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Durham University

School of Education

Research Projects

Publication details

Holmes, P. (2015). ‘The cultural stuff around how to talk to people’ immigrants' intercultural communication during a pre-employment work-placement. Language and Intercultural Communication 15(1): 109-124.

Author(s) from Durham


This paper reports on a small in-depth study of 16 immigrants' intercultural communication experiences as they enter the workforce in New Zealand through a volunteer work-placement scheme. The key research questions are: What intercultural communication challenges do immigrants face during work-placement with (1) co-workers and (2) employer(s)? How is intercultural communication facilitated/constrained in intercultural encounters in the workplace? The findings highlight how cultural, social, economic, political and contextual factors support immigrants' intercultural communication and work experience in their respective organisation. The outcomes provide important feedback to employers, immigrant communities, funders and other voluntary organisations, community workers, and politicians on the value of work-placement programmes and the intercultural communication challenges immigrants face when entering the workplace.


Special Issue: Language and intercultural communication in the workplace: critical approaches to theory and practice

School of Education