Communicating with those from another culture may be difficult for different reasons. Researchers have developed theories concerning different taxonomies that have proven to be useful for understanding cultural differences. One of these is Hofstede´s cultural taxonomies which is much cited in later research concerning cultural differences, this thesis is no exception. The framework he presented is useful as it provides important information about the differences between countries. For this thesis, the dimension of power distance will be fundamental.
The purpose of this thesis is to understand which challenges Norwegian employees have and which influence power distance has on these challenges. A qualitative case study was conducted to understand which challenges employees in a specific firm have experienced when it comes to communicating with their Asian business partners. The case study has collected data through semi-structured interviews with employees in which has a significant track record when it comes to interacting with those from another culture and in this case, from Asian countries. The interviews revealed that employees in key positions in the firm had experiences that could be related to challenges in communicating.
Evidence obtained from the study revealed three different challenges in which employees use power distance to interpret what happens to them when communicating. These three challenges are; the concept of face, relationship, and job description. Even though this thesis intends to look at individually perceived challenges, multiple employees at key-positions mentioned the same challenges related to communicating with their Asian business partners.