Intercultural conflicts between New Zealanders and Japanese under business conditions : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Japanese at Massey University
Cultural diversity includes many different values and behaviours. This frequently causes intercultural conflicts and communication break-downs. If people do not know these differences, they cannot know the reasons for these communication failures. People who communicate with others from different cultural groups, therefore, have to be aware of the different cultural values and communication rules these target cultural groups have. When New Zealanders work with the Japanese people, what are the factors to prevent communication? This dissertation aims to answer this question. An interview survey was held in order to analyse successful cases and unsuccessful cases of intercultural communication between New Zealanders and Japanese under work conditions. The Japanese managers and employees were interviewed to investigate what intercultural aspects these New Zealanders have to be aware of. The research results show that; (1) different styles of work, (2) senses of responsibility - individual responsibility / group responsibility -, and (3) different ways of apologising frequently cause problems. All of these three aspects are related to the individualism-collectivism dimension of culture. These results indicate that this conceptual difference, individualism-collectivism, is the biggest cultural dimension which causes intercultural conflicts as a number of researchers argue This aspect, therefore, has to be taught in Japanese language courses or job training courses to avoid these frequent conflicts and failures of intercultural communication between New Zealanders and Japanese.