The Chinese are known as an inscrutable people in the West. With the rapid globalisation of world business, China, with its booming economy and as one of the world's largest emerging markets, is attracting increasing numbers of international traders and investors. Various sources have shown that language and culture are, among other factors, two of the major obstacles to successful business collaborations between the Chinese and Westerners. This dissertation aims to help remove these obstacles by offering some insights into the intricate mechanisms of business negotiation between the Chinese and the Dutch.
While most of the research concerning Chinese-Western communication has used everyday conversation as the subject of study, this research chooses negotiation, the core of international business, as its subject. Micro-level qualitative discourse analyses are used as the main research method in addition to ethnographic methods such as the questionnaire survey and interview. The main data used are simulated as well as real-life video-taped Chinese-Dutch business negotiations. Questionnaire survey and interview data from real-life Chinese and Dutch negotiators are used as support data. The phenomena recurrently cropping up across the negotiations are examined at a turn-to-turn level to pinpoint places where problems arise that prevent the negotiators from reaching mutual understandings and fulfilling negotiation goals. The deep-rooted cultural concepts underlying the linguistic phenomena prove to be the main trouble sources. The results of this research are relevant for both the academic and business world.
1 Introduction. Part A: methodological and theoretical framework. 2 Research methodology. 3 Business negotiation and intercultural communication. 4 Discourse and its analysis. Part B: analysis. 5 Cultural keywords in negotiation. 6. Cultural assumptions, tutor practices, and negotiation. 7 Discourse organisation in negotiation. 8. The role of interpreters in negotiation. 9 Conclusion.