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Aalto University School of Business Master's Theses are now in the Aaltodoc publication archive (Aalto University institutional repository)
School of Business | Department of Management Studies | International Business | 2014
Thesis number: 13781
The role of language in trust-building of international negotiations - Case: Crisis Management Initiative
Author: Markkanen, Anna-Laura
Title: The role of language in trust-building of international negotiations - Case: Crisis Management Initiative
Year: 2014  Language: eng
Department: Department of Management Studies
Academic subject: International Business
Index terms: kansainväliset yhtiöt; international companies; luottamus; trust; kielet; languages; yritysviestintä; business communication; neuvottelut; negotiation
Pages: 83
Key terms: language; trust; negotiation; mediation; culture; interpreting; NGO
Abstract:
The purpose of this study is to examine the role of language in establishing and maintaining trust in international negotiations. The case organization is Crisis Management Initiative (CMI), a Finnish non-profit organisation founded by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, President Martti Ahtisaari, in 2000. CMI works to prevent and peacefully resolve violent conflicts around the world. This study sets out to investigate the connection of language and trust in the setting of CMI's international negotiation processes. Firstly, it examines the main language-related challenges faced by CMI. The second research goal is to find out, how language affects establishing and maintaining trust in CMI's negotiation processes. The theoretical framework is a combination of three research streams: language, trust and negotiation.

The main data sources are eleven qualitative interviews: nine interviews with CMI employees from different functional and geographical area teams, in addition to two interpreters employed by CMI. Secondary data from CMI's webpage and publications was used to give a comprehensive understanding to the organization and the context of peace mediation.

The challenges that CMI faces in their mediation processes can be grouped into three categories: difficulties resulting from different levels of language proficiency, problems related to the symbiosis of language and culture and challenges arising from interpreted communications. In addition, the research confirms a clear connection between language matters and establishing and maintaining trust in international negotiation. This connection is depicted by the importance choosing an adequate style and vocabulary when establishing initial trust, the negative effect that interpreters can have in trust-formation, the relation between right style of language and creation of a suitable atmosphere and the importance of neutrality and impartiality for trust-formation.
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