We argue that the concepts "rules" and "relationships" are heavily affected by mindsets related to language and culture. Western societies base laws and enforcement on the assumption on transparent, universal rules, whereas East Asian societies rely more on relationship-based governance. Interviews with 58 employees from a global construction company spanning Scandinavia, Germany, and China show how evoking authority under uncertainty may exacerbate rather than solve failing co-operation.

Knowledge transfer and innovation are crucial to business operations and cross-cultural management must find workable solutions. "Cultural ambassadors" are working on both sides to co-ordinate communication and establish relationships.

Arnulf, Jan Ketil and Henning Kristoffersen. 2014. "Rules, language and identity: In cross-national companies by evoking authority may not work as intended". Journal of Leadership, Accountability and Ethics, 11(1): 111-130.

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