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Book part
Publication date: 10 August 2016

Àngels Dasí and Torben Pedersen

Language commonality and barriers are often taken as exogenous given variable and independent of the context; however in this chapter we investigate the factors…

Abstract

Language commonality and barriers are often taken as exogenous given variable and independent of the context; however in this chapter we investigate the factors determining perception of language barriers. As such we are responding to the question of when do managers perceive language barriers and which business contexts foster the perception of language barriers and which do not? Language serves different purposes and entails different communicative requirements depending on the context in which it is used. In addition, language has multiple dimensions and we argue that the different dimensions of language vary in their importance depending on the specific context, where the contextual variation in this case is related to the operation mode chosen in the foreign market. More specifically, we argue that language distance (relatedness in language) matters when the firms conduct business abroad through their own employees, while language incidence (accuracy in language) is critical when operating through a local agent. The different use of language implies a need for different language skills. The combination of the operation mode and the availability of people with the needed language skills will affect managers’ perception of language barriers. The hypotheses are tested on a large data set encompassing 390 multinational corporations headquartered in Finland, South Korea, New Zealand, and Sweden that have undertaken a business operation in a foreign country.

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Perspectives on Headquarters-subsidiary Relationships in the Contemporary MNC
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-370-2

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Article
Publication date: 16 February 2021

Virginia Rosales

The use of organizational ethnography has grown significantly during the past decades. While language is an important component of ethnographic research, the challenges…

Abstract

Purpose

The use of organizational ethnography has grown significantly during the past decades. While language is an important component of ethnographic research, the challenges associated with language barriers are rarely discussed in the literature. The purpose of this paper is to open up a discussion on language barriers in organizational ethnography.

Design/methodology/approach

The author draws on her experience as a PhD student doing an organizational ethnography of an emergency department in a country where she initially did not speak the local language.

Findings

The paper examines the author's research process, from access negotiation to presentation of findings, illustrating the language barriers encountered doing an ethnography in parallel to learning the local language in Sweden.

Research limitations/implications

This paper calls for awareness of the influence of the ethnographer's language skills and shows the importance of discussing this in relation to how we teach and learn ethnography, research practice and diversity in academia.

Originality/value

The paper makes three contributions to organizational ethnography. First, it contributes to the insider/outsider debate by nuancing the ethnographer's experience. Second, it answers calls for transparency by presenting a personal ethnographic account. Third, it contributes to developing the methodology by offering tips to deal with language barriers in doing ethnography abroad.

Details

Journal of Organizational Ethnography, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6749

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Article
Publication date: 8 February 2008

Anne‐Wil Harzing and Alan J. Feely

This paper intends to open up the debate on the influence of language on the way multinational companies manage their subsidiary operations.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper intends to open up the debate on the influence of language on the way multinational companies manage their subsidiary operations.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors explain the importance of the field and expose a dearth of prior research. Subsequently, they define the “language barrier” and elaborate on the causes underlying this barrier, drawing on social identity theory.

Findings

The authors we propose an integrative model that consists of two coupled vicious cycles: the communications cycle – composed of the eight aspects of the language barrier – and the management cycle.

Research limitations/implications

This contribution to an otherwise ignored field of business study should be considered only a first step in opening up a new research agenda. Specialists in each of the fields touched upon are invited to make a contribution to the debate.

Practical implications

The management cycle suggests implications of the language barrier for various aspects of the HQ‐subsidiary relationship: strategic decision‐making, organization and personnel selection, global integration strategies, and autonomy and control procedures.

Originality/value

This paper uses socio‐linguistic theory to define and elaborate on the construct of the language barrier, a construct which is believed will be helpful in furthering research on the impact of language‐difference on multinational management.

Details

Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, vol. 15 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-7606

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 1990

J.A. Large

Users can access online and CD‐ROM databases regardless of geographical location. Data communication networks provide relatively cheap links between the user and host…

Abstract

Users can access online and CD‐ROM databases regardless of geographical location. Data communication networks provide relatively cheap links between the user and host computer regardless of distance, and CD‐ROMs can be used to distribute large quantities of data in a small and light physical format. The information as well as the retrieval interface, indexing, documentation, help desks, etc, must all use a natural language, however, with which a user may be unfamiliar. This paper explores the extent to which online use is affected by the foreign‐language barrier and considers how the impact of that barrier might be reduced.

Details

Online Review, vol. 14 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-314X

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Article
Publication date: 10 December 2020

Fahimeh Mianji, Jann Tomaro and Laurence J. Kirmayer

In light of the growing number of refugees and immigrants in Canada, this paper aims to identify barriers to mental health services for newcomer immigrants and refugees in…

Abstract

Purpose

In light of the growing number of refugees and immigrants in Canada, this paper aims to identify barriers to mental health services for newcomer immigrants and refugees in Quebec and to examine how mental health services can be improved for these populations.

Design/methodology/approach

In this qualitative study, semi-structured individual interviews with Farsi-speaking health professionals and focus group interviews with participants from community organizations in Quebec were conducted.

Findings

Participants, both health-care professionals and community members, reported that mental health services are not readily accessible to Farsi-speaking immigrants and refugees. Structural barriers, language barriers, cultural safety and stigma were identified as obstacles to accessing care. Recommended strategies for improving access to mental health care are discussed.

Originality/value

Multiple studies have found that language and cultural barriers are associated with health inequalities and under-utilization of mental health services among linguistic and ethnic minorities. However, there are limited data on many groups and contexts, and a need to better understand how language barriers affect health outcomes, service utilization, patient satisfaction or overall costs to the health system or to society. In response to this gap, the present study explores how access to mental health services for Farsi-speaking newcomers may be limited by structural and linguistic barriers and cultural differences and as well as to identify strategies that can reduce the identified barriers.

Abstrait

Objet

Compte tenu du nombre croissant de réfugiés et d'immigrants au Canada, cette étude vise à identifier les obstacles aux services de santé mentale pour les nouveaux arrivants immigrants et réfugiés au Québec et à examiner comment les services de santé mentale peuvent être améliorés pour ces populations.

Conception/méthodologie/approche

Dans cette étude qualitative, des entretiens individuels semi-structurés avec professionnels de la santé parlant le Farsi et entretiens avec des participants des organisations communautaires au Québec ont été menées.

Résultats

Les participants, tant des professionnels de la santé que des membres de la communauté, ont déclaré que les services de santé mentale sont inaccessibles aux immigrants et réfugiés parlant le Farsi. Obstacles structurels, les barrières linguistiques, la sécurité culturelle et la stigmatisation ont été identifiées comme des obstacles à l'accès aux soins. Les stratégies recommandées pour améliorer l'accès aux soins de santé mentale sont discutées.

Originalité/valeur

De nombreuses études ont montré que les barrières linguistiques et culturelles sont associées à les inégalités en matière de santé et la sous-utilisation des services de santé mentale chez les minorités linguistiques et ethniques. Cependant, les données sont limitées sur de nombreux groupes et contextes, et il est nécessaire de mieux comprendre comment les barrières linguistiques ont une incidence sur les résultats de santé, l'utilisation des services, la satisfaction des patients ou les coûts globaux pour le système de santé ou à la société. En réponse à cet écarte, la présente étude examine comment l'accès aux services de santé mentale pour les nouveaux arrivants parlant le farsi peuvent être limités par des barrières structurelles et linguistiques et des différences culturelles, ainsi que d'identifier les stratégies de réduire les obstacles identifiés.

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Article
Publication date: 1 November 1979

A.J. Dickson

The issue of language as a barrier to the work of librarians in post‐war Britain was pinpointed in the report of the Royal Society's Scientific Information Conference in…

Abstract

The issue of language as a barrier to the work of librarians in post‐war Britain was pinpointed in the report of the Royal Society's Scientific Information Conference in 1948. Concerning the work of information officers, it stated:

Details

Aslib Proceedings, vol. 31 no. 11
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0001-253X

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Book part
Publication date: 10 August 2017

Claudia Chaufan, Mi-Kyung “Miki” Hong and Alicia Fernandez

We explored how clinicians assisting low-income US Latino patients with diabetes and limited English proficiency (LEP) made sense of language-discordant care in the…

Abstract

We explored how clinicians assisting low-income US Latino patients with diabetes and limited English proficiency (LEP) made sense of language-discordant care in the context of the social determination of health.

We interviewed 14 physicians in an urban teaching hospital, recorded and transcribed the interviews, and read transcripts to identify themes and interpret meanings. We used a mixed qualitative approach and drew from the Marxian tradition that illuminates how the dynamic of the clinical encounter tends to reproduce the social order by excluding its critical appraisal.

Participants believed that language barriers undermine the quality of the clinical encounter and diabetes outcomes, were eager to serve disadvantaged patients, and were well schooled in the social determination of health and its role in diabetes inequalities. However, they appeared unable to conceptualize macro-level changes that may achieve greater health equity.

The structure of medical discourse appears to limit the ability of individual clinicians to conceptualize and engage in social change on behalf patients. Recent debates in primary care indicate that this limitation is currently being challenged. Health services for persons with diabetes and limited English proficiency in the United States and elsewhere require significant improvements in interpreter services. At a broader level, clinicians should consider stepping beyond the limited, traditional role of medical/behavioral advisor to engage in political action toward greater social equity, which would result in better health.

Research in the various dimensions of language discordance is largely quantitative thus the need for qualitative studies to inform practice and policy.

Details

Health and Health Care Concerns Among Women and Racial and Ethnic Minorities
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-150-8

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 1972

W.L. Saunders

By one of those coincidences that seem to abound in academic life and are probably not coincidences at all, we have recently found ourselves, quite suddenly, in possession…

Abstract

By one of those coincidences that seem to abound in academic life and are probably not coincidences at all, we have recently found ourselves, quite suddenly, in possession of a very great deal of information about the language barrier and about the information requirements of the social sciences. This is a consequence of two recent publications: the Sheffield report on two years of intensive work on the language barrier in an academic community and Bath University Library's INFROSS report. The former looks at the language barrier from the point of view of all disciplines, including the social sciences; the latter looks at the information requirements and problems of social scientists from a very comprehensive point of view and includes amongst the problems that of the language barrier. The two reports therefore complement one another very well, and in my paper this evening I propose to draw on both of them, in an attempt to look at the language barrier from the social scientist's point of view. I shall normally draw more heavily on the Sheffield report than that of Bath—mainly because it is the one with which I am most familiar—though when I came to look at possible solutions, the Bath findings will certainly carry a good deal of weight, as you will see.

Details

Aslib Proceedings, vol. 24 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0001-253X

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Book part
Publication date: 21 September 2015

Claudia Chaufan, Hegla Fielding, Catherine Chesla and Alicia Fernandez

Professional interpreter use improves care in patients with limited English proficiency (LEP) but inequalities in outcomes remain. We explore the experience of US Latinos…

Abstract

Purpose

Professional interpreter use improves care in patients with limited English proficiency (LEP) but inequalities in outcomes remain. We explore the experience of US Latinos with LEP and diabetes in language discordant care.

Methodology/approach

We conducted in-depth interviews of 20 low-income Latino patients with diabetes and LEP. We interviewed participants in Spanish, digitally recorded and transcribed interviews, and read transcripts to identify themes and interpret meanings using interpretive phenomenology as theoretical framework.

Findings

While patients preferred, and experienced greater trust in, language concordant clinical encounters, they did not believe that language discordance affected outcomes because they felt that these depended largely on their compliance with physicians’ recommendations. Patients also downplayed structural barriers to care and outcomes. Self-blame was paradoxically encouraged by physicians’ praise vis-à-vis favorable outcomes.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations include small and convenience sample and limited generalizability. However, findings illustrate communicational dynamics between patients and clinicians with important implications for health care practice and policy. They support the perception that trust develops best within language concordant care, which underscores the importance of recruiting clinicians with diverse language skills. They highlight the importance of sensitizing clinicians to the social determinants of health, which may be overlooked when treating patients with conditions requiring substantial self-management, like diabetes. Language barriers in health care must be understood in the broader context of structural inequalities in health care. The necessary emphasis on self-management may (inadvertently) strengthen the hegemonic view that places responsibility for diabetes outcomes on patients’ ability to self-manage their condition to the neglect of social/political determinants of diabetes.

Originality/value

Studies have quantitatively examined the effects of language discordant care on diabetes outcomes, yet few have done so qualitatively. To our knowledge, no study has attempted to understand the experience of language discordance from the perspective of LEP patients with diabetes and how this experience may explain observed differences in outcomes.

Details

Education, Social Factors, and Health Beliefs in Health and Health Care Services
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-367-9

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Book part
Publication date: 17 September 2018

Juan G. Rosado

This chapter highlights the social and cultural gaps evidenced when students from a foreign country receive education in a Puerto Rican university. It explores the…

Abstract

This chapter highlights the social and cultural gaps evidenced when students from a foreign country receive education in a Puerto Rican university. It explores the influence and the implications of the Spanish vernacular being used as a language of instruction. The chapter starts with a historical background on English language instruction for Puerto Ricans throughout the last century. This topic is discussed in order to shed light on the consequences of such a polemic subject and to evaluate the implications and the influence it has had in the way Puerto Ricans communicate. The Puerto Rican Spanish vernacular is inherent in the language of instruction used throughout grade school and in Higher Education. As part of the investigation of the effects of the language of instruction, three students were interviewed to form part of this discourse. The motivations they had to study on the island were explored, as well as experiences that highlighted the language and cultural barriers that may or may not have been present in while studying in a Puerto Rican university. Their feelings toward their general experiences with their peers and professors were also explored.

Details

Contexts for Diversity and Gender Identities in Higher Education: International Perspectives on Equity and Inclusion
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-056-7

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