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ET212-15 Intercultural Business Communication

Applied Linguistics
Undergraduate Level 2
Module leader
Sophie Reissner-Roubicek
Credit value
Module duration
10 weeks
50% coursework, 50% exam
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description

How does culture affect the way we do business? How can we communicate effectively across culturally different workplaces and with diverse stakeholders? What is localisation and why is it relevant? This module will help you to gain a better understanding of communication within and across global businesses at individual and corporate levels, internally and externally. One important topic we’ll engage with is the way social media has changed the landscape of business communication and what values and beliefs about culture are having an impact on new media use in the modern business world. This module will promote your awareness and understanding of key aspects of communication, and importantly help you to develop your ability to communicate effectively across differences within the context of global business culture.

Module web page

Module aims

The module aims to: • Introduce students to the notion of intercultural communication in international business contexts • Develop an understanding of challenges faced by managers when working across cultures • Familiarise students with cultural issues emerging from intercultural interactions and their impact on intercultural business relations • Enable students to develop intercultural awareness and sensitivity for existing or emerging intercultural business relationships • Enable students to develop and hone their skills in intercultural business communication • Familiarise students with current developments in the field of intercultural business communication • Make use of real-life examples of intercultural communication to allow students to apply their newly acquired knowledge • Learn about and understand the relevance of cultural differences and their impact on conducting business on an international scale

Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.

Topics covered include: • The shifting global business landscape • Understanding culture for work • Communicating in face-to-face and virtual teams • Approaches to communication training and consultancy • Building business relationships across cultures • Negotiations across cultures • Transfer of cultural values in HQ-Subsidiaries • Reputation management and CSR • Crisis communication across cultures

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • Understand and apply theories commonly associated with intercultural business communication
  • Identify and analyse the impact of cultural differences on business communication in a range of contexts
  • Critically assess prior and recent research in the field of intercultural communication
Indicative reading list
  • Bargiela-Chiappini, F., Bülow-Møller, A. M., Nickerson, C., Poncini, G., Zhu, Y., & M. Zachry. (2003). Five perspectives on intercultural business communication. Business Communication Quarterly, 66(3), 73‐96. • Curtin, P. (2012). Negotiating global citizenship: Mattel’s 2007 recall crisis. In T. W. Coombs and S. Holladay (Eds.), The handbook of crisis communication (pp. 467‐88). Wiley-Blackwell. • Chaney, L. & Martin, J. (2014). Intercultural business communication (6th ed.). Prentice Hall • Gertsen, M., & Zølner, M. (2012). Reception and recontextualization of corporate values in subsidiaries. In M. Gertsen, A.-M. Søderberg & M. Zølner (Eds.), Global collaboration: Intercultural experiences and learning (pp. 137-150). Palgrave Macmillan. • Gibson, R. (2002). Intercultural business communication: An introduction to the theory and practice of intercultural business communication for teachers, language trainers, and business people. Oxford University Press. • Hooker, J. (2012). Cultural differences in business communication. In C.B. Paulston, S. F. Kiesling, & E.S. Rangel (Eds.), The handbook of intercultural discourse and communication (pp. 389-407). John Wiley & Sons. • Kammhuber, S. (2010). Intercultural negotiation. In A. Thomas, E-U. Kinast, S. Schroll-Machl, & C. Weston-Horsmann (Eds.), Handbook of intercultural communication and cooperation (pp. 255-263). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. • Jameson, D.A. (2007). Reconceptualizing cultural identity and its role in intercultural business communication. Journal of Business Communication, 44 (3), 199-235. • Lehmberg, D. & Hicks, J. (2018). A ‘glocalization’ approach to the internationalizing of crisis communication. Business Horizons, 61, 357-366. • Varner, I.I. (2000). The theoretical foundation for intercultural business communication: A conceptual model. Journal of Business Communication, 37 (1), 39-57. • Zhu, A., Anagondahalli, D., & Zhang, A. (2017). Social media and culture in crisis communication: McDonald’s and KFC crises management in China. Public Relations Review, 43(3), 487-492.
Research element

Students conduct an empirical study in one of four topic areas for their written assignment, contextualising their analysis in a critical review and discussion of the relevant literature.


The module takes an applied linguistics approach to intercultural business communication and training, drawing on empirical research, theory and practice from fields including intercultural pragmatics, cross-cultural psychology, management, and public relations.


Opportunities for intercultural interaction and reflection are the focus of seminar training activities, with learning resources across the module covering diverse international contexts that reflect the diversity of the student cohort.

Subject specific skills

Students will be able to: effectively apply the newly acquired knowledge in practical examples (e.g. negotiation settings); present and discuss intercultural communicative issues in the field of business; actively participate in group tasks and plenary discussions; show understanding for the impact of cultural differences on intercultural business communication; critically review existing research in the field of intercultural business communication; understand basic mechanisms and factors influencing intercultural communication

Transferable skills

Students will be able to: appropriately use key communication terminology in context; present business communication issues professionally and succinctly; learn how to handle or moderate conflicts emerging from intercultural business relationships; resolve business issues emerging from intercultural communication; develop and hone communicative skills required for individual as well as group work assignments

Study time

Type Required
Lectures 9 sessions of 2 hours (12%)
Seminars 9 sessions of 1 hour (6%)
Other activity 4 hours (3%)
Private study 119 hours (79%)
Total 150 hours
Private study description

Reading subject materials and revising lectures

Other activity description

Revision sessions


No further costs have been identified for this module.

You do not need to pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Assessment group C6
Weighting Study time
2000 word Assignment 50%

Analysis and critical discussion

Online Examination 50%

1 paper

~Platforms - AEP

  • Online examination: No Answerbook required
Feedback on assessment

Written feedback will be provided on one of the Centre's standard feedback sheets, designed to conform to Faculty regulations. Where appropriate, additional feedback may be provided via personal meetings during office hours and individual arrangements.

Past exam papers for ET212


This module is Core for:

  • Year 2 of ULNA-R2Q3 Undergraduate German and Linguistics

This module is Core optional for:

  • Year 2 of UETA-Q1A9 Undergraduate Linguistics with Arabic (with Intercalated Year)
  • Year 2 of UETA-Q1A7 Undergraduate Linguistics with Chinese (with Intercalated Year)
  • Year 2 of UETA-Q1A1 Undergraduate Linguistics with French (with Intercalated Year)
  • Year 2 of UETA-Q1R2 Undergraduate Linguistics with German
  • Year 2 of UETA-Q1A2 Undergraduate Linguistics with German (with Intercalated Year)
  • Year 2 of UETA-Q1A8 Undergraduate Linguistics with Japanese (with Intercalated Year)
  • Year 2 of UETA-Q1A6 Undergraduate Linguistics with Russian (with Intercalated Year)
  • Year 2 of UETA-Q1A4 Undergraduate Linguistics with Spanish (with Intercalated Year)

This module is Optional for:

  • Year 2 of UETA-X3Q5 Undergraduate Language, Culture and Communication
  • Year 2 of UETA-X3Q8 Undergraduate Language, Culture and Communication (with Intercalated Year)
  • Year 2 of UETA-Q1A7 Undergraduate Linguistics with Chinese (with Intercalated Year)
  • Year 2 of UETA-Q1R1 Undergraduate Linguistics with French
  • Year 2 of UETA-Q1A2 Undergraduate Linguistics with German (with Intercalated Year)
  • Year 2 of UETA-Q1A6 Undergraduate Linguistics with Russian (with Intercalated Year)
  • Year 2 of UETA-Q310 in English Language and Linguistics
  • Year 2 of UETA-Q311 in English Language and Linguistics (with Intercalated year)

This module is Core option list C for:

  • Year 2 of ULNA-R3Q3 Undergraduate Italian and Linguistics

This module is Core option list D for:

  • Year 2 of ULNA-R1Q3 Undergraduate French and Linguistics

This module is Core option list F for:

  • Year 2 of ULNA-R2Q3 Undergraduate German and Linguistics
  • Year 2 of ULNA-R4Q1 Undergraduate Hispanic Studies and Linguistics
  • Year 2 of ULNA-R9Q1 Undergraduate Modern Languages and Linguistics