Communicating with foreign partners and subsidiaries


  • The partners do not negotiate in the same way and do not understand each other. That can lead to misinterpretations on both sides and unspoken resentments.
  • Verbal and non-verbal messages are interpreted differently; the same message is understood differently; different levels of knowledge of a third language.
  • Expected results are not made sufficiently clear to the partner (e.g. outsourcing) or subsidiary.
  • Too little face-to-face contact; misunderstandings can develop despite contact by e-mail or the Web.

Possible ways forward

  • Facilitate the B to B process and thus speed it up
  • Make relations more dynamic and increase the added value by promoting better quality communication
  • Establish or re-establish a relationship based on trust via mutual understanding and respect for each player's cultural and
    organisational way of working
  • Formalise the expected results and get the partners to agree them
  • Establish a working arrangement which the partners will go along with

The Emerg-Et-Sens approach

  • Facilitating genuine, effective contact between the partners so as to establish or re-establish a relationship based on trust
  • Decoding the meanings of interpretations
  • Supporting acceptance of difference and breaking down preconceptions about another culture


Exploratory phase


Getting to the nub of the issue (relationship, divergent views of the aims to be achieved, unexpressed expectations, etc.)

Developing a shared understanding of a common problem

Listening to both parties and giving them an opportunity to state their differences

= interpreting the meaning (different levels of language, specific cultural references).


Understanding phase


Putting the context into perspective and helping the people concerned to develop a wider awareness of other cultural references and

associated ways of working

Developing knowledge of and respect for one another

(Re-)bonding and building mutual trust

Working on sources of tension and conflict = mediating the meaning


Cooperative phase


Developing a shared vision

Establishing common aims

Melding differences into complementary features and using differences as a source of inspiration for both sides

Putting in place a partner manager working platform that takes account of each party's specific cultural features


Among other things, Emerg-Et-Sens uses the AEC Disc® Method intercultural module as a tool for personal and professional development in an international context.