Since English has become the language for international communication, it is widely used as a useful lingua franca by business people for communicative purposes. Apart from being proficient in this language, business people who would like to become successful in their career need to have knowledge about cross-cultural pragmatic awareness, especially speech acts of complaints and complaint responses when communicating with their colleagues or counterparts in English. Lack of this awareness may affect communication in their workplaces, resulting in misunderstandings, confusion or even conflicts. Theoretically, business people can opt for different strategies to express their complaints and complaint responses at work. These strategy choices are considered important factors which may lead to or avoid communication breakdown. This article reports on the theoretical background elements of a larger research project which was designed to raise English language cross-cultural pragmatic awareness among Thai business officers by analyzing their speech acts of complaints and complaint responses. A number of 100 business officers in a leading public company in Thailand were taken as a sample group. Data were collected through the Discourse Completion Tasks (DCT) in the form of online questionnaires using the Google form application. The paper starts with a discussion of business communication, speech acts of complaints, speech acts of complaint responses, and gender differences in the use of complaint and complaint response strategies. It ends with a brief review of some related studies.
Business English, complaints, complaint responses, pragmatic strategies, speech acts