Finnish-Chinese intercultural negotiation : power positioning and search for common ground
Published inJyväskylä studies in humanities
‘Rising China’ is a term that has come to refer to China’s march to being number one, the speed of its economic growth, and its investment around the world during last two decades. In Finland, government agencies have been established to promote investment, trade, and co-operation with China, while regional and local governments are also actively involved. Meanwhile, much of the world is now competing for the attention of China, so the power dynamic is tending to shift in favour of the Chinese. This developing context has been examined in previous studies primarily from the perspectives of politics, economics, and management studies. The overarching aim of this study is to investigate emerging power relations between Finns as sellers of investment opportunities and products and Chinese as investors, buyers, and partners. The study predominantly builds on Positioning Theory (Harré, 1991). It uses methodological tools of ethnographically framed in terviewing and observation. The study comprises five articles - empirical research reports exploring the major themes in data collected – adjustment of Finns to the Chinese, search of common ground with Chinese representatives, guest-host positioning during delegation visits, humor in negotiations, and the language aspect in co-operation. Five styles of positioning regarding power and common ground were found – adjustment, use of existing common ground, autonomy, ‘soft’ power, and pressure / hedging; the character this typology was found to correspond to phases of the five Chinese elements (Wu Xing). While the data suggest that both Finnish and Chinese representatives use all of these strategies, Finnish representatives tended to rely on active responses such as adjustment and pressure/hedging, while Chinese representatives more often resorted to a stance of autonomy. The dynamic among these phases is illustrated using the model of a rope, which suggests the integral nature of change from one style into another, as well as the ways power, common ground, and culture are all intertwined. A variety of external and internal factors that influence the positioning of Finnish and Chinese representatives could also be traced from the articles, such as organizational roles, meeting places, discourses about national characteristics, and considerations of ‘face’. This further reveals the complexity of positioning regarding power and common ground. ...
PublisherUniversity of Jyväskylä
- Artikkeli I: Stopniece, Santa. (2017b). “The Chinese will not change; we have to change:” adjustment of the Finns to the Chinese in a Chinese invest- ment facilitation context. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 44 (July). https://www.immi.se/intercultural/nr44/stopniece.html.
- Artikkeli II: Stopniece, S. (2015). China-Finland co-operation, trade, and invest- ment: in search of common ground. Journal of China and International Relations, 3(1), 130-150. https://journals.aau.dk/index.php/jcir/article/view/1149/970.
- Artikkeli III: Stopniece, Santa. (2017a). Chinese “enormous hospitality” vs. Finnish “meeting among friends”: guest-host positioning in China Finland delegation visits. In F. Dervin & R. Machart (Eds.), Intercultural com- munication with China, 145-163. Singapore: Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-981-10-4014-6_9.
- Artikkeli IV: Stopniece, S. (2016a). The simple and the complex nature of humor and laughter in Chinese-Finnish negotiations. A Nordic Journal on Asia by early career researchers “Asia in Focus,” 3, 26-36. http://www.e-pages.dk/ku/1237/html5/.
- Artikkeli V: Stopniece, Santa. (2016b). Language as a site of search for common ground and power positioning in Chinese-Finnish investment facili- tation. Paper presented at the 10th China Goes Global conference, 26- 28 July, Macerata, Italy.
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