This chapter began by introducing common non-linguistic approaches to intercultural (business) communication: Hofstede, Trompenaars, the GLOBE study and Thomas. They are distinguished by their focus on behavioural characteristics typical of specific nations. However, they only consider verbal behaviour marginally and accord great importance to the individual’s national affiliation, a questionable assumption, particularly given globalisation and the mobility of business people which comes along with it. Such approaches focus on problems and misunderstandings caused by interculturality, and on the differences between persons of individual nationalities. The key characteristics of individual cultures are predominantly determined by surveys.
By contrast, linguistic approaches focus on commonalities and sensitisation rather than individual cases. They seek to develop intercultural awareness through conscious consideration of the connection between language and culture, and to shift the focus away from misunderstandings in the globalised world towards the use of conscious communicative behaviour. Linguistic research is primarily based on authentic data, participant observation and field studies. Critical approaches show that intercultural interactions are not only shaped by cultural difference but also by more or less invisible power imbalances relating to race, nationality and language (Kubota 2012: 98).
According to Piller (2009: 324-326), potential lines of further research are dynamic perspectives on national culture, multicultural perspectives on companies, industry- specific perspectives on language work, as well as sociolinguistic, critical and training perspectives on intercultural communication. Bargiela-Chiappini, Nickerson, and Planken (2013: 45-88) foresee the following avenues for future of business-discourse research: the future of intercultural business communication research with particular reference to rapport management, a discussion of multimediality and how business discourse might be changed in the future, and multimethod, multidisciplinary research. They also call for research-based business-discourse teaching (Bargiela- Chiappini, Nickerson, and Planken 2013: 91-126). Analogous demands can also be made for intercultural business communication, which, instead of prescriptively giving culture-specific concrete guidance, can communicate findings based on the analysis of authentic texts in intercultural business communication and can create the corresponding awareness. The great benefit of these approaches is the transferability of the findings and skills to various cultures.