University of Twente Student Theses


Intercultural collaboration in European business : cultural differences between the Dutch and the Spanish on the work floor

Kip, C.H. (2022) Intercultural collaboration in European business : cultural differences between the Dutch and the Spanish on the work floor.

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Abstract:Working with different nationalities and cultures is something that we have been dealing with more frequently and will probably continue to increase due to ongoing globalization. In these cross-cultural interactions and collaborations, cultural differences can lead to misconceptions in communication and issues could quickly arise. For this reason, doing business and working with different cultures can be quite challenging which makes research on cultural differences within Europe extremely valuable. Therefore, focusing specifically on the Spanish culture, this master thesis aims to identify typical Spanish behaviour, known as cultural standards, as seen from a Dutch perspective. This research provides a thorough analysis of the cross-cultural interaction between the Dutch and the Spanish in the working environment. The research question that is formulated is the following: “What cultural differences in the working environment are perceived by the Dutch working and living in Spain?” To answer this question, qualitative research was carried out by the means of interviewing 13 Dutch individuals who have been living and working in Spain for at least 6 months. During the interviews, participants were asked about situations where the Dutch and Spanish cultures clashed in order to collect critical incidents. The results were analysed using the Thematic Analysis and structured by using the Gioia method. The information retrieved from the interviews was examined and 17 cultural standards were discovered. These cultural standards were explored in more depth, and four Spanish underlying values (from a Dutch perspective) were brought to surface, namely: Honor, Autoridad, Seguridad and Relaciones interpersonales. These underlying values are supported by Spanish literature including sayings and proverbs which together provide a thick description of Spanish cultural standards from Dutch perspective. The results of this research can be used to prepare better Dutch people who are going to work and live in Spain and this knowledge will prevent people from making cultural misconceptions Keywords: Critical Incidents, Cultural standards, Dutch cultural standards, Dutch culture, Spanish cultural standards, Spanish culture, Underlying values
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
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