International communication in Russia. A case study

Term Paper, 2008

28 Pages, Grade: 3,0


Table of Contents


Methodized advancement

1. Introduction

2. Cultural communication framework
2.1. The aspect of communication in international business
2.2. The aspect of cultural diversity in international business

3. Cultural dimension of human resource management
3.1. Hofstede´s dimensions
3.2. Hall´s statement

4. Analysis of critical interaction
4.1. Special recruiting strategies
4.2. Developing skills

5. Solution/ advancement

6. Conclusion




1. Figure of Hofstede (analysis Russia/ Germany)

2. Cultural communication styles according to Hall

3. Synopsis of Synergistic and Transformation Process


illustration not visible in this excerpt

Methodized advancement

At first in the introduction there is a description of international communication and why it is important in daily international business.

In order to understand the theoretic background communication framework and as well cultural framework are signed within different examples. Regarding to the cultural dimensions different studies which were made are included.

In the practical part a special critical interaction shows the risks and problems with intercultural communication in an economic company in Russia. Regarding to that recruiting strategies and developing skills belong to it as remarkable contents.

Than a solution or advancements have being given for a preparation to improve intercultural communication.

Finally a conclusion with a short summary was also being added.

1. Introduction

Why are companies successfully abroad but not always the strongest ones at home?

“Honda, for example, has a market- share at home that is less than one-third that of Toyota and half that of Nissan, yet for years it was ahead of both Toyota and Nissan in the US market. Why are there global firms like Nokia from small countries like Finland?”[1]

The main key for competitive advantages to any explanation of the firm´s ability is to engage successfully in international operations and have an effective internal communication-network.

The modern world of economics is characterised by globalisation, new technologies and competition. More and more (also medium- sized) companies go international like outsourcing or setting up a subsidiary company for example.

The trends have an effect on expectations of employees and resources of international management. Therefore recruiting staff with international competences and an effective handling of the cultural dimension of management is needed. Managers will only succeed if the balance and blend is economical. Driven standardisation advantages with culturally-determined localisation were also needed.

“A fundamental part of any international manager´s reality is the intercultural nature of his or her interactions.”[2]

Managing an international team of a company abroad means accepting different values, behaviour and attitudes because there might be a potential for distortion or misunderstanding interactions.

With regards to interaction the role of culture in international HRM research should continue to gain importance. While the importance of culture is increasing, perhaps more significantly, the nature of cultures role in international interaction is also changing.[3]

IHRM includes specific features which were established by internalisation of companies. Special recruitment strategies, personal development and coaching specially belong to it.

Different goals are respondsible for sending staff abroad:

The transfer of technological and management know-how need to be done.

Furthermore the international and intercultural management opportunities should be developed and adapted to the market abroad.

2. Cultural communication framework

Intercultural communication is generally defined as “the information exchange between one person and any other source transmitting a message displaying properties of a culture different to the one of the receiver’s culture.”[4]

For practical assignments managers have to keep in mind which framework for communication and as well cultural differences are described. Communication in a team of intercultural companies may influence the business success.

2.1. The aspect of communication in international business

The world today is characterized by an ever growing number of contacts or special networks resulting in communication between people with different linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

In business communication takes place in negotiations, meetings, presentations, one-to-one-conversations and small-talks - and also usually web-based as in e-mails or messages, telephone calls or faxes.

If one can not communicate in the language there will be a need for a translator.

Typically, managers spend 75 to 80 percent of their time engaging in some form of written or oral communication.[5] Although often termed a “soft” skill, communication in business organizations provides the critical link between core functions.

In business companies ineffective (team) communication is very expensive. Actually employees transfer information, discuss their proceedings and compare notes or their business goals.

“The National Commission on Writing estimates that American businesses spend $3.1 billion annually just training people to write. The Commission surveyed 120 human resource directors in companies affiliated with the Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers from U.S. corporations.”[6]

Because of the changing environment and increasing complexity of the 21st century the communication at workplaces is gaining more and more importance. The collaboration that allows organizations to capitalize on the creative potential of a diverse workforce depends on communication.

Furthermore another point why international communication in general gets more important is because the world’s economy is becoming increasingly global. A study by the Columbia University School of Business reported that successful executives must have multi-environmental and multinational experience.

Organizations will want to negotiate, buy and sell overseas, consider joint ventures, market and adapt products for an international market and improve their expatriates’ success rate. All of this involves qualified communication on a higher level.

“Communication is at the heart of all organizational operations and international relations.”[7]

In communication there exist not just sender and receiver. Actually every person is a medium or instrument of communication in an organization.

Also non-verbal – in the opposite of verbal - communication seems to be important while having a look at cultural behaviour. E.g. Japanese lower their eyes when speaking to a superior, a gesture of respect.

In many cultures, directness comes across as abrupt and demanding or instrusive. An open person may be seen as weak and untrustworthy, incapable of appropriate restraint. Giving details and specifices may insult one´s intelligence. To some, written contracts imply that a person´s world is not good.[8]

“Words representing perhaps 10% of the total (communication) while behaviour the other 90% stresses feedback, on how people are feeling. The ways of avoiding confrontation and the inherent logic is the birthright of all people.”[9]

2.2. The aspect of cultural diversity in international business

Managers frequently see culture as “the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one human group from another […] the interactive aggregate of common characteristics that influences a human group´s response to its environment.”[10]

A human being will be born in a culture and absorbs this culture directly. Cultural programming takes place from infant hood and with the age of seven cultural behaviour is completely internalised. This culture will change us mentally and unconsciously.

IHRM must accept that working with different cultures means also a diversity of religion, language, characters and tactics (what e.g. affects the style of negotiation). An assumption for successful communication in international management is having qualified leaders who are informed about cultural varieties they lead.

Therefore managers in international companies need to have a detailed knowledge about the behaviours of culture in a team and be sensitive to lead them. To understand patterns and differences inherent in national culture, several different approaches are considered.

A cross- cultural manager requires a new formulation of communicative competence achieving their business goals.

Awareness of cultural influences is essential for transferring concepts, technology or ideas.

If companies have a successful negotiation and finish is in a “win-win-situation” in which both parties gain. What happens may be a party in some cultures for example.

In China the negotiator is likely to be a professional whose only job is to negotiate. If he cannot show that he obtained “discounts”, he is not doing his job. The Arab will start with an outlandish position, then retreat and claim, “See how generous I am.”

Efficient communication requires a suitable rather than dominant manager. “The manager´s personality and management style have a significant impact on the satisfaction and performance of employees.”[11]

For cross-cultural communication there are different strategies for managing a team of employees abroad.

The following problems and risks rise if misunderstanding and behavioural mistakes take place in an international company managing different cultures grow:

Negotiations could fail which also means an enormously loosing amount.

Employees avoid working in a team which is combined multi-culturally.

At least other competitive companies grow up und customers could be lost for example.

Consequences of ignore cultural differences therefore can even influence the companies success which should not be underestimated.

With regards to diversity management different values and opinions are interesting. For international companies different dimensions (see Hofstede in 2.1.) can be covered by different cultured employees.[12]

In France, Motorola lost out to the Japanese when France´s Thomson group chose Oki Electric Industry Company to expand the French company´s semiconductor business. After working with Motorola for six years, a Thomson group executive said: “We may just have more in common with the Japanese than we do with the Americans.” He explained, “We both attach great importance to form and style.”

Actually in future it´s not only necessary to hire qualified employees but also coping with changing challenges.

3. Cultural dimension of human resource management

People from different cultures encode and decode messages differently, increasing the chances of misunderstanding. The safety-first consequence of recognising cultural differences should be to assume that everyone’s thoughts and actions are not just like ours.

Different cultures have different thresholds for trickery, confrontation and negotiations.

3.1. Hofstede´s dimensions

Special studies of cultural dimensions and classification of culture were found.

To analyse one of them Hofstede's framework for assessing culture should be described and analysed. Hofstede's study shows that there are national and regional cultural groupings that affect the behaviour of societies and organizations, and that are very persistent across time.

In the early 1970s he did a survey of IBM subsidiaries with 116,000 questionnaires and included over 70 countries.[13]

The five dimensions are described as follows:

1. Power Distance Index (PDI)

This dimension is the extent to which the less powerful members of organisations and institutions accept and expect that power is distributed unequally.

In high power-distance cultures: the boss is the boss and everyone is in his or her place, employees are afraid to criticize (France, India). While by the low power-distance code superiors and subordinates are colleagues, employees expect to be consulted (Austria, Israel).

2. Individualism (IDV)

The emphasis is on personal initiative and achievement in highly individualistic cultures; the ideal is to be a good leader, everyone has the right to private life and his or her opinion (USA; Britain). While on the opposite pole of collectivism loyality is rewarded by the protection, the ideal is to be a good member Commitment to the work organisation overrides personal inclinations (Iran, Peru).

3. Masculinity (MAS)

Natives of high masculinity cultures have performance counts and measured partly in material standards like big and fast are beautiful and machismo is sexy (Australia, Italy). While the feminine and quality of life matters more than standard of living – service/ people/ the environment are the focus; small is beautiful and unisex is attractive (Netherlands, Sweden).

4. Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI)

Where uncertainty-avoidance is a normal behaviour: people feel the need for clarity and order. They work hard in stable careers and abhor deviance, company rules are observed even when damage may result (Japan, Greece). While in countries where they do not avoid uncertainty, each day is taken as it comes, people take a pragmatic view of rules and regulations, people are more mobile from job to job (Denmark, Hong Kong).[14]

5. Long-Term Orientation (LTO)

Values associated with long-term orientation are thrift and perseverance (China); values associated with short-term orientation are respect for tradition, fulfilling social obligations, and protecting one's 'face' (like in Pakistan).

This dimension was created in 1991 after the others that you can often see four on the figures.

At the view of figure 2 an example of Hofstede is shown for Russia and Germany (as also it is also shown in point 4.). The survey for this figure was made in 2003.

To compare both countries with each other it should be mentioned that the PDI in Russia is much higher than in Germany. Therefore headquarters seem to chief have a higher acceptance by employees. In Russia people feel more comfortable with regular hierarchies.

Furthermore the point of UAI has differences in both cultures. In Russia rules of regulations are much more important than in Germany.


[1] P. Joynt/ M. Warner: “Managing across cultures – issues and perspectives”, 1997, page 376

[2] H.W. Lane/ J.J. Di Stefano: “Intercultural management behaviour“; second Edition, 1992

[3] P. Joynt/ M. Warner: “Managing across cultures – issues and perspectives”, 1997, page 22

[4] S. Dahl: “Communications and Culture Transformation“; page 53

[5] Wisconsin Business Alumni Update, December 2005, online business newspaper – “LISTEN UP Why Good Communication Is Good Business”

[6] Wisconsin Business Alumni Update, December 2005, online business newspaper – “LISTEN UP Why Good Communication Is Good Business”

[7] R.T. Moran, P.R. Harris, S:V: Moran: “Managing cultural differences – Global leadership strategies for the twenty-first century”, 6th edition, 2004, page 39

[8] L. Copeland/ L. Griggs: “Going International: How to make friends and deal effectively in the global marketplace”, 1985, page 12

[9] E.T. Hall: “ Dance of life” Garden City, NY, 1983

[10] T.D. Weinshall: “Societal culture and management“; 1993, page 29

[11] International Journal of Social Science,, 2006

[12] K. Wiesner: “Internationales Management – Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliches Repetitorium”, 2005, page 213

[13] J. Mattock: „Cross-cultural communication“, second edition, 2003, page 76

[14] J. Mattock: „Cross-cultural communication“, second edition, 2003, page 77

Excerpt out of 28 pages


International communication in Russia. A case study
FHM University of Applied Sciences
Cross Culture Management
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ISBN (Book)
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international communication, russia
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Diplom Christine Scheller (Author), 2008, International communication in Russia. A case study, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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