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The purpose of this paper is to reframe the role and function of perceived “bad English” in an international business (IB) context to illustrate that “bad English” could…
The purpose of this paper is to reframe the role and function of perceived “bad English” in an international business (IB) context to illustrate that “bad English” could in fact facilitate cross-cultural communication in individuals who do not have English as first language.
This study uses the Bakhtinian concept of heteroglossia as a theoretical framework. For the method of analysis, applied linguistics is used in particular through the lens of systemic functional linguistics (SFL) as discourse analysis method to analyze transcribed interview texts. Data collection is via long interviews with 33 top level managers in Swedish managed organizations in Singapore offices.
The study illustrates, through respondent interviews and discourse analysis, that perceived “bad English” could help facilitate communication across cultures in a cross-cultural working context. The study also shows how different individuals, depending on personal experience and cultural background, employ different means to navigate and manage language differences at work.
The findings confirm a Baktinian perspective of language as a heteroglot, where individual identities and understanding of context at work including work behavior are an amalgamation of collected experiences. While many individuals who do not have English as mother tongue might feel embarrassed by their poor English, this study shows that there are many Englishes existing in different working contexts. This study has a limited sample of respondents, pertaining to Swedish and Singaporean top managers in Swedish managed organizations in Singapore.
This study could be useful for multinational corporations that are interested in strategically managing their corporate language policies, taking into account cognitive differences or cultural identities in different offices worldwide.
At a social level, Bakhtin’s language as a heteroglot brings to awareness that at any one time, while individuals are drawn to identify with their dominant (national) culture and language, in effect, with increased contact with other cultures in working environments, both language and cultural identities shift and evolve with the workplace.
This study contributes to the growing language in IB research. The novelty in this study is the employment of a Bakhtinian perspective and specifically the employment of SFL as a method of data analysis.
This study seeks to investigate how a more lateral style of working, such as the Swedish model of management that reflects a more linear manner of managing organizational…
This study seeks to investigate how a more lateral style of working, such as the Swedish model of management that reflects a more linear manner of managing organizational knowledge, is carried over and transferred to Swedish managed organizations in Singapore.
A total of 33 top‐level managers (23 Scandinavians and ten Asians) who worked in Swedish managed organizations in Singapore were interviewed for this study. It was necessary that the respondents were in top‐level management positions, the assumption being that it was their decisions and actions that steered the organization to its goals. The respondents were selected randomly and came from a variety of industry backgrounds.
The Swedish style of handling information and knowledge within the organization has proven more open, flexible and accessible than Singaporeans might initially expect or understand. This cultural difference of who gains access to timely information and who should use that information to make decisions, for example, first met with a lack of understanding and even inaction on the part of the Singaporeans and active measures are needed such as re‐structuring the organization or a constant communicative strategy by the Swedes to first make a change in direction in organization behaviour. This means that the organizations in this study, in keeping a high standard of employee satisfaction, get to retain, harvest and profit from their organization's knowledge base while enjoying a low turnover rate in human capital.
This study aims to take a complementary approach of exploring the Swedish management style via discourse analysis, with the transcribed long interview data sorted with the coding procedures adapted from grounded theory.