Research for agricultural development is often conducted by research teams from developing and developed countries. Blending cultures and c'ontexts in teams influences communication effectiveness, intercultural relations and research outcomes. This study investigated these issues for agricultural research teams operating in Lao Peoples Democratic Republic (PDR), using qualitatively analysed interviews with Australian and Lao researchers applying grounded theory. While mutual trust and respect were salient barriers for Australian researchers, language and cultural differences were most important for Lao researchers, particularly in complex communications. This research establishes a holistic understanding of communication barriers (and relationships between them) within groups experiencing wide disparity.