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Durham University

School of Education

Research Projects

Publication details

Zaidman, N. & Holmes, P. (2009). Business communication as cultural text: Exchange and feedback of promotional video clips. International Journal of Intercultural Relations 33(6): 535-549.

Author(s) from Durham


Our research is a response to the need to improve the understanding of the complexity of global professional communication. To investigate the complex cultural interpretations that producers and audiences apply to professional texts, we developed a two-year interactive project. Business students in New Zealand and Israel produced promotional “texts” – video clips to promote a university program – which they exchanged with their counterparts overseas to receive feedback. We adapted models of home-made visual communication and advertising which used the categories of participants, settings, topics, and style, to analyze the eight clips. Emergent findings suggested two more categories – information and language – as important analytical tools. Variables of age, gender, intra- and intercultural differences, and (cultural) context also resulted in student audiences’ multiple interpretations of the texts. The outcomes indicate the need to extend the culture-in-context approach for a “situation focused communication approach,” where the primary focus is a group of producers and their audience as they produce and interpret a professional text. This approach also foregrounds contextual variables and a plural understanding of culture to accommodate the potential for miscommunication of business and professional texts in pluricultural contexts.

School of Education