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30th October, 2015

UWL Psychology graduate presents dissertation work to British Psychological Society conference

Friday, September 25, 2015

Hannah Curtis, who recently graduated with a first class honours degree in psychology from the University of West London, presented her dissertation work at this year’s British Psychological Society Social and Developmental Conference. Before Hannah came to UWL, she was interested in business psychology as well as culture, so she decided to look at the effects of culture on communication within a global business.

Hannah’s experience of living abroad for three years made her very aware of different communication styles in various parts of the world, and she knew that miscommunication can be a frequent occurrence. She said, ‘The increasingly competitive nature of business means organisations must expand globally. I decided to concentrate my studies on the keys to successful communication in an international business.’

The qualitative research, carried out with Hannah’s supervisor Dr Moira Cachia, involved interviewing members of the senior management team of an international company about how they communicated cross-culturally, and what elements of communication were most important. The results highlighted the importance of non-verbal as well as verbal communication. Participants also suggested that one of the keys to their success was having a basic understanding of the culture of those they were doing business with.

Hannah found differences in the understanding of time in different cultures, as well as varied approaches to what to wear to a business meeting. While some cultures get straight to the point and say what they want, this could be considered rude and even detrimental to the outcome of negotiations elsewhere in the world, where building up a successful personal relationship, and meeting for courtesy, could be the key to success in making a deal.

The impact of good or bad cross-cultural communications on an organisation can be enormous, affecting business profits and operations. The more international businesses are able to support their employees through constant and consistent communication, the more likely employees will continue to work hard for them.

Find out more about the School of Psychology, Social Work and Human Sciences, and follow them on Twitter @UWLPsych

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