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Chapter 6 Research Design and Methodology in:

Fungai B. Chigwendere

Towards Intercultural Communication Congruence in Sino-African Organisational Contexts, page 111 - 138

1. Edition 2018, ISBN print: 978-3-8288-4234-2, ISBN online: 978-3-8288-7121-2, https://doi.org/10.5771/9783828871212-111

Tectum, Baden-Baden
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111 Chapter 6 Research Design and Methodology Introduction This chapter describes the research design and methodology of this study. Owing to limited research on IC in the Sino-African organisational context, a design is adopted that is tight in formulation and flexible in execution, allowing for objectivity, creativity and innovativeness (Brinkmann, 2014, p. 724). Specifically the research strategy as described in this chapter is divided into two main components: a study of theory and an empirical qualitative study consisting of interviews with African and Chinese experts. This dual approach is premised on the view that multiple approaches to IC result in comparatively more complete results that can be corroborated and/or validated (see Chen and Starosta, 1997; Hu and Fan, 2011; Korzenny and Korzenny, 1984). First discussed in this chapter is the philosophy of research and the interpretive pragmatism paradigm adopted in the study followed by an explanation of the qualitative research design. The methodological processes followed in the study of theory as defined in the context of the present study (Chapter 1, section 1.7) and the empirical qualitative study are discussed in separate sections A and B respectively. In section A, the literature search, selection and synthesis procedures as well as quality considerations that were followed in the study of theory (A) presented in Chapters 2, 3, 4 and 5 are discussed. In section B, the qualitative data collection and analysis procedures using content analysis are discussed then a summary of the discussions of the chapter is given. 6 .1 The Philosophy of Research Research philosophy is an overarching term relating to the nature and development of knowledge (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2009). It relates to assumptions about how individuals view society, themselves and their beliefs on what constitutes truth and knowledge encapsulated in what social scientists term a paradigm (Schwandt, 2001). Thus, in approaching a research inquiry, every researcher holds fundamental beliefs regarding what constitutes knowledge. These beliefs in turn influence the way they conduct research and 112 Chigwendere: interCultural CommuniCation CongruenCe in Sino-afriCan organiSational ContextS their choice of particular research methodologies (Hussey and Hussey, 1997; Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2009, p. 14; Watt, 2007, p. 82; Wahyuni, 2012). In the next section, the research paradigm of this study is discussed. 6 .1 .1 Research paradigm A paradigm is a worldview or set of assumptions and framework of beliefs, values and methods within which research takes place (Ponterotto, 2005). It is “a way of examining social phenomena from which particular understandings of these phenomena can be gained and explanations attempted” (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2009). While there exist many paradigms and sub-paradigms of research differentiated by the ontological, epistemological, axiological, and methodological assumptions that underpin them (Hussey and Hussey, 1997, p. 49; Wahyuni, 2012, p. 69), of relevance to this study are interpretivism and pragmatism which have been creatively crafted into an interpretive pragmatism paradigm. Ontology is a theory of existence concerned with the nature of reality and that of human beings; epistemology is concerned with the way of understanding and explaining how human beings may acquire knowledge about their reality (Lee, 2012, p. 5; Guba and Lincoln, 1994; Narh, 2013). Axiology and methodology, on the other hand, influence the manner in which reality is investigated. Specifically, axiology is concerned with the role of values and ethics of the researcher in the research process (Ponterotto, 2005, p. 131) while methodology refers to a model for undertaking a research process in the context of a particular paradigm (Wahyuni, 2012, p. 70). Methodology is therefore concerned with why, what, from where, when and how data is collected and analysed (Scotland, 2012, p. 10). Regarding the ontological and epistemological questions, the current study assumes the existence of multiple subjective realities constructed through the eyes of the participants. The multiple realities extend to those of the researcher, research participants as well as those reading the qualitative report (Creswell, 2007, pp. 16–18). The researcher adopts an interpretive stance when interacting with literature in the study of theory, and when interviewing African and Chinese experts in the empirical qualitative study. Indigenous views from the literature synthesis and those of the interviewed experts are incorporated in the hybrid IC congruence (HICC) framework. This is because truth can be found in human experiences that are culture- and context-bound (Guest, Bunce and Johnson, 2006), implying that what may be true of IC congruence in Western organisational contexts may differ from what is true in African or Chinese contexts, with deviations also likely in terms of organisational typologies and ethnicities. However, differences across organisational typologies and ethnicities are not the focus of the present study. While the novelty of the Sino-African organisational context demands the adoption of an interpretive approach for greater understanding, there is also need for approaches that help in the creation of solutions to IC congruence challenges at hand. Singh (2015, p. 132) de- 113 ChapTer 6: researCh desIgn and meThodology termines that there is a need to develop more suitable approaches for creating action-orientated knowledge given the growing complexity and change experienced in organisations. It is therefore plausible for research which has begun using what may be referred to as conventional approaches based on popular methodological prescription, to evolve and result in the creation of unique methodologies better suited to solving the challenges at hand. For example, in a study of his own (Singh, 2015) reports the evolution from an initial conventional research approach to a synthesised approach following interaction with data, self and extant theory. Such developments are an example of pragmatism in action – adopting the best course of action to meet the demands of the inquiry. Singh’s views echo those of Eisenhardt (1989, p. 547) who finds that, at times when little is known about a phenomenon and current perspectives seem inadequate owing to the scarcity of empirical investigations or findings, there is a need for new perspectives. Considering the novelty of the Sino-African context, limitations of contemporary approaches, dearth of research as well as the need for outcomes with value for those engaged in the IC encounter, innovative approaches are demanded by management practitioners and the academic community alike. In the current study, true to the recursive nature of research, the researcher has regularly revisited ideas and sought new information, when necessary, reconsidering and refining the approach (University of Louisville, 2016). In the end, despite the appropriateness of interpretive approaches for investigating the complexity and uniqueness of business and management contexts (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2009, p. 9), a level of pragmatism was required to ensure solution outcomes to the demands of the situation. Thus, in the present study, rather than aligning with any of the major paradigms, the researcher adopts a stance that enables an addressing of the research problem herein termed interpretive pragmatism paradigm, a combining of the interpretivism and pragmatism paradigms. Interpretivism advocates a transactional and subjectivist stance. It is transactional in the sense that reality is constructed by interacting social actors with unique backgrounds and experiences (Guba, 1990; Ponterotto, 2005; Sarantakos, 1993; Wahyuni, 2012) and subjective in that there is no single universal truth. The interaction between researcher and participant is central to capturing and describing the “lived experience” and researcher values are intertwined with the research process (Ponterotto, 2005, p. 131; Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2009; Wahyuni, 2012). The preference is to work with qualitative data with an underlying belief that the best knowledge uncovers inside perspectives; hence this is an emic approach focusing on ungeneralisable behaviours unique to an individual sociocultural context. Pragmatism on the other hand is a research paradigm that refuses to join the paradigm war between the positivist and interpretivist philosophies (Tashakkori and Teddlie, 1998). Instead of questioning ontology and epistemology as the first step, pragmatists begin with the research question to determine their research framework (Wahyuni, 2012, p. 71). Because objectivist and subjectivist approaches are seen as not mutually exclusive a mixture of ontology, epistemology, axiology and methodology is acceptable in the approach to and understanding of social phenomena (Wahyuni, 2012, p. 71; Gelo, Braakmann and Benetka, 114 Chigwendere: interCultural CommuniCation CongruenCe in Sino-afriCan organiSational ContextS 2008). Characteristically, pragmatic approaches are context-driven, concept-driven or both (Gelo, Braakmann and Benetka, 2008). In context-driven approaches, responsiveness to the demands of the inquiry context is of primary importance, suggesting an openness to all paradigms and choosing one that is of best fit to the research aims (Wahyuni, 2012; Gelo, Braakmann and Benetka, 2008). On the other hand, a concept-driven approach sees conceptual or theoretical congruence as the most relevant guide for empirical research. When applied together, the concept- and context-driven approaches ensure that decisions on the research process are based on their ability to enhance understanding of a particular set of concepts in a particular context rather than for their congruence with particular sets of philosophical assumptions (Gelo, Braakmann and Benetka, 2008, pp. 278–279). The interpretive pragmatism paradigm is related to the research design in the next section. 6 .2 Research Design Within the ambit of an interpretive pragmatism paradigm, a study of theory and an empirical qualitative study are conducted towards meeting the objectives of the research as stated in Chapter 1. Given the lack of a reference point for African and Chinese managers towards achieving IC congruence, it was important in the first instance to establish IC awareness in Western, African and Chinese cultural contexts at a theoretical level. IC awareness has been defined in Chapter 1, section 1.7 as the reciprocal understanding of communication orientation and manner of communication by people from interacting cultures. In the context of the present study an understanding of the concept of IC awareness is achieved through a review, and synthesis of IC literature and theory resulting in the development of a generic theoretical IC congruence framework (TICC) as presented in Chapter 4. Next, a quasi-systematic review (flexible in execution though systematic in nature) and meta-synthesis (a non-statistical technique that conforms to methodological standards used in primary research) of extant communication literature on Western, African and Chinese cultures based on IC awareness enablers (conditions that enable people to understand communication in different cultures and contexts for the purposes of attaining IC awareness) as proposed in the generic theoretical IC congruence (TICC) framework, resulted in a theoretical framework for IC awareness (TFICA) in Western, African and Chinese culture depicting communication orientation and manner of communication as presented in Chapter 5 section 5.2. The theoretical framework for IC awareness (TFICA) in Western, African and Chinese culture was then built into the generic theoretical IC congruence (TICC) framework to form a theoretical IC congruence (TICC) framework specific to Sino-African organisational contexts (Chapter 5, section 5.4). IC awareness as depicted in the theoretical IC congruence 115 ChapTer 6: researCh desIgn and meThodology (TICC) framework specific to Sino-African organisational contexts was then empirically validated through a qualitative study as introduced in Chapter 1, section 1.5.2 and further described in part B of the present chapter. Finally, insights from the study of theory and findings of the empirical qualitative study are consolidated to result in a hybrid IC congruence framework (HICC) for Sino-African organisational contexts. In the next section, part A describes the methodological process followed in the study of theory. 6 .3 A: Study of Theory The processes of conducting the initial traditional literature review and synthesis, quasi-systematic review and meta-synthesis as introduced in Chapter 1 section 1.5.1 is discussed in the following sections, beginning with the traditional literature review. 6 .3 .1 Traditional literature review and synthesis When used as a method of research, the literature review is referred to as a “non-contact method” (Lin, 2009, p. 179) differing from other methodologies in the sense that it does not directly deal with the object under study. In addition, when conducted systematically, literature reviews are often viewed as original empirical research, particularly in the health sciences where they are mostly used to produce case evidence (Ham-Baloyi and Jordan, 2016, p. 122; Higgins and Green, 2011). In the context of the present study, the traditional literature review and meta-synthesis in the first stage of the study of theory enabled identifying and understanding of themes and subthemes underlying IC. It also enabled a conceptualising of IC congruence, IC awareness, communication orientation and manner of communication as reflected in Chapters 2, 3 and 4. Essentially, the traditional literature review and synthesis addresses theoretical research objectives T1 to T7 that are restated as follows; RQ-T1: What is IC congruence? RQ-T2: What are the approaches to understanding IC and the theories for enhancing IC in Sino-African organisational contexts? RQ-T3: What are the barriers and challenges of IC? RQ-T4: What are the considerations for enhancing IC congruence in Sino-African organisational contexts? RQ-T5: How are culture and communication related, and what are the dimensions of cultural variation in communication? 116 Chigwendere: interCultural CommuniCation CongruenCe in Sino-afriCan organiSational ContextS RQ-T6: What are the criteria for conceptualising cultural variation in communication orientation and the manner of communication in different cultural contexts? RQ-T7: What framework can compare the manner of communication in Western, African and Chinese cultures? The key sources from the fields of intercultural communication, critical intercultural communication, culture and communication synthesised in respect of theoretical objectives T1 to T7 in Chapter 2 through to Chapter 4 are: Abe and Wiseman (1983), Asante (1987), Barnett and Kincaid, (1983), Blommaert, (1998), Bucker et al. (2014), Chen, (2015), Collier et al., (2001), Collier (2015), Collier, Ribeau, and Hetch (1986), Croucher, Sommier and Rahmani (2015), Dainton and Zelley (2015), Francesca and Gold (2005), Gallois et al. (1995), Gudykunst (1995; 1998; 2005), Guest, Bunce and Johnson (2006), Gudykunst and Ting- Toomey (1988), Hall (1959; 1976; 1990), Halualani and Nakayama, (2013), Halualani, Mendoza and Drzewiecka (2009), Hill and Faulk (2005), Hofstede (1980; 1991; 2010), Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck (1961), Koester and Olebe (1988), Kubota (2012), Leeds-Hurwitz (2013), Littlejohn and Foss (2008; 2010), Liu, Volcic and Gallois (2011), Lustig and Koester (1993), Martin and Nakayama (2010), Miike (2006; 2007), Miller et al. (2013), Moon (2013), Nair-Venugopal (2015), Neuliep (2012), Oetzel (1995), Okech et al. (2015), Ono (2013), Schwartz (1992; 1994), Spitzberg (2000), Ting-Toomey, (1985; 2005), Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner (1993), Washington (2013), Wiseman (2003). In the next section the quasi-systematic review as introduced Chapter 1, section 1.5.1 is described. 6 .3 .2 Quasi-systematic review This section describes the quasi-systematic review process (derived from the systematic review process) followed in stage 2 of the study of theory where the following research questions are addressed: RQ-T8: How is communication orientation and manner of communication in Western, African and Chinese cultural contexts described according to the criteria proposed in RQ-T6? RQ-T9: How does the manner of communication differ in Western, African and Chinese cultural contexts? In its purest form, the systematic review process entails planning for the review, defining the research question, searching the literature, critical appraisal of the literature, data extraction, data synthesis and presentation (Cronin, Ryan and Coughlan, 2008; Ham-Baloyi and Jordan, 2016; Jesson, Matheson and Lacey, 2011, p. 15; Levy and Ellis, 2006; Tranfield, Denyer and Smart, 2003). However, in this study, strict adherence to this process was not entirely practical owing to limited available research specific to IC, IC effectiveness and IC 117 ChapTer 6: researCh desIgn and meThodology congruence in the Sino-African organisational context. A flexible sampling, selection and inclusion approach was adopted, resulting in the meta-synthesis of diverse literature to create a theoretical body of knowledge, hence the name quasi-systematic. The self-styled nature of the review is further justified by the fact that management-related reviews are often seen as a process of exploration, discovery and development, requiring flexibility to feed creativity in the review process (Tranfield, Denyer and Smart, 2003). Brinkmann (2014) concurs, proposing that the most objective forms of qualitative research are usually those with the loosest designs as these allow for creativity and innovativeness (Brinkmann, 2014, P.724). A diagrammatic representation of the process followed in conducting a quasi-systematic review and meta-synthesis of identified literature in the second stage of the study of theory is presented in Annexure 6.1. In addition, the quasi-systematic review process is described in sections 6.3.2.1 and 6.3.2.2 while the meta-synthesis process is described in section 6.3.3 of the present Chapter. 6 .3 .2 .1 Planning the quasi-systematic review A scoping of the field of study of IC in general and in Sino-African organisational contexts in particular was the point of departure, culminating in a research proposal that articulated the gaps in research and in the posing of research questions. A guide was prepared with which to conduct the quasi-systematic review and meta-synthesis process to limit researcher bias (Tranfield, Denyer and Smart, 2003, p. 215) while still maintaining creativity. The literature search and selection procedure is discussed in the next subsection. 6 .3 .2 .2 Literature search and selection This section covers several considerations in the search and selection of literature, namely the timeframes from which the literature was sourced, the search strategy for the articles, the question of empirical versus non-empirical literature, as well as the inclusion and exclusion of articles in the meta-synthesis. a . Timeframe for literature sourcing The timeframe for literature selected for review is usually determined by the amount of available information, usually with a maximum timeframe of five to ten years placed on the age of the works to be included (Paniagua, 2002 cited in Cronin, Ryan and Coughlan, 2008, p. 40). However, Merton (1968 cited in Bourgeois III, 1979, p. 446) argues that setting a cut-off date in literature in order to make a review more manageable runs the risk of losing the vital functions served by studying classical theory. Furthermore, in restricting periods, one may find that supposed independent ideas are merely a rediscovery of 118 Chigwendere: interCultural CommuniCation CongruenCe in Sino-afriCan organiSational ContextS something from the past (Merton, 1968, pp. 35–37 cited in Bourgeois III, 1979, pp. 446– 447). For these reasons, it was important to have an extended timeframe in this study. The constancy of culture and values – which do not change suddenly, but rather progressively over time (Hofstede, 1980, 1997) – means that most insights, despite coming from different periods, are likely remain relevant to a large extent. Suffice it to say that, despite the quasi-systematic approach allowing for exploration, discovery and development (Brinkmann, 2014; Tranfield, Denyer and Smart, 2003), a mirroring of the best practices of the systematic literature review to the best possible extent ensured rigour and validity. In addition, inclusion of seminal literature in the synthesis provided a credible base for the study (Cronin, Ryan and Coughlan 2008, p. 42; Lin, 2009). b . Inclusion and exclusion of articles As a result of unrestricted timeframes in the literature search, a copious number of articles were identified. Although systematic reviews advise setting inclusion and exclusion criteria for articles (Yin, 2009), in the context of the present study, articles were included on the basis of creative analysis involving the use of logic, judgment, reasoning, synthesis, dialectical thinking (Lin, 2009, p. 181). A decision to include articles in the synthesis was reached after, for example, a consideration of the titles, reading through abstracts, and at times complete papers (Cohen, 1990 cited in Cronin, Ryan and Coughlan, 2008; Ham-Baloyi and Jordan, 2016; Lin, 2009). Notably, the literature synthesised is heterogeneous, consisting of empirical and non-empirical, theoretical, anecdotal, peer-reviewed and non-peerreviewed papers, primarily guided by availability (Boyne, 2009, p. 7). Among the sources analysed in the meta-synthesis in respect of culture communication and general interaction in African culture, are Ajei (2007), Ani (2013), Asante (1987; 1991; 1999), Bell and Metz (2011), De Vries et al. (2009), Dhliwayo (2007), Eaton and Louw (2000), Faniran, (2014), Higgs (2010), Igboin (2011), Jackson (1999; 2012), Kane (2014), Karsten and Illa (2005), Khoza (2005), Boafo (1989), Madzingira (2001), Mangaliso (2001), Maomeka (1989; 1997), Mazama (2001), Mbigi and Maree (1995), Mbigi (1997), McFarlin, Coster and Mogale-Pretorius (1999), Metz (2015), Myers (1987), Narh (2013), Nkomo (2013) Ntuli (2012), Nussbaum (2003), Nwosu, Taylor and Blake (1998), Obonyo (2011), Park and Alden (2013), Shonhiwa (2008), Traber (1989), Uwah (2012), Van den Heuvel (2008), Waneless (2007), Wilson, (1987), with others listed in the references section. In respect of culture, communication and general interaction in Chinese culture, sources analysed include Chang (2008); Chen and Chung (1994), Chen and Starosta (1997; 2003), Chen (2011; 2015), Dai (2010), Ding (2006), Fang, (2007; 2008; 2011), Faure and Fang (2008), Gan (2014), Gao and Ting-Toomey (1998), Hu and Fan (2011), Huang (2010), Korzenny and Korzenny (1984), Miike (2002; 2007), Leung (2008), Lim (2003), Lockett (1988), Luo (2008), Ma (2011), Ping and Yan (2013), Tang (2014), Wah (2001), Wei and Li (2013), Tung, Worm and Fang (2008), Yao (2000), Yum (1988), Zhu and Bao (2010). 119 ChapTer 6: researCh desIgn and meThodology 6 .3 .3 Meta-synthesis Meta-synthesis is a non-statistical technique that conforms to methodological standards used in primary research, essentially meeting the criteria of transparency, rigour, comprehensiveness and replicability (Daigneault, Jacob and Ouimet, 2014; Denyer and Tranfield, 2009). It serves to integrate, evaluate and interpret the findings of multiple (not necessarily comparable) qualitative research studies (Cronin, Ryan and Coughlan, 2008; Tranfield, Denyer and Smart, 2003) and entails activities such as combining, modifying, rearranging, designing, composing and generalising (Levy and Ellis, 2006, p. 200). In the present study characterised by diverse conceptualisations, abductive, inductive and deductive techniques viewed as forms of qualitative data analysis rooted in the Peircean logical system of Charles Sanders Peirce (Brinkmann, 2014; Chong, 1994) contribute to conceptual understanding of IC congruence (Brinkmann, 2014; Asvoll, 2014; Mingers, 2012; Minnameir, 2010; Chong, 1994, p. 1). Abduction is an innovative and logical form of reasoning and inferencing applied in situations of uncertainty, when understanding or explanation of a phenomenon is sought (Brinkmann, 2014; Reichertz, 2009). Also referred to as critical thinking, it is concerned with sense-making and generation of new hypotheses by searching for patterns in phenomena (Asvoll, 2014; Brinkmann, 2014; Mingers, 2012; Reichertz, 2009; Chong, 1994). The results of this sense-making are then concepts or theories that can be tested to determine whether the situation is resolved (Brinkmann, 2014; Minnameir, 2010). In the current study, an abductive process results in the proposing of a generic theoretical IC congruence (TICC) framework (Chapter 4). Deduction follows from the hypothesis generation of the abductive process and is aimed at refining hypothesis and drawing logical consequences from them (Asvoll, 2014; Chong, 1994, p. 18). In the present study, the generic theoretical IC congruence (TICC) framework proposed in Chapter 4 provides the basis of a combined abductive and deductive meta-synthesis that leads to the development of a theoretical IC congruence (TICC) framework specific to Sino-African organisational contexts in Chapter 5. Finally, induction is aimed at justifying or substantiating a hypothesis with empirical data (Brinkmann, 2014; Chong, 1994, p. 16), resulting in the generation of empirical laws as opposed to theoretical laws (Chong, 1994, p. 23). In the present research, following the proposing of a theoretical IC congruence (TICC) specific to Sino-African organisational contexts, an empirical qualitative study validates the IC awareness in Sino-African organisational contexts as explained in section B of this chapter. 6 .3 .3 .1 Meta-synthesis in the context of the present study To make sense of and manage the vast diverse literature identified in the literature search and selection, a simplified meta-synthesis technique termed framework synthesis is used. 120 Chigwendere: interCultural CommuniCation CongruenCe in Sino-afriCan organiSational ContextS This was developed and popularised by social policy researchers in the 1980s (Barnett-Page and Thomas, 2009; Booth, Papaioannou and Sutton, 2012). Framework synthesis allows for the systematic organisation of textual data derived from literature according to predetermined criteria (IC awareness enablers) for deciphering communication orientation and manner of communication in an abductive and deductive manner (Barnett-Page and Thomas, 2009; Srivastava and Thomas, 2009). The search for and synthesis of literature occurred continuously during the course of the study, aggregating relevant findings to form the body of evidence regarding the research questions (Ham-Baloyi and Jordan, 2016, p. 124). The synthesis was thus an iterative process that resulted in tabulations of reflections on communication orientation and manner of communication in Western, African and Chinese cultures through the identification of common core elements and themes (Polit and Beck, 2006 cited in Cronin, Ryan and Coughlan, 2008, p. 39). (Please see examples in Annexures 6.2a and 6.2b.) Closure was reached on theoretical saturation where new literature was no longer yielding new evidence (Eisenhardt, 1989; Guest, Bunce and Johnson, 2006, p. 65; Levy and Ellis 2006, p. 192; Remenyi 2013, p. 4). The framework synthesis of this research enables new conceptualisations and interpretations (Polit and Beck, 2006 cited in Cronin, Ryan and Coughlan, 2008, p. 39) of IC awareness in Western, African and Chinese cultures as highlighted in the theoretical framework for IC awareness (TFICA) and theoretical IC congruence (TICC) framework specific to Sino-African organisational contexts, in Chapter 5 sections 5.2 and section 5.4 respectively. To elaborate on the meta-synthesis and framework synthesis of the present research, reference is made to middle range theorising as advanced by Robert Merton in 1949 (Bourgeois III, 1979). The product of theorising in the middle range is reportedly “usually a set of relational statements that range from discursive essays to highly formalised propositional or conceptual inventories that guide empirical inquiry” (Bourgeois III, 1979, p. 445). In addition, middle range theorising can be approached either from an angle of building on assembled empirical evidence, or from the use of conceptual wisdom or logic (Bourgeois III, 1979) with greater emphasis on inspiration, imagination, creation and intuition than on observable facts. According to Bourgeois III (1979, p. 445), intuition and data-based theorising should ideally go hand in hand. Thus, in the process of synthesising extant literature, the study of theory engages intuition, logic and creativity to ultimately develop the theoretical framework for IC awareness (TFICA) depicting communication in Western African and Chinese cultures and the theoretical IC congruence (TICC) specific to Sino-African organisational contexts. For the sake of completion, quality and ethical considerations in the study of theory are discussed in the next section. 121 ChapTer 6: researCh desIgn and meThodology 6 .3 .4 Quality assessment and ethical issues: study of theory As opposed to quantitative studies, one cannot rely on statistical tests to prove the reliability and validity of qualitative research (Singh, 2015). However, scholars maintain that a quality review should have appropriate breadth and depth, rigour and consistency, clarity and brevity as well as effective analysis and synthesis that makes a novel contribution (Singh, 2015; Hart, 1998). A quality review should highlight sample, data collection and analysis procedures (Singh, 2015; Eisenhardt, 1989) and it should follow a concept-centric rather than chronological or author-centric approach (Weber and Watson, 1992, cited in Levy and Ellis, 2006, p. 184). The present research strives to meet the quality criteria by using the principles of best practice of the systematic review process as far as possible, and by following a concept-centric approach. In addition, the review and synthesis results in increased knowledge that is succinctly presented particularly in the theoretical framework for IC awareness (TFICA) in Western, African and Chinese culture that can be validated through an empirical study. Regarding the ethicality of the study of theory, best practice demands that researchers ensure that academic writing standards are maintained and the academic code of conduct is not broken (Hart, 1998, p. 181). The researcher took care to avoid academic violations such as falsification, fabrication, sloppiness, nepotism and plagiarism (Levy and Ellis, 2006, p. 204) through reading, reflecting on and understanding the intended meaning in the literature to the best of her ability. Appropriate referencing has been applied, and thoughts not originating from the researcher have been attributed to the relevant authors as appropriate. 6 .4 B: Empirical Qualitative Study 6 .4 .1 Overview This section describes the methodological process that was followed in forming an empirical second phase to this research. The empirical qualitative study is based on the theoretical IC congruence (TICC) framework specific to Sino-African organisational contexts proposed in Chapter 5. As mentioned in section 5.4 of that chapter, owing to the complexity and intensity of the theoretical IC congruence (TICC) framework specific to Sino-African organisational contexts, mainly the high-level perspectives on IC awareness – specifically communication orientation and manner of communication in African and Chinese cultures to the exclusion of Western cultures are validated. That said, in line with the interpretivist assumption of a socially constructed reality and understanding human behaviour from the participants’ own frame of reference (Hussey and Hussey, 1997, p. 52) a qualitative study comprising interviews with experts was conducted, details of which are now discussed. 122 Chigwendere: interCultural CommuniCation CongruenCe in Sino-afriCan organiSational ContextS 6 .4 .1 .1 Qualitative study interviewing experts A debate surrounds the interviewing of experts (for example, Bogner and Menz, 2009; Littig, 2009; Meuser and Nagel, 2009; Pfadenhauer, 2009). This debate concerns defining what constitutes an expert, differences between forms of expert interviews and their role in research design, as well as specifics of interviewing and interaction in comparison to other qualitative interview forms (Bogner and Menz, 2009, p. 1). Despite this ongoing debate however, Bogner and Menz (2009) suggest that talking to experts in the exploratory phase of a project is an efficient and concentrated method of gathering data, compared to participatory observation or systematic quantitative surveys, because experts are surrogates for a wider circle of players. (Bogner and Menz, 2009, p. 3). Furthermore, in the context of the current study, choosing experts as participants was appropriate given the view that cultural data requires experts who are able to offer expert explanations about a cultural norm and variations on that norm (Bernard, 2006, p. 146). a . Definition of an “expert” The World Book (2009, p. 749) defines an expert as “a person who has much skill or knows a great deal about something”. Miemis (2010) in an online discussion forum suggests that experts have “extensive knowledge or ability based on research, experience, occupation and in a particular area of study” with the knowledge being “by virtue of credential, training, education, profession, publication or experience” An expert in the context of this study is defined as one of the following: i. any practising African or Chinese manager or staff member working in a Sino-African organisational context in South Africa and who is a “psychological member” of the African (sub-Saharan) or Chinese society. Said differently, the practising manager or staff member needs to have been born and socialised in any of the African countries south of the Sahara or in the Chinese society. In the South African context in which this study is based, African experts comprise all ethnic groups including Black, White, Coloured and Asian people. Experts are conversant with the native languages of their countries. Where the term “African” is used, reference is to South African managers and staff members as well as other African managers and staff members from other countries in sub-Saharan Africa but now permanently resident and working in South Africa. In addition, an expert is: ii. any practising African or Chinese manager or staff member who has had past or current experience working within a Sino-African organisational context in Africa with their role involving interaction with both Chinese and African personnel for a period of one or more years. In the context of the present research, the definition of an expert is extended to include: 123 ChapTer 6: researCh desIgn and meThodology iii. any African or Chinese person who has interacted with South African or Chinese people in an academic or other institutionalised setting where they have interacted with people from the other culture for a period of one or more years, as well as: iv. any African or Chinese person who has been closely involved in business dealings with a Chinese organisation for a period of one or more years. The definition of expert is informed in part by the following understanding provided by Shuter (2012, p. 1): Although indigenous cultural values are endemic to each society, identifying them requires “mining” the cultural fabric, often with informants who are psychological members of the society and native speakers of the language. With their help, important indigenous values can be identified, and then verified, over time, by asking multiple cultural informants what the indigenous values mean to them. Listening closely to informant responses, researchers can learn a good deal about the nature of an indigenous value and how it’s revealed in a society. In the next section and subsections, the data collection process including the sample, sampling procedure and data collection methods is described. 6 .4 .2 Data collection The cultural characteristic of low levels of trust reported of Chinese society (Liu, 2009) and other nuances of Chinese culture (as presented in Chapter 5) affected the way in which interviewees were accessed for this research. Thus, as mentioned in Chapter 1, section 1.5.2, a guanxi-orientated approach to sampling and data collection (Kriz, Gummesson and Quazi, 2014) was employed in sampling and data collection. Kriz, Gummesson and Quazi (2014) speak of guanxi and guanxi-shu (guanxi tree) where the metaphor of the tree signifies connections and relations. Guanxi-shu was experienced in the course of conducting the qualitative study as is evidenced in the sampling and data collection processes in respect of both African and Chinese participants. Before elaborating on the sample and sampling procedure, in order to give an example of guanxi-shu, the chain of events that resulted in the interview with respondent C3 a Chinese expert is explained. Through a Chinese associate of the researcher, the researcher was able to secure an interview with a high-ranking Chinese official in a Chinese organisation. Upon arrival at the appointed place, the high-ranking official stated that a member of their association, a certain business owner, would be a better fit to partake in the interview, because the business owner interacted with African employees at all levels of their organisation. The high-ranking official phoned C3, who immediately drove from their office ten minutes away, to par- 124 Chigwendere: interCultural CommuniCation CongruenCe in Sino-afriCan organiSational ContextS ticipate in the interview. Despite the sudden manner in which C3 was obliged to be interviewed, the purpose of the research and conditions of the research were explained fully, including the fact that he could withdraw from the interview at any time. The dynamics of Chinese culture regarding roles and relationships, however, deemed it inappropriate to ask C3 to sign a consent form. On his part however, C3 appeared happy to take part in the interview process. Of course, this willingness could also have been influenced by the seniority and status of the original intended interviewee who was held in very high esteem. The next subsection describes the sample and sampling procedure, also explaining the population from which the sample was drawn. 6 .4 .2 .1 Sample and sampling procedure The initial step was for the researcher to capitalise on relationships with African and Chinese managers and employees to identify and select, through judgmental sampling, initial participants meeting the criteria of expert as explained in section 6.4.1.1 of the present chapter. Specifically, the researcher capitalised on existing relationships with Chinese associates who were able to make introductions to potential research participants. Thereafter, despite potential bias and threat to anonymity, snowball sampling was engaged to include people with experience of the phenomena being studied (Hussey and Hussey, 1997, p. 147) in a situation of difficulty in accessing appropriate populations. Initial interviewees were thus requested to refer other suitable participants (Welman and Kruger, 2001). In the context of the present research, it was possible to approach the experts in their personal capacities, thus circumventing the red tape associated with securing organisational permission to conduct research. As a result, the sample of this study was recruited from experts working in a cross-section of organisations including privately owned companies, state-owned companies and entrepreneurial organisations operating in the manufacturing, information technology, legal and financial industries. All participants were either professional employees, middle managers, senior managers or executives. A more detailed overview of the biographical data of the sample indicating ratios of sex, age, marital status, ethnicity, home language and position is presented in Chapter 7. The diversity of organisational typologies represented brings a richness to the study while also providing questions for future research. In terms of sample size, there was no set number of interviews planned as the guiding principle of saturation was followed. Consensus theory that holds that in situations of cultural homogeneity, interviewing as few as four experts can produce a high level of accuracy (Romney, Batchelder and Weller, 1986, p. 313). Guest, Bunce and Johnson (2006) concur, suggesting that experts likely share common experiences which comprise truths, and the more widely distributed a particular experience, the fewer the number of participants required to provide an understanding of the phenomenon of interest (Guest, Bunce and Johnson, 2006, p. 75). In the present study, the broad cultural groupings of African and Chinese culture imply a degree of homogeneity. Fifteen participants comprising seven African 125 ChapTer 6: researCh desIgn and meThodology and eight Chinese experts were therefore interviewed over a period of two months (September to October 2016). All participants were interviewed singly, independent of one another. In the next subsection, the data collection methods are discussed. 6 .4 .2 .2 Data collection methods In this section the in-depth interview process, the questions in the interview guide and their intention are discussed in relation to the empirical research objectives and questions. a . In-depth interviews An interview guide consisting of open-ended and semi-structured questions guided the interview process. The open-ended questions allow the experts to talk openly about their communication experiences and to give their viewpoints on IC in the Sino-African organisational context. In so doing, the researcher is able to draw inferences on the perceived the communication orientation and manner of communication in own and others’ cultures. Answers to the open-ended questions also result in new previously unexplored themes emerging. The emerging themes, when incorporated into the theoretical IC congruence (TICC) framework specific to Sino-African organisational contexts developed in Chapter 5, provided a more holistic and representative framework. Semi-structured questions, on the other hand, allowed the researcher to hone in on specific aspects proposed in the theoretical IC congruence (TICC) framework specific to Sino-African organisational contexts. This is a particularly important strategy when there is a likelihood of not having an opportunity to interview a person more than once (Bernard, 2006, p. 212). Furthermore, semi-structured questions helped ensure a level of consistency in the responses received. Despite their attractiveness as data collection instruments, interviews have limitations such as high costs of travelling, potential data overload, excessive amounts of time required to complete the interviews, language difficulties in intercultural interviews as well as limitations related to the quality of interview data. To ensure the quality of information arising from the interview process, the researcher equipped herself with knowledge of best practices in interviewing. These included maintenance of respect, active listening and use of effective probing techniques including silent probes, “uh-huh” probes and “tell-me-more” probes where necessary (Bernard, 2006, p. 218). In the present study, the language differences did not pose a significant challenge, as all but two of the participants were proficient in English. For the interviews conducted in Chinese, the researcher engaged the services of a translator to translate the interview questions from English to Chinese. To ensure the authenticity of the translation, the trans- 126 Chigwendere: interCultural CommuniCation CongruenCe in Sino-afriCan organiSational ContextS late-retranslate procedure using a second independent translator (Remenyi, 2013, p. 25) was then followed in translating the interview questions back to English. The service of a research assistant (native Chinese person, fluent in both Chinese and English) was enlisted to conduct interviews in the Chinese language. The assistant was briefed on the objectives of the study and research questions that needed to be answered, and was also trained on how the interview would be conducted including the ethics protocol and ways in which probing could be done. The researcher maintained a presence in the two interviews that were conducted by the research assistant. Interviews with participants proficient in the English language were conducted by the researcher and the data emanating from the interviews was audio-recorded. These recordings were each assigned a code and the details of the interview were recorded on an interview register giving details of date and time. The interviews were then transcribed and stored in a safe place. Prior to a full-scale execution of the interviews, and in view of the status of the potential interviewees in order to ensure productiveness, it was important to have prior knowledge of the subject matter as the experts’ impression of the interviewer influences the type of knowledge they will communicate in the interview (Pfadenhauer, 2009). The researcher therefore ensured that she became a “quasi-expert” (Pfadenhauer, 2009) on communication in African and Chinese cultures from the study of theory as detailed in Chapter 2 through to Chapter 5. Also, prior to a full-scale execution of the interviews, pilot studies were done with two Chinese and one African expert to ascertain how well the potential participants understood the questions. In the pilot study, it was found that the initial interview questions specifically regarding communication orientation were difficult to understand, resulting in responses that were not comprehensive. One of the targeted experts commented that the questions were too complex. The pilot study therefore resulted in adjustments to the initial interview guide, to avoid complex terms associated with the study. The structure and intentions of the interview questions contained in the interview guide are discussed in the next section. b . Interview structure and intention At the beginning of the interview, the purpose of the research study as well as the rights of the participants were explained prior to asking participants to sign an informed consent form. In the first part of the interview participants were asked for their personal data comprising their gender, ethnicity, age, marital status, home language, position, occupation, position in their organisation as well as the length of time they had interacted with those from either African or Chinese cultures. The interview then proceeded with questions as 127 ChapTer 6: researCh desIgn and meThodology reflected in the interview guides for African and Chinese experts (see Annexures 6.3 and 6.4). The interview guide consisted of five main questions with sub-questions intended to provide information that would address the empirical objectives. The intention for asking each question on the interview guide follows. Question 1: Communication experiences • Given your experience with the African/Chinese people, I would like you to describe a communication experience or communication experiences that you have had with an African/Chinese person. (Please describe exactly what happened in the communication encounter and where this happened? Was this a good or a bad communication experience? Please can you explain why? What did your learn about the way African/ Chinese people communicate from this experience?) Question 1 serves the purpose of introducing the interview topic and encouraging the participants to relate their communication experiences. The open-ended nature of the question allows the participants to narrate their communication experience freely. Essentially, asking the participants to narrate their experiences enables them to communicate the point of their ideas or symbols indirectly (Rubin and Rubin, 1995). As such, through relating their stories and commenting on their satisfaction, the experts reveal their viewpoints on IC awareness in their own and other’s cultures (RQ-E1 and RQ-E2). In the interview process, apart from specific communication experiences, the participants also spoke of general interactions. This suggests that in the Sino-African organisational contexts, IC is not just about the verbal or non-verbal exchange but rather is viewed holistically in relation to the environment. These are insights that could be explored in future studies. Question 2: Understanding differences and similarities in communication • Would you say there is a difference in the manner that the African people communicate and the way that the Chinese people communicate? (Please can you tell me more about this?) • Would you say there is a similarity in the manner that the African people communicate and the way that the Chinese people communicate? (Please can you tell me more about this?) Question 2 serves to determine areas of similarities and/or differences in the communication orientation and manner of communication in African culture and Chinese culture, hence addressing the research question RQ-E3. The questions allow the participants to give their perspectives on the manner of communication in each culture (Chinese versus African). In so doing, their communication orientation can be inferred. Insights gained from this question highlight areas of similarity or difference compared to the findings of the the- 128 Chigwendere: interCultural CommuniCation CongruenCe in Sino-afriCan organiSational ContextS oretical framework for IC awareness (TFICA) in Western, African and Chinese cultures as established in Chapter 5 of this study. Question 3: Towards enhancing intercultural communication • What do you think are the most important considerations and strategies when communicating with others from a different culture? (Can you name them?) • Can these considerations and strategies (above) be taught or shared by people from both African and Chinese and cultures in order to have good communication experience? (How could this be done?) Although not directly addressing the empirical research questions of the present study, Question 3 was included in the interview guide because asking experts how IC can be enhanced is a natural progression from asking them whether their communication experiences were good or bad and whether they saw any or similarities and differences in communication with their counterparts. Question 4: Understanding communication in African/Chinese culture • Please tell me about the correct (most appropriate) manner of communication in the African/Chinese cultural context. In other words, what do you consider as “good communication” in the African/Chinese cultural context? (How important are the values and philosophies such as Ubuntu, Humanism, Communalism, etc. in communication in South African culture? Confucianism, guanxi, face in Chinese culture?) Question 4 helps to establish a deeper understanding of the manner of communication in the participant’s own culture (RQ-E1) from their own cultural point of view (African or Chinese). The communication orientation (for instance direct or indirect, elaborate or succinct) can be inferred from the responses given. Question 5: Conclusion • Is there anything else that you would like to tell me about how people communicate in the Sino-African organisational context? This question closes the interview session and gives the participant the opportunity to share other views on their IC experience not covered in the interview. In the next section, issues of validity and reliability are discussed in relation to the empirical qualitative study. 129 ChapTer 6: researCh desIgn and meThodology 6 .4 .3 Validity and reliability One of the main purposes of research is for researchers to be able to persuade their audiences that the findings of an inquiry are trustworthy and worth paying attention to (Lincoln and Guba, 1985, p. 290), particularly in qualitative studies where the interview process is open to the challenge of informant and researcher bias (Golafshani, 2003; Patton, 2002; Remenyi, 2013). Reliability and validity are therefore of concern to any researcher in the design, analysis and assessment of the quality of their study Patton (2002). Reliability refers to a level of consistency such that when a method is reliable, it produces the same result wherever repeated (Sarantakos, 1993, p. 79). Validity on the other hand is an assessment of the genuineness and honesty of the research, largely influenced by the researcher’s perception and definition of validity (Creswell and Miller, 2000; Hussey and Hussey, 1997, p. 56). Validity is therefore situational and changeable, dependent on the interactions of human beings and their environment (Golafshani, 2003, p. 602, Winter, 2000; Crotty, 1998). In the context of the empirical qualitative study, care was taken not to lead the interviewee by avoiding probes that used any of the key descriptors derived from the study of theory. It would have gone against best practices to explicitly ask experts whether they viewed the manner of communication as direct or indirect, elaborate or succinct and so on, as established in the study of theory, as this would have been tantamount to leading the interviewee, hence affecting the validity of the findings. Instead of referring to reliability and validity in qualitative research however, reference is made to trustworthiness confirmability, credibility, transferability, and dependability (Remenyi, 2013; Golafshani, 2003; Stenbacka, 2001; Seale, 1999; Lincoln and Guba, 1985). 6 .4 .3 .1 Confirmability Houghton et al. (2013) describe confirmability as the neutrality and accuracy of the data. Because the qualitative researcher is deeply immersed and involved in the research (Patton, 2002; Golafshani, 2003) it is argued that the close relationship between researcher and interviewee is a core issue (Remenyi, 2013) that affects opinions on validity because of potential bias and subjectivity in interpretation (Salazar, Crosby and DiClemente, 2015; Cole et al., 2011). Given the extent of the researcher’s involvement in the research process, a reflexive approach was adopted. Reflexivity is the process of examining both oneself as researcher, and the research relationship (Salazar, Crosby and DiClemente, 2015). It involves self-examination of one’s assumptions and preconceptions to see how they shape the research decisions made, and an examination of the researcher’s relationship with the participant and how the relationship dynamics affect the responses to the questions (Salazar, Crosby and DiClemente, 2015, p. 458). 130 Chigwendere: interCultural CommuniCation CongruenCe in Sino-afriCan organiSational ContextS Towards fostering reflexivity, the interviews commenced with open-ended questions to minimise the preconceptions of the theoretical framework. This ensured that the interviewees could relate their experiences at will. The documented data transcription and content analysis processes detailing coding and categorisation procedures, aid in establishing confirmability for the research, demonstrating that the findings emerge from the data and are not the researchers own predispositions (Sanjari et al., 2014; Shenton, 2004). Moreover, rich and thick verbatim descriptions of participants’ accounts are given to support findings (see Chapters 7 and 8). To add to that, no relationship was established with the interviewees prior to the commencement of the study. The existing relationship was that between researcher and research associate who made the initial referrals. Further interviews were gained by the snowball effect of guanxi-shu. 6 .4 .3 .2 Transferability Transferability refers to the possibility of transferring particular findings to another similar context or situation, while still preserving the meanings and inferences from the completed study (Houghton et al., 2013). This is made possible by practising methodological excellence through for example the maintenance of “inquiry audits” (Lincoln and Guba, 1985, p. 317) that allow examination of the process and the end product of the research. This chapter serves as an inquiry audit for this study. In addition, thick descriptions of the research context are essential to ensure that future researchers are sure that that their intended context is similar to that for which results have been reported (Koch, 1994). To this end, Chapter 1 of this thesis has served to explain the background and context of the study. 6 .4 .3 .3 Dependability Dependability – often compared to the concept of reliability in quantitative research – is related to the consistency of the inquiry process over time (Lincoln and Guba, 1985). It is an assessment of whether the study would produce the same results if it were repeated in the same setup with the same interviews. In order to demonstrate dependability, each process in the study should be reported in detail to enable an external researcher to achieve similar results if they repeat the inquiry. The research process of the present study is detailed in the present chapter. 6 .4 .3 .4 Credibility Credibility refers to the value and believability of the findings (Lincoln and Guba 1985). It involves conducting the research in a believable manner and being able to demonstrate credibility (Houghton et al., 2013) in view of the rigour of methods and techniques, the credibility of the researcher as well as the philosophical belief in the value of the inquiry (Patton, 1999, p. 1190). In the context of the present research, the researcher is adequately experienced and well trained in conducting research and interviews in both academic and 131 ChapTer 6: researCh desIgn and meThodology professional settings. In addition, where the interview guide was drafted in Chinese and the interviews conducted in same, the translate-retranslate procedure using a secondary independent translator (Remenyi, 2013, p. 25) was then followed in translating to English to ensure the authenticity of the translation. The interpretive pragmatism adopted in the research is appropriate in view of the need to understand and propose ways of enhancing IC in Sino-African organisational contexts. In asking the participants to relate their experiences, the researcher is able to gain deeper understanding into a scarcely explored field from an insider perspective. Furthermore, while some critics may argue that the judgmental and snowball sampling methods of this study may have introduced bias, this was the most practical approach in the circumstances. Participants identified through judgment sampling were not known to the researcher but were introduced by the snowball effect. The same was true of African participants, thus following a guanxi-shu orientation or snowball sampling as earlier discussed. The researcher also maintained professionalism at all times. Triangulation increases the credibility of a study and is discussed in the next subsection. 6 .4 .3 .5 Triangulation Triangulation is “a validity procedure where researchers search for convergence among multiple different sources of information” (Creswell and Miller, 2000, p. 126) to evaluate findings and control bias in research (Golafshani, 2003; Hussey and Hussey, 1997; Houghton et al., 2013, p. 13). In addition to using different data sources, triangulation can be achieved by combining methods of collecting data (Patton, 2002) and mixing paradigms (Barbour, 1998 cited in Golafshani, 2003). Triangulation can also include multiple methods of data analysis (Golafshani, 2003, p. 604). In the present study, the interpretive and pragmatism paradigm are integrated to develop the hybrid IC congruence (HICC) framework that has practical implications for IC congruence in the Sino-African organisational context. Furthermore, various methods of data collection are engaged including a traditional literature review, a quasi-systematic review and meta-synthesis as well as in-depth interviews. The qualitative study conducted serves as a form of data triangulation aimed at validating findings of the study. In true constructivist fashion, the present study embraces multiple realities (Golafshani, 2003) taking together the findings of the theoretical and empirical studies towards developing a hybrid IC congruence framework for achieving IC congruence in Sino-African organisational contexts. The role of the researcher and ethical considerations of this research is discussed the next section. 132 Chigwendere: interCultural CommuniCation CongruenCe in Sino-afriCan organiSational ContextS 6 .4 .4 Ethical considerations Ethical considerations should always be acknowledged; conclusions arrived at by the researcher should always be ethical and sound (Terre Blanche, Durrheim and Painter, 2006), free from violation of the rights of interviewees (Creswell, 2007, p. 141). In the first instance, approval to conduct the research was granted by the Rhodes University Ethics Standards Committee (see Annexure 6.5). The interviewees were asked to participate in their individual capacities, negating the need for institutional permissions to conduct the research. A formal letter was sent to all participants asking them to participate in the research (see Annexure 6.6). The names of the institutions with which the interviewees are associated with are not mentioned in this study. Prior to commencing the interviews, the purpose of the study was explained to the interviewees, who were also asked to give their informed consent (see Annexure 6.7). Some participants agreed to sign an informed consent form, while others sent emails agreeing to participate in the survey following a verbal telephonic agreement. In other cases, for example with the Chinese participants, the nature of sampling engaged (guanxi-shu) and nuances of Chinese culture made it culturally inappropriate to request that a form be signed. In these instances, verbal consent to participate in the interviews was considered adequate. The researcher explained to the participants their rights as interviewees, and that they could withdraw at any point if they felt that they did not wish to continue. Permission to audio-record the interviews was also sought before the recordings were made. Strict confidentiality was maintained at all times and the names of participants are not published in any form. In addition, all file recordings and transcripts are saved using pseudonyms. 6 .4 .5 Qualitative data analysis Having discussed in-depth interviews as a data collection method, sampling procedures, the interview guide, quality and ethical considerations of the qualitative study, the focus now turns to data analysis and reporting. Data obtained was aimed at interrogating the portion of the theoretical IC congruence (TICC) framework specific to Sino-African organisational contexts related to IC awareness. In the following sections, the levels of data analysis are introduced, followed by a description of the transcription procedures and the content analysis process, focusing on the coding and categorisation of key words and chunks of text. 6 .4 .5 .1 Level of analysis According to Ricoeur (1979 cited in Mayer, 2008, p. 113) there are different interpretation levels important for data analysis that begin at the level of experience prior to the interviewee meeting the researcher. For instance, before the researcher met with any of the interviewees, data analysis had begun as African and Chinese experts formed impressions 133 ChapTer 6: researCh desIgn and meThodology of their IC experiences. Another stage of analysis could pertain to the researcher’s impressions of the interviewees’ choice of meeting place, the reception by the interviewee, the rapport, and the whole interview process itself as the interviewees narrate their communication experience. The researcher kept a diary in which the researcher wrote reflective notes and impressions of the interview following the completion of each interview. These field notes and diary captions proved useful in the final data analysis by adding meaning to the transcribed texts. Transcription of the audio files, focusing on the verbal aspects of communication, constitutes a level of analysis. The full length of each interview was recorded and transcribed to written text. Pauses and other non-verbal behaviours are excluded. (Refer to Annexure 6.8 for an example of one of the shorter transcribed interviews). Furthermore, in adherence to the principle of confidentiality, care was taken to clean the transcribed data files, removing any references to people’s names or organisational affiliations. Following the transcription of texts, the data was analysed through content analysis. Widely used in qualitative research and emphasising the role of the researcher in the construction of meaning in texts (Bryman, 2004), content analysis can follow an inductive, deductive or summative approach (Hsieh and Shannon, 2005, p. 1286) to provide knowledge and understanding of phenomena under study (Downe-Wamboldt, 1992, p. 314). The choice of approach is dependent on the theoretical and substantive interests of the researcher and the problem being studied, paying attention to the context or contextual meaning (Hsieh and Shannon, 2005, p. 1277). In the present research, a simultaneously inductive and deductive approach is adopted. A deductive approach enabled the testing of the general theoretical insights on IC awareness in African and Chinese culture against that in Sino-African organisational contexts. An inductive approach on the other hand allowed for new insights to emerge (Hsieh and Shannon, 2005; Kondracki and Wellman, 2002; Mayring, 2000). The content analysis of this study is generally guided by the five-step process of Terre Blanche, Durrheim and Painter (2006) consisting of familiarisation and immersion, inducing themes, coding, elaboration and finally interpretation and checking as discussed in section 6.4.5.2. Findings of the content analysis are presented in Chapter 7 where they are supported by “thick descriptions” (Geertz, 1973) and linked to the findings in the study of theory (Chapters 2, 3, 4 and 5). Conclusions are drawn in Chapter 8, where a hybrid IC congruence (HICC) framework is presented and recommendations for future studies are given. 6 .4 .5 .2 Procedures of analysis In this section, the analytical procedure in the content analysis process is discussed. The aim of the analysis is: 134 Chigwendere: interCultural CommuniCation CongruenCe in Sino-afriCan organiSational ContextS • to identify perspectives on IC awareness of “own” and “other” with regard to communication orientation and manner of communication in African and Chinese culture and to code the material for correspondence with or exemplification of categories identified in the study of theory (Polit and Beck, 2004) while allowing new ones to emerge; • to determine similarities and differences in communication orientation and manner of communication (hence IC awareness) between African and Chinese people based on perspectives of African and Chinese experts. Below is an explanation and illustration of the Terre Blanche, Durrheim and Painter (2006) process used in the analysis. i) Familiarisation and immersion The researcher read and re-read the transcribed texts, making notes and developing portraits of each person interviewed and constantly referring to the audio recordings and reflective notes. This process helped the researcher to gain a general feeling of what the data was saying (O’Connor and Gibson, 2003, p. 64; Taylor-Powell and Renner, 2003; Terre Blanche, Durrheim and Painter, 2006). Because an initial open-ended question was posed to the interviewees, there was a lot of open talk that produced a multitude of data not directly related to the specific empirical research questions of this research. As such, when the researcher had gained a good understanding of the data, the researcher highlighted text that on first impression appeared to represent the communication orientation and manner of communication for further analysis. ii) Inducing themes Induction means inferring general rules or classes from specific instances (Terre Blanche, Durrheim and Painter, 2006, p. 323). Having gained a good understanding of the data, the next stage was to identify key words, chunks of text and recurring ideas pertaining to the communication orientation and manner of communication. The researcher looked for and noted words and ideas that kept coming up in the narrations while also considering themes from the study of theory (Chapter 5). The empirical research questions were kept in mind at all times to ensure that the study remained focused. The easiest themes regarding communication orientation and manner of communication identified were those recurring in a text. iii) Coding Coding involves marking different sections of the data as being relevant to one or more of the themes (Terre Blanche, Durrheim and Painter, 2006, p. 324). In the present research, coding occurred simultaneously with developing categories. In view of the study of theory while allowing codes to emerge, key words and chunks of text (representing perspectives) were coded and later organised into categories. 135 ChapTer 6: researCh desIgn and meThodology In order to address the empirical research questions correctly, the coding process occurs at two levels for each of the African experts and Chinese experts. Two copies of each interview transcript were made to facilitate coding along the following levels for each of the interviewees: • Perspective on own IC awareness • Perspective on other IC awareness. The researcher coded the material using the reviewer feature in Microsoft Word. Fig. 6.1 is an excerpt of the coded material of interview A3, one of the shorter interviews selected through a random process. 136 Chigwendere: interCultural CommuniCation CongruenCe in Sino-afriCan organiSational ContextS Fi g. 6 .1 Ex ce rp t o f c od ed m at er ia l u si ng a M ic ro so ft W or d m ac ro So ur ce : R es ea rc he r’s o w n co nt rib ut io n 137 ChapTer 6: researCh desIgn and meThodology Using the reviewer feature in Microsoft Word, each identified piece of relevant text was highlighted and a code assigned to it. Following the coding process, the coded material was then extracted into a table in Microsoft Word using a macro or series of commands and instructions grouped together as a single command to accomplish a task automatically (Microsoft Word Office Support, 2017). In this instance, the macro drew the coded material as indicated in Fig. 6.1. This example is further refined to show own and other perspectives on IC awareness in African and Chinese cultures as shown in Chapter 7, sections 7.3 to 7.7. Next, the perspectives were clustered into categories of best fit following an unconstrained process. Categorisation allows grouping and comparison of texts that seem to belong together, thereby giving a fresh view on the data. While some IC awareness categories were defined in the study of theory (communication orientation and manner of communication), these were not imposed on the empirical data to avoid blinding the researcher to contextual aspects of the phenomenon (Taylor-Powell and Renner, 2003; O’Connor and Gibson, 2003). Rather, as mentioned, an unconstrained process of analysis was used. It is likely that a purely structured process of analysis solely focused on findings of the study of theory would have impacted on the neutrality and confirmability of trustworthiness, as at times researchers are prone to bias, influencing the propensity to find evidence supporting rather than refuting a theory, despite best efforts at adopting a reflexive approach (Lincoln and Guba, 1985). iv) Elaboration Following the coding and categorisation stage, elaboration entailed exploring the categories more closely. This process provided an opportunity to revise the coding system and return to the third stage with revised codes. The coding of data was an iterative process aimed at coming up with the best way of structuring material to enable the best account of what was happening in the data to be given (Terre Blanche, Durrheim and Painter, 2006, p. 326). The IC awareness categories developed in the content analysis process are presented in Chapter 7 section 7.8. v) Interpretation and checking The interpretation stage represents the written account of the phenomenon that has been studied (Terre Blanche, Durrheim and Painter, 2006). Following a determination on the IC awareness in Sino-African organisational contexts, the findings were substantiated through offering supporting and non-supporting evidence (Hsieh and Shannon, 2005, p. 1282; Mayring, 2000) from the data material and insights from the study of theory. This stage also provided an opportunity for the researcher to reflect on her own role in the collection and interpretation of data. Finally, through a discussion the empirical findings are compared with findings from the study of theory and integrated with the theoretical IC 138 Chigwendere: interCultural CommuniCation CongruenCe in Sino-afriCan organiSational ContextS congruence (TICC) framework specific to Sino-African organisations to form a hybrid IC congruence framework for Sino-African organisational contexts. 6 .5 Summary This chapter was divided into two parts. The research process as explained, provides an audit trail and information to enable the reader to assess the quality of the process. Part A discussed the methodological process of the study of theory (Chapters, 2, 3, 4 and 5). Part B described the methodological process followed in the empirical qualitative study comprising in-depth interviews with 15 experts, seven of whom are of African origin and eight of Chinese origin. The chapter commenced with a discussion of the notion of paradigms, highlighting the focus areas of positivism, postpositivism, interpretivism and pragmatism. An interpretivist pragmatism paradigm was selected as appropriate for the study for two reasons. First, its interpretive nature was necessary for developing an IC congruence framework in the sparsely researched Sino-African organisational context. Second, pragmatism, in the sense of flexibility, was required in developing and creating action-orientated knowledge (Singh, 2015, p. 132). The assumptions of the interpretivist pragmatism paradigm were highlighted. The qualitative research design was then introduced, highlighting its relevance in bringing the academic and business worlds together to inform professional practice. Following a discussion on the qualitative research design in part A, the data collection procedures and analysis of the study of theory were discussed. These encompassed the traditional literature review, quasi-systematic review and meta-synthesis procedure including framework synthesis. Examples of framework synthesis tables are provided as appendices. The quality and ethical considerations in conducting a literature-based study were also highlighted. In part B, the process of the empirical qualitative study was explained, covering the data collection process, quality criteria and ethical considerations for the in-depth interview empirical qualitative study. Finally, the qualitative data analysis process was explored, highlighting levels and procedures of analysis while providing examples of transcriptions and content analysis to ensure transparency is maintained. In Chapter 7, the methodological approaches discussed in part B of this chapter are used to analyse and interpret the experts’ perspectives on IC awareness in Sino-African organisational contexts and to finally present conclusions and recommendations in Chapter 8. The findings of the study of theory based on the methodological process discussed in part A of this chapter are integrated in Chapter 2 through to Chapter 5 where the theoretical IC congruence (TICC) framework specific to Sino-African organisational contexts is presented.

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Abstract

The global outlook of contemporary businesses has made the notion of intercultural communication effectiveness increasingly relevant as home and host country organisational incumbents seek to minimise intercultural communication challenges. From an academic perspective, despite the prevalence of theories and research that could serve as guidelines for addressing intercultural communication challenges, continued existence of these challenges in some contexts suggests potential inadequacy of such theories. Therefore, in this study, using a case of the Sino-African organisational context, several frameworks for enhancing intercultural communication effectiveness are proposed and developed. The frameworks culminate in a hybrid intercultural communication congruence framework to enhance intercultural communication and achieve intercultural communication congruence (IC congruence) in Sino-African organisational contexts. This book is a must for academics interested in theory development in intercultural communication, as well as organisational and management research in Africa. The bevy of frameworks developed and the methodological processes followed present a point of academic debate and raise numerous questions for future research. The book also provides useful insights into intercultural communication in Sino-African organisational contexts and would be of interest to managers, consultants and trainers working in Chinese organisations in Africa as well as on cross-cultural and intercultural management. In addition to introducing new concepts to the discourse of intercultural communication, the study marks the first comprehensive inquiry into intercultural communication in Sino-African business relationships in the organisational context.