INTERCULTURAL MISUNDERSTANDINGS: CAUSES AND SOLUTIONS

Abstract


Intercultural misunderstandings involve a number of complex causes which can easily escalate into conflicts. Since conflicts are also complex, it is not easy to find solutions because there is no one solution for all problems. Systems Theory, transdisciplinarity, and the social ecological model take a holistic approach in investigating complex phenomena. They permit the creation of a theoretical framework based on previous empirical research and theories across scientific disciplines to identify the relevant elements of complex phenomena and to understand the interrelationship of these elements. Intercultural misunderstandings and conflicts are very complex phenomena because they include culture, perception, identity, ethnocentrism, relationships, trust building and conflict management as well as intercultural commu-nication competence which entails cognition, metacognition, and social metacognition. Since most em-pirical studies focus on isolated, individual elements in specific contexts, this article describes the theoretical framework of how the various findings and theories developed in different scientific disciplines can be used to form a cohesive framework to help circumvent intercultural misunderstandings and conflicts. In so doing, it follows the general principles of Systems Theory, transdisciplinarity, and the social ecological model.

Michael B Hinner

hinner@bwl.tu-freiberg.de
TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Germany 6 Akademiestraße, 09599 Freiberg, Saxony, Germany

Michael B. Hinner, Dr., Professor of Business English and Intercultural Communication at the Faculty of Business Administration and the International Resource Industry, Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg (Germany), editor of the book series for business and intercultural communication (Beiträge zur Interkulturellen und Wirtschaftskommunikation). Research interests: Business English, Intercultural Communication, Organizational Communication, Culture and Communication in a Business Context, Perception and Communication.

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