Communication strategies and behavioral adaptations in intercultural channels
AuthorGilster, Elisabeth, 1955-
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractAlthough international business-to-business marketing is pervasive, little systematic empirical work has been conducted on face-to-face interactions between channel members from different cultures. Greater knowledge regarding cross-cultural communication strategies (e.g. verbal and non-verbal language choices) and behavioral adaptations (e.g. rapport building, increased flexibility with timing, and contractual format) will enhance the strength, efficiency and longevity of relationships between channel partners from distinct cultures. More importantly, a lack of this knowledge seriously jeopardizes cross-cultural understanding and the ability to develop and maintain intercultural exchange relationships. This dissertation presents an empirically derived conceptual framework of cross-cultural communication and behavioral processes. This framework is drawn from extensive ethnographic fieldwork in two intercultural channels of distribution and from academic literature. Acculturation moderates the influence that culture of the producer and the power situation have on the choice of communication strategies and behaviors in interactions between intercultural channel partners. The more the choice of communication strategies and behavioral adaptations is consistent with cultural traditions of the channel members, the higher the levels of trust engendered through the relationship. Hence, trust was expected to be a critical predictor of satisfaction and performance. This was consistent in the interview data, but not in the observation data. The conceptual framework is tested using survey research in the same industries. Power and acculturation were found to have limited effects on the choice of communication strategies. Trust was shown to play a very limited role as a mediating variable. However, significant correlations between the communication strategies and behavioral adaptations and the business outcome variables were revealed. In the conclusion, implications for marketing managers are discussed, limitations of this research are outlined, and future research ideas are proposed.
Degree ProgramGraduate College