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Mahadevan, Jasmin (2007): Kategorisierungen des kulturell Fremden in einer High-Tech-Firma: oder: Von der Schwierigkeit, eine Kartoffel in Deutschland heiß zu servieren, wenn der Herd in Indien steht. Dissertation, LMU München: Faculty of Cultural Studies
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Abstract

The theory and practice of Intercultural Communication focuses on the “between cultures”. It is the fundamental assumption of that discipline that the cultural boundary – the difference between “We” and “the Other” – can be located and that the Interculturalist possesses the capability of doing so. But what is really happening in the so called "Intercultural Fields"? In my dissertation that is based on two years of ethnographic research, I present the case of a German High-Tech-Company where the boundary between “We” and “the Other” cannot be defined precisely anymore. Instead of simple distinctions between national cultures the actors in the field – highly-qualified engineers who are working together at a German and an Indian company site – construct collective identity according to context and very often in contrast to the external discourse of national cultural differences. The actors’ perception of cultural difference is multiple, heterogenous, sometimes ambiguous and context-specific. According to context, they possess the agency to use many discourses of "We" and "the Other" if it serves their needs. Thus, also the difficulties the actors in the field experience in cross-site work do not match management assumptions and depend on the respective actor's interpretation of their own boundary conditions like re-organisation from above, the discourse of globalisation and the conflicting topic of technical ownership. As this interpretative approach to global interaction in multinational companies shows, cross-site work is often "beyond national culture".