This study questions the conventional view of the indirectness of Chinese communication. Drawing on qualitative interviews with Finnish and Chinese business professionals, the authors examine the effect of cultural identity on the directness of the communication of Chinese professionals who work for internationally operating Finnish companies located in Beijing and Shanghai, China, and who use English as the shared language with their Finnish colleagues. Three components of cultural identity (i.e., vocation as an international business professional, fairly young age, and the use of English as the business lingua franca) are particularly relevant in the participants’ professional communication and stimulated its openness and directness. The study finds that the evolution of English as the business lingua franca can be detected in the signs of convergence identified in Chinese and Finnish professional communication.
- international professional communication
- English as the business lingua franca (BELF)
- Chinese communication
- Cultural Identity