Relational work in intercultural project communication: A multimodal conversation analysis of an Austrian-Russian Joint Venture

Interpersonal relationships are crucial for business partnerships. Yet, building an interpersonal relationship in a business context is far from easy, especially between business partners with different language repertoires and cultural backgrounds. In order to investigate these complex relations, the present study aims to examine interpreter-mediated communication between business partners from Austria and Russian-speaking countries by focusing on how their relationships are built through communication.

What challenges do the business partners who seek to found a joint venture in renewable energy face when it comes to their communication? What linguistic means do the interactants use to overcome these challenges, to establish rapport, and to shape their interpersonal relationship? In order to answer these questions, a multimodal interaction analysis of video-recorded interactions between business partners is carried out. To this moment, 7,5 hours of video-recordings of interactions between the business partners who have been working together on a wind park for 5 months are collected, which allows to identify recurring patterns of interaction and to observe the process of building rapport over time.

The present study aims to contribute to the body of research on cross-cultural business communication and to fill an important research gap by providing an analysis based on authentic video-recorded interaction data. This, in turn, will help to develop recommendations which could be used in cultural awareness trainings. These trainings are meant to prepare Austrian companies for establishing business contacts and conducting successful interactions with enterprises from Russian-speaking countries.

Dissertation Anna Golovko