Browsing by Author "Pacek, Katri"

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  • Pacek, Katri (Helsingfors universitet, 2006)
    The thesis deals with cultural differences and language barrier in a Finnish-Polish working environment. The object is to find out what kind of language and cultural practices prevail and what are their consequences. This qualitative research focuses on problem solving strategies used to manage language barrier and cultural differences and their effect on power relations within the working environment and in relation to e.g. parent company, business partners or customers. The research data was collected by half-structured individual interviews of 24 Finns and Poles in seven companies in Poland. The research indicates that language practices as well as Polish employees' language skills significantly affect information flows: those Poles, who have good language skills, are less dependent on their Finnish superior and thanks to their contacts with Finnish parent company they gain adequate information. Different time perceptions next to the perceived slowness of Finns are one of the most important factors causing cultural conflicts in the researched working environments. Most often mentioned by Finns were issues of trust. However, the problematic issues brought up most were often things that the respondents could not influence since they did not concern the closest working environment but others. It seems that the contrast that used to be strong between superiors and subordinates in Poland has - partly due to the Finns' informal management style - in these mixed working environments transformed into a contrast between own working environment and the outsiders.