural obstacles and helps in finding an alternative way of doing things. (Li-Hua and Khalil, 2016)

Cultural intelligence is ability to learn behaviour and qualities that is turn in cultural values and attitudes. ABC aim of cross-cultural communication is to support innovation by aligning cultural values, belief and attitudes to deliver better service through efficient services. Cross-cultural communication is aimed to develop the system which minimises the verbal and non-verbal communication challenges and integrate the workforce through support system for the employee.

ABC communication strategy focuses on developing a culture which allows feedback and evaluation which address the cultural differences. ABC aim is to develop capabilities using technology which add better value for CCB London. The purpose of cross-cultural communication is to focus on innovation through sharing information for best practices and technology sharing.

Comparison of Cross-cultural communication barriers and strategies

DescriptionChina Construction bank (CCB)

Agricultural bank of China (ABC)

Language and culture misunderstandingEnglish language and cultural values affect quality of communication. For example, accent and lack of clarification create problems. To overcome difference technology is used to encode the message and thus improve information flow and reduce conflict.  Open discussions and simple English allows to share information and reduce conflict.  Adaptation allows overcoming verbal and non-verbal differences by adapting standards practise.

 

ABC highlighted the challenge of English language because of difficulty in interpretation and encoding of message. Verbal communication hinders the communication process because of expression and beliefs difference. For example, English language barrier makes it difficult for Chinese employee to keep track of third person (his or her) and questions as well as expression makes it difficult to encode the message.  ABC focus on open mind and opinions of managers are listening for input. Adaptation approach allows clarifying responsibilities and excluding irrelevant expressions.

 

Communication style and cultural experiencesCommunication style affects the outcome and meaning of message. For example, in use rather indirect communication style is used. Cultural misunderstanding influences the communication process. Language and expression result in cultural misunderstanding and reduce efficiency. CCB cultural intelligence increases cultural awareness through communication and training which allow to experience and share cultural values.ABC employees in London experience the lack of input or feedback problems and escalate lack of information problem. The relationship hierarchy and commanding communication style challenges and Guanxi makes it difficult to elaborate and define relationships. Cultural identity allows the ABC learns behaviour and qualities that are turn in cultural values and attitudes.
Workforce and GroupsWorkforce act as barrier because of different cultural context and communication style. The cultural values and differences shape up different expectations. CCB use adaptive approach take input and feedback to pursue integrative approach. The use of technology flourish healthy working environment and provide personal space for employee.  CCB use cultural identity negotiation to manage the cultural difference and sharing of information.Employees are barriers in ABC because of language and cultural differences. ABC adopts the holistic approach to addressing the communication and cultural challenges. ABC goal is to align values and beliefs in whole organisation through standardisation approach. Integrates vision of organisation and employees to refine the idea through information sharing. Cultural identity enables to understand the needs and values of employees and manager’s decisions are managed through group discussions.
Innovation, environment and technologyCross-cultural communication in CCB aims to share best practice through sharing experiences and information. CCB integrate and adapt the policies which allow fitting in context for global best business practices. Cultural intelligence offers bring people from diverse background together to manage talent, communicate vision, and identify innovation process as well as efficient resource allocation.Cultural difference means expectation and values of people are different. The difference in opinion leads to conflict and reduce efficiency. ABC use of technologies for communication is vital so that language jargons are overcome as well as team members participate and communicate openly. The improved information flow reduces the cultural obstacles and helps in finding an alternative way of doing things.

Table 2: Comparison of Cross-cultural communication barriers and strategies

Chapter 6.0: Conclusion

The findings of study have highlighted that language; workforce and environment are communication barriers in an international context. Communication theory elaborated that communication barriers distort the meaning of the message and present different interpretations. The effect of cultural values and human behaviour in high-context, as well as low-context, distort the message meaning during encoding and decoding. The comparison has highlighted that Language is the major obstacle which results in misunderstanding and makes it difficult to convey the meaning in the UK.

The cultural differences, as well as language use, causes misunderstanding affect the message interpretation.  The result shows that CCB is focused on using the simple English and use email to communicate with CCB to minimise the conflict and improve information flow. On the other hand, ABC focuses on discussion and employee participation to ensure that meaning of a message is conveyed.

The research question for this study is how cross-cultural communication strategies are managed by the Chinese bank in the UK context. The finding of study has answer three research objectives through highlighting Chinese bank communication strategies influence the management and decision-making, challenges of cross-culture communication as well as evaluation the cross-culture communication approaches.

Miscommunication happens when communicating with an employee in the CCB UK office because of values and communication elements. To overcome the challenges, CCB ensures Managers’ opinions from the UK are considered when making the decision in China and suggestions are welcome rather commanding. This enables the CCB to find alternative solutions and improve the flow of information.

Moreover, non-verbal communication also causes problems while with people at CCB London office. To overcome the differences, managers avoid general expression and facial to avoid the misunderstanding and convey the relevant meaning to overcome the barrier. In ABC, Guanxi distorts and present communication challenge which is difficult to understand.

Therefore, when communicated with the ABC London open discussion and opinion of managers are considered to avoid prejudice. ABC working environment is open and relaxed which encourage discussions and innovation.

The findings have highlighted that both organisations are affected because of globalisation factors which hinder the productivity. CCB added that language is the important barrier along with cultural values which affect process and quality of communication. Technology has allowed increasing information flow and communication effectiveness.

CCB use the adaptive approach such as simple English, open discussion and standard practices to reduce conflict and integrate workforce. Similarly, ABC added that accent and expression of language hinder communication process. ABC use Adaptation approach allows clarifying responsibilities and excluding irrelevant expressions. CCB added that communication style affects meaning and interpretation of message due to cultural differences.

Commanding leadership style and expression result in cultural misunderstanding and reduce efficiency. CCB cultural intelligence increases cultural awareness through communication and training which allows experiencing and share cultural values. On the other hand, ABC highlighted that stereotyping or feedback problems and escalate lack of information problem. Communication style and Guanxi affect relationships and cultural identity allows learning behaviour and qualities.

ABC highlighted that in cross-cultural context cultural values define expectation which affect the productivity and efficiency. Adaptive approach allows integrating and communicating the vision and use of technology facilitate the workforce and groups to manage cultural difference and sharing of information.

Employee and groups present communication challenges and prejudice which affect the meaning of the message. ABC adopts the holistic approach to addressing the communication and cultural challenges. ABC goal is to align values and beliefs in the whole organisation through standardisation approach. Cultural identity theory allows identifying the differences and manager’s decisions are managed through group discussions.

CCB focus on sharing experiences and best practice to address cultural challenges and respond to global business needs. Cultural intelligence allows integrating people from diverse background and spurring innovation through sharing the vision of the organisation. ABC use of technologies for communication is vital so that language jargons are overcome as well as team members participate and communicate openly.

To summarise, comparison of findings has highlighted what are cross-cultural communication barriers in globalised context and their influence on management as well as decision making in CCB and ABC. Moreover, comparison of two case studies has offered insight on communication approaches of selected organisation and answered the research question.

6.1 Strength and Limitation of this research

This study enclosed two important advantages. The first advantage is that it allows the offers value insight on the globalisation factors which affect the cross-communication practices of Chinese bank operating in the UK. There are fewer Chinese financial institutions operating globally and research provides the opportunity to understand how cross-cultural communication increase the information sharing, reduce conflict and spur innovation to address global customers need.

The second advantage of this study is that it provides the foundation to conduct further research on cross-cultural communication and globalisation of Chinese firm. The research attempt to fulfil the research gap and set directions for future research is on cross-cultural communication and globalisation of Chinese banks.

There are three important limitations of this study which affects the outcome of this study. The first limitation is that data collection for this study. To answer the research question only secondary data is used. There is no primary data is collected for this study because of lack of time and resources.

This restricts the perspective of research to secondary data which is not up-to-date. The second important limitation attached to this study is the availability of secondary data related to selected banks. There are a limited number of studies available which address the cross-cultural communication challenges and challenge of a Chinese bank in the UK context. The secondary data has allowed evaluating the limited perspective of cross-cultural practices in the selected banks.

The third limitation attached to this study, it explores the factors associated with globalisation effect on business but it does not evaluate how individual behaviour such as interpersonal skills affects the communication process in global context. Moreover, primary data could have present recent and diffract perspective for cross-cultural communication for both banks.

 

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