When East Meets West: Polish Business Communication from a Cross-Cultural Perspective

Hanna Bulawka (1) , Joanna Molek (2) , Julita Wozniak (3)
(1) Warsaw Communications, Koralowa 51, 02-967 Warsaw, Poland , Poland
(2) Jan Kochanowski University of Kielce, Zeromskiego 5, 25-369, Kielce, Poland , Poland
(3) Kijowska 79, 40-754, Katowice, Poland , Poland


This paper investigates how foreign nationals living and working in Poland evaluate Polish colleagues’ communication in English and its effectiveness in international business. It identifies features of linguistic behaviour attributed to Polish business interactions. Five dimensions of cultural variability (directness, emotionality, power distance, confrontation, critical evaluation) are used as benchmarks and offer an observational framework for examining Polish communication patterns. The attitudes that foreign business professionals expressed towards their Polish colleagues’ style of interaction are measured using a Likert scale and interpreted based on the results of qualitative interviews and secondary research. The article highlights the pragmatic dangers of misunderstanding or underestimating culturally-driven behaviours in the global setting.

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Hanna Bulawka
hanna.bulawka@wawcomms.pl (Primary Contact)
Joanna Molek
Julita Wozniak
Author Biographies

Hanna Bulawka, Warsaw Communications, Koralowa 51, 02-967 Warsaw, Poland

Hanna Bulawka (PhD) received a doctoral degree in Applied Linguistics and Gender Studies at Birmingham University and a postgraduate diploma in Coaching and Psychology at SWPS University. She is a trainer, researcher and coach at Warsaw Communications and a licensed partner at Richard Lewis Communications. Her professional experience gained in academic and commercial sectors spans the fields of intercultural business communications, PR, media analysis and women in leadership.

Joanna Molek, Jan Kochanowski University of Kielce, Zeromskiego 5, 25-369, Kielce, Poland

Joanna Molek (MA) is a graduate from Portuguese Philology from Jagellonian University in Krakow currently holding the position of Business Development Manager. For more than 7 years she has been working in multicultural business environments for different companies, from small firms to corporations. She has cross-sectoral experience in Human Resources services, IT and Marketing.


Julita Wozniak, Kijowska 79, 40-754, Katowice, Poland

Julita Wozniak (PhD) completed Interdisciplinary Doctoral Studies in the Humanities at the University of Lodz. She is an academic teacher at Jan Kochanowski University of Kielce. Her research interests focus on Critical Discourse Analysis, hate speech and intercultural communication. She is an intercultural trainer, global educator and member of SIETAR Polska. She conducted intercultural trainings for students, police officers, and refugee volunteers, among many others.

Bulawka, H., Molek, J., & Wozniak, J. (2023). When East Meets West: Polish Business Communication from a Cross-Cultural Perspective. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 23(2), 97–108. https://doi.org/10.36923/jicc.v23i2.188

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