Communicating Effectively in the New Global Office
In Words Matter: Communicating Effectively in the New Global Office, co-authored with Professor Sirkka Jarvenpaa of the McCombs School of Business, Keating explains in accessible language why communications in virtual meetings between transnational partners can routinely break down, even when all parties are fluent English speakers. One study of corporate managers found that one out of five projects fail primarily because of ineffective transnational communication, resulting in losses in the millions of dollars.
Many people assume that if everyone speaks English (a common language of international collaborations), information will be shared seamlessly and without misunderstanding. But is that really true? Keating and Jarvenpaa show, based on their research on virtual teams on four continents, how contrary to common assumptions, language is never neutral. It is heavily influenced by the culture we grew up in, and our word choices can often result in unintended meanings when we communicate with people who grew up in different surroundings. The end result of misunderstanding is lost time, lost money, and even discord among those involved.
- Read an Interview with Keating about Words Matter on the CaMP Anthropology blog, and in an article by Céline Lauer, Welt am Sonntag: Wie Sie das „Zoom-Fatigue-Syndrom“ vermeiden (How to Avoid the “Zoom Fatigue Syndrome”)
- Read about Words Matter on NY tech blog AlleyWatch
- Read about Words Matter in “Can We Talk?” in the University of Texas Austin Liberal Arts Spring 2017 Magazine Life and Letters