University of Twente Student Theses


Cultural differences experienced by Dutch employees working in Belgium

Acar, Gabriël (2022) Cultural differences experienced by Dutch employees working in Belgium.

[img] PDF
Abstract:In a world that becomes smaller day by day, due to the internet, social media, and dozens of chat and video applications, encountering people from different cultures has become more of a standard than an exception. Since the Schengen treaty was signed, European cross-cultural collaborations have become more present than ever. However, these cross-cultural interactions could lead to behaviour that is misunderstood, or to problems and misinterpretations in communication. Therefore, this research zooms in on Belgian culture, identifying so-called cultural standards, or typical Belgian behaviour, seen from the perspective of the Dutch. This research provides the reader with a thick description of the cross-cultural incidents between the Dutch and the Belgians, predominantly on the work floor, and a thick description of why Belgians behave in a certain way. The following research question has been developed: In what situations do the Dutch and the Belgians experience problems/frictions in communication and collaboration on the work floor? This study made use of an inductive qualitative research method, based on conducting sixteen semi-structured interviews, with Dutch participants who had at least six months of work experience in Belgium. Participants were questioned about cultural clashes they had experienced between the Dutch and the Belgians. These cultural clashes are also known as critical incidents, and they have been collected, coded, and the results have been analysed using the Thematic Analysis Method. To conclude, twelve cultural standards have been identified and by conducting a thorough analysis of these cultural standards, three underlying values have been found. The underlying values are: Authority, Friends & Family, and Cunning. These underlying values explain why Belgians behave in a certain way. Each underlying value is supported by typical Belgian terms or sayings, extracted from the literature regarding Belgian culture. The findings in this research could help to get a greater understanding of Dutch-Belgian cultural differences. This study could also help (future) Dutch ex-pats or Dutch people who do business with Belgians, to recognize cultural differences and to understand why Belgians behave in a certain way, thus decreasing the risk of cultural misunderstandings, and decreasing the risk of cultural friction.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
Link to this item:
Export this item as:BibTeX
HTML Citation
Reference Manager


Repository Staff Only: item control page