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Conceptualizations of respect in business negotiations

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Abstract

International business negotiations are prone to several difficulties, one of the most fundamental of which being differences in cultural conceptualizations (Sharifian 2011). In order to explore how Brazilians and Germans conceptualize respect in business negotiations, interviews in English with business negotiators were conducted and cultural conceptualizations analyzed. Following an ‘organic’ (Quinn 2005) and (mainly) qualitative approach to data, this paper presents: (a) the main conceptualizations found for both groups; (b) a cognitive-linguistic analysis of collocations of ‘respect’ found in the interviews; and (c) a preliminary sketch of group-level conceptualizations of respect in business negotiations for both groups. For Brazilians, the source domains location and vertical splitting were salient, which points to the relevance of hierarchy. For Germans, the source domain horizontal splitting and the sphere separation cultural schema were recurrent, which signals appreciation for the public-private sphere separation. These conceptual differences might have practical consequences in international negotiation scenarios.
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Keywords: Cultural Linguistics; English as lingua franca; World Englishes; cultural conceptualizations; intercultural business communication; respect

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 14, 2017

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