Three Peoples Divided by a Common Language: Cultural Pitfalls in International Negotiations Between the United States and the United Kingdom and Ireland

Jim Johnson (1) , Daniel Spellman (2)
(1) Crummer Graduate School of Business, Rollins College, Winter Park, FL, USA , United States
(2) Crummer Graduate School of Business, Rollins College, Winter Park, FL, USA , United States


There is a general assumption that there is no serious communication barrier among speakers of a common language. This action research study examines that assumption in the context of intercultural communication among three English-speaking teams, with each team representing a major national travel organization located in the USA, Ireland, and the UK respectively. The results of an online survey sent to all participants (N = 82) indicate stark differences between the US and the UK/Ireland respondents’ perceptions of the quality of communication and the effectiveness of their cooperation on a day-today basis. The causes of these differences are examined, recommendations are offered for ways in which cultural pitfalls can be avoided, and suggestions are provided for avenues for future research.

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Jim Johnson (Primary Contact)
Daniel Spellman
Author Biographies

Jim Johnson, Crummer Graduate School of Business, Rollins College, Winter Park, FL, USA

Dr. Jim Johnson (PhD, University of South Carolina) is Professor of International Business and Nancy Siebens Binz Chair of World Studies at the Crummer Graduate School of Business. He teaches international business and international management and regularly leads Rollins MBA students on field studies to Asia, Europe and Latin America. Dr. Johnson’s research interests include international joint ventures, international market analysis, and cross-cultural management. He is a member of the Academy of Management and the Academy of International Business.

Daniel Spellman, Crummer Graduate School of Business, Rollins College, Winter Park, FL, USA

Dr. Daniel S. Spellman, Jr. is a marketing professional with expertise in management, digital consumer behavior and social media marketing. Dr. Spellman has worked in various sectors of business including the entertainment industry; travel consortium and online travel agencies; government/military and technology solution providers. He is currently a professor in the Entertainment Business Master's Degree Program at Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida. Dan and his wife Kristen currently live in Orlando, Florida and they are both expecting a new baby to add to their growing family in February 2021.

Johnson, J., & Spellman, D. (2020). Three Peoples Divided by a Common Language: Cultural Pitfalls in International Negotiations Between the United States and the United Kingdom and Ireland. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 20(2), 16–30.

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