University of Jyväskylä

Dissertation: 12.1.2018 M.A. Santa Stopniece (Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Intercultural Communication)

Start date: Jan 12, 2018 12:00 PM

End date: Jan 12, 2018 03:00 PM

Location: Seminaarinmäki, S212

M.A. Santa Stopniece defends her doctoral dissertation in Intercultural Communication ”Finnish-Chinese intercultural negotiation: power positioning and search for common ground”. Opponent Professor Tony Fang (Stockholm University) and custos Senior Lecturer Marko Siitonen (University of Jyväskylä). The doctoral dissertation is held in English.

Santa StopnieceM.A. Santa Stopniece defends her doctoral dissertation in Intercultural Communication ”Finnish-Chinese intercultural negotiation: power positioning and search for common ground”. Opponent Professor Tony Fang (Stockholm University) and custos Senior Lecturer Marko Siitonen (University of Jyväskylä). The doctoral dissertation is held in English. 

Santa Stopniece investigates communication between Finns as sellers of investment opportunities and products and Chinese as investors, buyers, and partners. The study addresses several relevant topics for those working in co-operation with China – firstly, adjustment to the Chinese, where as topical areas were seen differences in time concept, directness, and hierarchy. In search for common ground, presenting own areas of expertise, utilizing pragmatism and practicality as joint element between both working cultures, and investing in building relationships were seen as helpful.

Guest-host positioning during delegation visits involves seeing China as a rising superpower, but in some situations, also still as a developing country. Humour in negotiation can be simultaneously simple and complex area where sensitivity of Chinese ‘face’ was regarded as important factor.

Summarizing results of dissertation articles, five styles of response regarding power and common ground were found to correspond to phases of Chinese five elements theory (Wu Xing) – pressure/hedging (fire), adjustment (soil), existing common ground (metal), autonomy (water), and soft power (tree). Finnish representatives tended to rely on active responses such as adjustment and pressure/hedging, while Chinese representatives more often resorted to a stance of autonomy. A possible explanation is that Finns are driven to have actual co-operation and results, while the Chinese partners currently seem to be in a position just to explore and choose between various partners around the world. The five-fold model serves well to understand the dynamic context of investment attraction and working styles nowadays, where place is no longer as fixed due to intensive travel, and it involves multiple partners in the short term around a variety of topics and possible targets of co-operation. That may explain the need for more ‘self-focus’ and autonomy, limited adjustment culturally, as well as comparatively fragmentary nature of these encounters.

More information:

Santa Stopniece,, +37128684352
Communications Manager Liisa Harjula, 040 805 4403,

Santa Stopniece is originally from Latvia where she obtained Bachelor’s degree in PR and worked as a project manager at Aluksne city government. She continued her education at University of Turku, graduating with a Master’s degree in Baltic Sea Region studies and a minor in East Asia studies, and worked for Risicum Capital Oy. Currently, she is a PhD Candidate of Intercultural Communication at the University of Jyväskylä and based in Suzhou, China where she is a part time lecturer at International Business School Suzhou of Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University. 

The dissertation is published in the series Jyväskylä Studies in Humanities, number 337, 198 p., Jyväskylä 2017, ISSN: 1459-4323, ISBN: 978-951-39-7274-5. It is available at the University Library’s Publications Unit, tel. +358 (0)40 805 3825, Permanent link to the study:

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