The Impact of Cross-cultural Differences on Feedback Behavior. A Comparative Study in a Technological Setting.


T. Chydenius, M. Gaisch - The Impact of Cross-cultural Differences on Feedback Behavior. A Comparative Study in a Technological Setting. - Cross-Cultural Business Conference 2014, Steyr, Österreich, 2014, pp. 271-284


Giving and receiving feedback is an essential part of a learning cycle for any learning organization in general and its students in particular. As human communication is highly influenced by culture, the purpose of this study is to find out how and to which extent the socio-cultural socialisation of the stakeholders at hand affects their patterns in feedback giving. Data was collected from written feedback given in the form of informal performance evaluation that student groups from Universities of Applied Sciences of Laurea, Finland and Upper Austria gave to each other after pre-scheduled online presentations that were delivered to each other within traditional learning settings (Communication classes in Finland and General English classes in Austria). The open-ended feedback questionnaires were collected after two different online sessions in May and December 2013. The feedback was then assembled in a list of themes categorized by the activity or factor to be evaluated (work process, in-class performance, content of the presentations and technology used to transmit them). In a second step a set of codes was developed. After repeatedly reading through the interview transcripts, three analytical frames emerged that were further assessed and analyzed through the mutually exclusive categories (see Berger 2011, pp 209 - 216) of positivity, neutrality or negativity of the feedback. The content analysis suggests a number of relevant differences in the feedback given by the Finnish and Austrian students. These results support the ethnographic observations made by the lecturers and are also in line with the findings in previous literature (Berry & al. 2010; Chhokar, Broadbeck & House, 2007; Salo-Lee 1998; House 2006). It appeared that the Finnish students were somehow reluctant towards providing personal feedback to their counterparts, being most careful to remain on a surface content level whereas the Austrians seemed to be more at ease and better able to give personal feedback while at the same time not shying away from offering largely low-context and even negative feedback, if applicable.