Coordination and conflict in a multicultural organization: A case study of communication among Koreans, Americans and Korean-Americans

1997 1997

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Abstract (summary)

This dissertation presents a rich, detailed account of lived experiences of Koreans, Americans, and Korean-Americans in a multicultural Korean business organization.

Guided by the coordinated management of meaning theory as the theoretical and methodological framework, this study looks at the organization as a co-created, co-evolving interactive system. Thus, it closely examines communication among the participants as everyday practices in which to explore "goings-on" in the organization.

The main focus of this study is on the extent to which cultural differences afford or constrain coordination among people, and create problems such as tensions and conflict in the organization. Six episodes were reconstructed based on various stories "told" and "lived" by the participants, and presented as major "goings-on" in the organization.

The main findings centered around the issues of cultural adaptation, differentiation/division/discrimination, harmony, biculturalism, and language. These issues were manifested in various instances of situated interaction. They constrained coordination and coherence, and thus contributed to the creation, sustenance and transformation of tensions and conflict within the organization. The comparative analysis of different episodes, especially revealed the intricate ways in which various patterns of interactive relationships not only emerge and sustain, but also transform over time.

The dissertation has two major theoretical implications for intercultural studies. First, it supports and extends literature on general cultural patterns by illustrating detailed ways in which this general knowledge is manifested in situated moments of intercultural interaction. It shows us, in detail, the process in which a particular intercultural situation is constructed in a unique and complex way. The second implication is that this study is capable of accounting for the process of transformation. In other words, this study provides the elaborate ways in which cultural patterns not only emerge and sustain but also transform in practice. This ever changing, rather than fixed, role of cultural differences is unconvered by the comparative analysis of different episodes that occured in different time. The study also introduces the problems of bi-cultural persons in multicultural organizations.

Indexing (details)

Bilingual education;
Multicultural education;
0459: Communication
0282: Bilingual education
0282: Multicultural education
0454: Management
Identifier / keyword
Communication and the arts; Social sciences; Education
Coordination and conflict in a multicultural organization: A case study of communication among Koreans, Americans and Korean-Americans
Chong, Hyonsook
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 58/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
0591475189, 9780591475180
Cronen, Vernon E.
University of Massachusetts Amherst
University location
United States -- Massachusetts
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
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