Questioning behaviour in monocultural and intercultural technical business negotiations: the Dutch–Spanish connection

Questioning behaviour in monocultural and intercultural technical business negotiations: the Dutch–Spanish connection

ABSTRACT This article addresses the issue of asking questions as an
important element of international business negotiation where there
are differences in cultural background. A Dutch–Spanish difference
in questioning was related to differences between the two parties in
uncertainty reduction and negotiation goals. All 480 questions in 8
simulated Kelley game negotiations were reviewed: both
monocultural (3 Dutch–Dutch in Dutch and 2 Spanish–Spanish in
Spanish) and intercultural (3 Spanish–Dutch in English), i.e. 2
cultures and 3 languages (average duration of 30 min of recording
per negotiation). This analysis may also allow an illustration of the
Sapir–Whorf Hypothesis (Sapir, 1949 and Whorf, 1956) which
holds, at least in its weak version, that culture frames language and
language frames culture. It may also be possible to determine the
extent to which intercultural differences between Dutch and Spanish
questioning behaviours – assuming they can be ascertained in
comparison with monocultural Dutch and Spanish behaviour – are
language bound. In other words, do negotiators use a different
typology of questions in their native language (L1: Dutch or Spanish)
than in a neutral language (L2)? A comparison of the monocultural
and intercultural data makes it possible to illustrate the above
hypothesis, and to establish how far the L1-culture connection differs
from that of the L2-culture. For another similar test on
culture–language relations in South African mathematics texts and
their readers, see Prins and Ulijn (1998).

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Questioning behaviour in monocultural and intercultural technical business negotiations: the Dutch–Spanish connection

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