The role of interpersonal communications in managing South African - German business relationships
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Communication is the basis of all relationships. Be it personal or professional, people cannot do without healthy and effective communication especially, when it comes to business. Good communication skills are of vital importance. While most countries do speak English, which is the globally accepted ‘business’ language, there are still big challenges with language as well as cultural differences. This study aimed to investigate the role of interpersonal communications in manag- ing South African – German business relationships. The objective of this study was, firstly, to identify which communication channels South African business organiza- tions use to communicate with German businesses and, secondly, to explore the associated problems experienced by South African business people. Based on the investigated problems, recommendations were provided on the technical level and the personal level as to how communication can be made more effective to improve South African and German business relationships. In order to accomplish the objectives of the study, a quantitative study was con- ducted by means of self-administered e-mail based questionnaires. In addition, a qualitative study was conducted using self-administered interviews based on the quantitative results of this study. In both cases, the respondents were purposively selected. Conclusions and recommendations were thereafter drawn from the findings of the study in comparison with the literature review. The results showed that effective communication in business is not as easy as it of- ten seems. There are problems in business communications between South African and German business partners mainly based on the cultural differences. The report recommended that companies should invest more in training and work- shops in order to help communication partners to understand cultures abroad and to understand the communication habits of overseas business people.