The starting point of this thesis was that diplomats abroad must interact effectively with people who have different values, behavioural norms and ways of perceiving reality, otherwise their contact with the culture and the people from the new culture will be a negative and inefficient one. My basic idea was that in the case of diplomacy we can speak about an overlap with diplomats belonging to two cultures. The most international management literature frames intercultural differences as areas of conflict. Cultural misunderstandings are often experienced as conflicts, and the conflicts are seen as threats. In diplomatic relations, threats and conflicts can lead to war. Since cultural misunderstandings and conflicts are considered as problems to be avoided, if diplomats abroad have the necessary skills and knowledge their task will be much easier. I explore the concept of intercultural communication competence in diplomacy. My intention is to prove that the communication process in diplomacy is of a special nature and a lot of its aspects are unique in this field, precisely because they are international and a generally valid solution cannot be found. This field was not of so much interest and this can partially explain the many cases of miscommunication, misunderstanding and misperception in diplomacy. The consequences could be major for the diplomat as person and for the country he represents. One of my goals is to explain what the communication problems in diplomacy and negotiations are when people with different cultural backgrounds encounter each other. The structure of the thesis includes introduction, methodology, six chapters, conclusions, bibliography, transcript of the 26 interviews and annexes. Chapter 1 gives the definition and etymology of the word 'diplomacy' and presents briefly the history of diplomacy (based on Nicolson - 1954, Callieres - 1919, Martens - 1832, 1851). The need for and the advantages of diplomatic dialogue are other topics included in this chapter, with references to the need for peace and dialogue in the entire world. Chapter 2 introduces the organization process of work in the diplomatic field, presenting the actors in diplomatic dialogue. The tasks and functions of a diplomat are also outlined here, although only in relation to diplomats abroad and not to ones working in their home country. The main source of information here was the homepages of various ministries of foreign affairs. The qualities of a diplomat as relating to his work abroad are presented in this chapter, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of such a profession. In Chapter 3 the situation of the diplomat abroad is examined from different angles, particularly the question as to whether he is a professional stranger.
The approach is sociological, based on the theories of Simmel - 1992, Schutz - 1972, 1976 and Stonequist - 1961. The second question covered in this chapter is whether the diplomat abroad fulfills the condition of being a cosmopolitan and to what extent is he a citizen of the global village. For the part concerning globalization and cosmopolitanism the main theories are the one of Hannerz - 1996 and Merton - 1968. Chapter 4 investigates the diplomatic negotiations and the importance of negotiations in the international arena. The chapter is mainly based on some theories proposed by Ury, Fisher and Patton - 1991. Negotiation styles and emotions are also mentioned in this chapter. Chapter 5 elaborates a model of communication in diplomatic relations which does not only see it as an act or process but also as an art. I explore the communication patterns in Egypt, Thailand and the USA, where the research for this thesis was conducted. Because the different theories of communication are not so easily applicable to international relations, I chose Berger and Calabrese's theory - 1975, as the most appropriate theory of communication. Chapter 6, the last one, is also the longest one. This is because I see the diplomat abroad as a bridge between cultural gaps. In this context, some definitions of culture are necessary, as well as for intercultural conflict. I use the theory of DeVito - 2003 to explain aspects that make cultures different. I will present different theories for adaptation (based on Kim - 1988, 1991, Verluyten - 2005 and Douglas - 2003) and for culture shock (based on Furnham - 1988 and Gudykunst - 1988, 1990). The face threatening process is explained through the theory of Ting-Toomey - 1990, 1991. The transcripts of all 26 interviews follow after the conclusion (although each chapter has its own conclusions). For a better understanding of the importance of the topic, I also included a series of articles from the mass media in the appendix, in which cases of positive or negative intercultural communication in the diplomatic field are presented.