Strategies employed for information transfer and relation building in intercultural communication – A cross-cultural study


  • Grażyna Kiliańska-Przybyło University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland



intercultural communication, information transfer, seeking clarification, strategies in intercultural encounters


The aim of the study is to examine strategies used in intercultural encounters by Polish and Turkish students of Foreign Languages (n1=50, n2=50, respectively) who have experienced intercultural communication. Intercultural encounters are viewed as ‘language-in-action’ situations because they provide a rich source of information about linguistic devices used during intercultural exchanges, sources of misunderstanding and miscommunication, and strategies implemented to transfer information or maintain conversational involvement of the interlocutors. This study offers some insights into the frequency and variety of the strategies used in intercultural encounters. It was conducted as a small-scale project, with the Critical Incident Technique and questionnaires administered to collect data. The research participants (C1/C2 levels of proficiency) were supposed to produce written narratives describing the most memorable intercultural encounters and report on intercultural communication strategies. Their narratives were later analysed to identify strategies applied to manage intercultural communication and achieve communicative goals (e.g. maintaining contact and/or conveying necessary information). Research findings show that Proactively seeking clarification and Building intercultural connection or relationship were the most frequent strategies used by these two groups. However, research results also suggest that the choice of strategies depends on such factors as the participants’ level of language proficiency, their cultural background or the quality and quantity of intercultural contacts. Cross-cultural analysis indicates that Turkish students are more socially- and culturally oriented, whereas Polish students display a tendency to focus more on cognitive and linguistic aspects of intercultural encounters. Findings from the study can be of help for educators and trainers involved in researching intercultural communication, strategic involvement and training.

Author: Grażyna Kiliańska-Przybyło,  

orcid32.png  0000-0002-0185-5911 mail_image2.png


Download data is not yet available.


Arthur, N. (2001). Using critical incidents to investigate cross-cultural transitions. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 25(1), 41-53.

Berardo, K. (2008). The intercultural profession in 2007: Profile, practice, challenges. figures

Byram, M. (1997). Teaching and assessing intercultural communicative competence. Multilingual Matters.

Christiansen, L.B., Gala, L.P., & Hvenegaard-Lassen, K. (2017). Organised Cultural Encounters: Interculturality and Transformative Practices, Journal of Intercultural Studies, 38(6), 599-605.

Croucher, S.M., Sommier, M., & Rahmani, D. (2015). Intercultural communication: Where we’ve been, where we’re going, issues we face. Communication Research and Practice, 1(1), 71-87.

Drake, L.E. (1995). Negotiation styles in intercultural communication. International Journal of Conflict Management, 6(1), 72-90.

Duronto, P.M, Nishida, T., & Nakayama, S. (2005). Uncertainty, anxiety, and avoidance in communication with strangers. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 29, 549-560.

Fantini, A.E. (2014). Multiple strategies for assessing intercultural communicative competence. In J. Jackson (Ed), The Routledge Handbook of Language and Intercultural Communication. (pp. 390-405). Routledge.

Fujio, M. (2004). Silence during intercultural communication: a case study. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 9 (4), 331- 339.

Gudykunst, W.B. (1998). Applying anxietyuncertainty management (AUM) Theory to intercultural adjustment training. International Journal of Intercultural Relations 22, 227-250.

Gudykunst W.B. & Nishida, T. (2001). Anxiety, uncertainty, and perceived effectiveness of communication across relationships and cultures. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 25(1), 55–71.

Guilherme, M. (2000). Intercultural competence. In M. S. Byram (Ed.), Routledge Encyclopedia of Language Teaching and Learning. (pp. 298-300). Routledge Taylor and Francis Group.

Guilherme, M. (2014). Critical language and intercultural communication pedagogy. In J. Jackson (Ed), The Routledge Handbook of Language and Intercultural Communication (pp. 357-371). Routledge.

Hammer, M. R., Wiseman, R. L., Rasmussen, J. L., & Bruschke, J. C. (2018). A test of anxiety/ uncertainty management theory: The intercultural adaptation context. Communication Quarterly, 46, 309-326.

Henderson, S., Barker, M., & Mak, A. (2016). Strategies used by nurses, academics and students to overcome intercultural communication challenges. Nurse Education in Practice, 16, 71-78.

Hooi, C.M., & Yong, M.F. (2015). Intercultural strategies used by frontline administrative staff when interacting with foreign students. Journal of Language and Communication, 2(2), 195-206.

Huang, Y. (2011). Chinese tour guides’ strategies in intercultural communication—implications for language teaching and tourism education. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 2, 2011, 146-150.

Jackson, J. (ed). (2014). The Routledge Handbook of Language and Intercultural Communication. Routledge.

Jain, P. & Krieger, J.L. (2010). Moving beyond the language barrier: The communication strategies used by international medical graduates in intercultural medical encounters. Patient Education and Counseling, 84, 98-104.

Jhaiyanuntana, A. & Nomnian, S. (2020). Intercultural communication challenges and strategies for the Thai undergraduate hotel interns. PASAA: Journal of Language Teaching and Learning in Thailand, 59, 204-235.

Kenesei, Z., & Stier, Z. (2017). Managing communication and cultural barriers in intercultural service encounters: Strategies from both sides of the counter. Journal of Vacation Marketing, 23(4), 277-294.

Kiliańska-Przybyło, G. (2017). The anatomy of intercultural encounters: A sociolinguistic cross-cultural study. Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego.

Kramsch, C., & Uryu, M. (2014). Intercultural contact, hybridity, and third space. In J. Jackson (Ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Language and Intercultural Communication. (pp. 211-225). Routledge.

Matsumoto, Y. (1988). Reexamination of the universality of face: politeness phenomena in Japanese. Journal of Pragmatics, 12(4), 403-426.

Méndez Garcia, M. C. (2017). Intercultural reflection through the Autobiography of Intercultural Encounters: students’ accounts of their images of alterity. Language and Intercultural Communication, 17(2), 90-117.

McAllister, L., Whiteford, G., Hill, B., Thomas, N., & Fitzgerald, M. (2006). Reflection in intercultural learning: examining the international experience through a critical incident approach, Reflective Practice,7(3), 367-381.

Pedersen. P. (1995). The five stages of culture shock: Critical incidents around the world. Greenwood Press.

Philip, S., Manias, E., & Woodward-Kron, R. (2015). Nursing educator perspectives of overseas qualified nurses’ intercultural clinical communication: barriers, enablers and engagement strategies. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 24, 2628-2637.

Presbitero, A., & Attar, H. (2018). Intercultural communication effectiveness, cultural intelligence and knowledge sharing: Extending anxiety-uncertainty management theory. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 67, 35-43.

Savignon, S.J., & Sysoev, P. V. (2002). Sociocultural Strategies for a Dialogue of Cultures. Modern Language Journal, 86(4), 508-524.

Schmidt, W.V., Conaway, R. N., Easton, S. S., & Wardrope, W. J. (2007). Communicating globally: Intercultural communication and international business. Sage Publications.

Seelye, N. (1994). Teaching culture. Strategies for intercultural communication. National Textbook Company.

Spitzberg, B.H., & Changnon, G. (2009) Conceptualizing intercultural competence. In D. Deardorff (Ed.), The SAGE Handbook of Intercultural Competence. (pp. 2-52). Sage.

Thiel, T. (1999). Reflections on critical incidents. Prospect, 14(1), 44-52.

Toomey, A., Dorjee, T., & Ting-Toomey, S. (2013). Bicultural identity negotiation, conflicts, and intergroup communication strategies. Journal of Intercultural Communication Research, 42(2), 112-134.

Wilkinson, J. (2014). The intercultural speaker and the aquisition of intercultural/global comptence. In J. Jackson (Ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Language and Intercultural Communication (pp. 296-309). Routledge.

Wilkinson, J. (2014). Introducing language and intercultural communication. Routledge.

Wilson, H.F. (2017). On geography and encounter: Bodies, borders, and difference. Progress in Human Geography, 41(4), 451-471.






Vol. 10 No. 1 (2023)

How to Cite

Kiliańska-Przybyło, G. (2023). Strategies employed for information transfer and relation building in intercultural communication – A cross-cultural study. East European Journal of Psycholinguistics , 10(1), 81-95.