Identity Construction in Intercultural Workplace Settings: Chinese-Spanish Interactions in a Hong Kong Educational Institute

By Sui Sum Bosco Li.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Organizational Studies

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

The present study examines interaction between Hong Kong Chinese and Spanish in meetings in a specific intercultural workplace setting with reference to the concepts of face needs, sociality rights and obligations, domains, and other related concepts under the expanded framework of rapport management (Spencer-Oatey, 2000, 2002, 2005, 2008). Analysis in the paper, focusing on the aspect of meeting management, is based on authentic linguistic data collected in a multi-cultural educational organization in Hong Kong. The study examines inter-relationships between rapport management, cultural differences, and specific negotiated norms among members of Communities of Practice (CofPs). The paper suggests that 1) cultural differences may not always be revealed in instances of rapport management, 2) such differences may contribute to specific norms negotiated among members from a CofP, and 3) particular instances of rapport management may contribute to norm negotiating processes in a CofP. The study, instead of taking interlocutors’ cultural background as a preexisting source influencing participants’ practices, argues for the dynamic nature of interlocutors’ identities. The present study, adopting the emergence approach, justifies the dynamic nature of identity by examining how identity is constructed through linguistic practices in a specific workplace setting.

Keywords: Intercultural Workplace Setting, Chinese-Spanish Communication, Identity Construction, Rapport Management

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Organizational Studies, Volume 12, Issue 1, March 2017, pp.13-23. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 739.831KB).

Sui Sum Bosco Li

Lecturer, Department of English, Chu Hai College of Higher Education, Hong Kong, China