Date of Conferral

2016

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Management

Advisor

Pascale Hardy

Abstract

In 2016's global business landscape, the increase in workers moving across borders to find employment accentuates the language and cultural challenges for both employees and organizations. Employees working in a multinational environment need to have an understanding of language and culture to handle the complex nature of professional work in a multinational corporation (MNC). The purpose of this study was to explore what communication competencies employees in a small MNC needed to communicate across multicultural environments in the workplace. A dialectic approach of intercultural communication was used to explore these needs in one small MNC located in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia using English as the corporate language. Data were collected from 9 employees of one data security firm using semistructured interviewing, the data was then coded into NVivo. Using interpretative phenomenology analysis, the themes of understanding, cultural sensitivity, pace, and fitting in emerged. Results of the study indicated a disconnect in the cultural mentality of Americanness versus Arabness in the business environment where societal factors and national identity reflected in how the employees think and act in the workplace. Lack of cultural knowledge in an MNC can impact the financial health of an organization in lost opportunities, reduced productivity, and long-term relationship damage with clients and partners. The results of this study could contribute to positive social change by providing small MNCs with the insight to enhance intercultural communication and intercultural awareness among employees in building a global workforce.