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Article

Walid Hejazi and Juan Ma

The purpose of this paper is to test the merits of the view that the English language has emerged as the dominant language in international business. If there is merit to…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to test the merits of the view that the English language has emerged as the dominant language in international business. If there is merit to this view, then the ability to speak English and its role as a lingua franca in the global economy would imply that countries which have English as an official language should have a benefit over non‐English‐speaking countries vis‐à‐vis their abilities to undertake international business.

Design/methodology/approach

Within an augmented gravity model framework, the importance of the English language in explaining bilateral foreign direct investment (FDI) data within the OECD is tested. In addition to English, all other common official languages within the OECD are also tested. Furthermore, the linguistic distance to English is used to test whether closeness of languages to English enhance international business activity.

Findings

The results indicate that English‐speaking countries within the OECD do have a benefit that comes with the English language. Furthermore, countries whose official languages are linguistically close to English benefit from the special role played by the English language. These results therefore highlight the importance of the English language in deploying multinational strategies, even in countries whose official language is not English.

Research limitations/implications

These results therefore indicate the importance of the English language in international business. As such, having a proficiency with English within any corporation should enhance that corporation's ability to engage in international business.

Originality/value

Sharing a common language with FDI partners enhances the ability to communicate, and hence enhances FDI between the countries. This paper extends this evidence to show that when the common language is English, the common language effect is strongest.

Details

Multinational Business Review, vol. 19 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1525-383X

Keywords

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Article

Anne Kari Bjørge, Alexander Madsen Sandvik and Sunniva Whittaker

The purpose of this paper is to explore how corporate values are interpreted by local and international employees in a multilingual organisation that has opted for the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how corporate values are interpreted by local and international employees in a multilingual organisation that has opted for the local language, not English, as its corporate language.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a research paper exploring how the recontextualisation and resemiotisation of value terms impact on how corporate values are interpreted, employing triangulation of questionnaire and interview results.

Findings

When values are recontextualised in employee discourse, proficiency in the corporate language and cultural background was found to have an impact on their interpretation. Internationals were found to have a broader and not exclusively professional interpretation compared to the locals. Internationals with a low level of proficiency in the local language were more sceptical than the locals as to whether there was a shared understanding of the values.

Research limitations/implications

The questionnaire yielded fewer respondents than the authors expected, which should be taken into account when interpreting the results.

Practical implications

The paper suggests best practices for communicating corporate values to a multilingual workforce.

Social implications

This paper contributes to the understanding of linguistic challenges in the multilingual work contexts.

Originality/value

To the authors’ knowledge, there is little prior in-depth research on how language impacts on employees’ interpretation of corporate values. As values are cohesive devices in organisations, the language used to convey them is worth addressing as the present paper aims to demonstrate.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 22 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

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Article

Nicole Johnston, Helen Partridge and Hilary Hughes

This paper aims to outline research that explores the information literacy experiences of English as a foreign language (EFL) students. The question explored in this…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to outline research that explores the information literacy experiences of English as a foreign language (EFL) students. The question explored in this research was: how do EFL students experience information literacy?

Design/methodology/approach

This study used phenomenography, a relational approach to explore the information literacy experiences of EFL students. Phenomenography studies the qualitatively different ways a phenomenon is experienced in the world around us.

Findings

This research revealed that EFL students experienced information literacy in four qualitatively different ways. The four categories revealed through the data were: process, quality, language and knowledge. This research found that language impacted on EFL students’ experiences of information literacy and revealed that EFL students applied various techniques and strategies when they read, understood, organised and translated information.

Research limitations/implications

This research was conducted in a specific cultural and educational context; therefore, the results might not reflect the experiences of EFL students in other cultural or educational contexts.

Practical implications

The findings from this research offer an important contribution to information literacy practice by providing important insights about EFL students’ experiences and perceptions of information and learning that can be used to inform curriculum development in second language learning contexts.

Originality/value

There is currently a lack of research using a relational approach to investigate EFL students’ experiences of information literacy. There is also limited research that explores the impact language has on information literary and learning in EFL or English as a second language (ESL) contexts.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 42 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

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Article

Ashish Malik and Ralf Bebenroth

This paper aims to identify the role of language in international business context, especially in a post-merger integration (PMI) process, and to develop a framework for…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to identify the role of language in international business context, especially in a post-merger integration (PMI) process, and to develop a framework for language strategies in a PMI context.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on the authors’ review and building on earlier works, this paper develops a conceptual model regarding the use of language in different PMI scenarios and identifies the key resource mix that may be suited for an effective deployment of language strategies.

Findings

The authors find that the use of a language at target firms depends on the degrees of strategic interdependence and organizational autonomy. They classify different constellations of targets in a PMI context and propose the most appropriate language strategies for different classification of PMI firms.

Research limitations/implications

The authors develop five testable future research propositions based on our conceptual model. The paper is not without its limitations. The authors’ propositions need to be tested in future studies. It may be sometimes difficult to collect data based on all the four segments of firms using a quantitative design. It is also challenging to investigate about the language used at the target firms using quantitative designs.

Practical implications

The authors’ model has several practical implications for the managers. Bidder firm’s managers can decide the use of appropriate language depending on their acquisition strategy. It is very likely that target managers have to change the language following the acquisition, and because of this change, influence on their routines will be significant. This issue becomes most important if both firms do not speak the common corporate language – English language. The authors bring ideas for a best fit, which are applicable not just for merger and acquisition but also for other strategic sourcing areas such as outsourcing strategies.

Social implications

There are several negative emotions that are invoked through language. Language is also power laden and affects social structure and group dynamics at work. By addressing the use of appropriate language strategies, people can potentially avoid the dark side of language.

Originality/value

The authors present testable propositions for future research in a PMI context.

Details

Journal of Global Operations and Strategic Sourcing, vol. 11 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-5364

Keywords

Content available
Article

Anna Foster

Language and how it is communicated within organisations is a complex situation. The purpose of this paper is to provide a perspective on the practice of issuing style…

Abstract

Purpose

Language and how it is communicated within organisations is a complex situation. The purpose of this paper is to provide a perspective on the practice of issuing style guides and restrictive word lists as highlighted in the recent media through the case of Leader of the House of Commons, Mr Rees-Mogg.

Design/methodology/approach

A key focus is the question whether the approach of limiting language and guiding communication through such a directive is effective in developing understanding amongst work-based learners and facilitating both consistency and quality of communications. The paper looks to draw upon both educational and psychological perspectives to underpin the discussion of how such an approach has been implemented and the resulting impact upon those working with such rules of guidance.

Findings

Conclusions drawn highlight that professionals learning at work may fail to understand the rationale for why guidelines have been issued to them. Subsequently, the work-based learner may feel othered by the process thus effecting motivation and well-being.

Originality/value

The paper offers a perspective on an approach utilised by a leader within the UK Government, exploring it through the lens of education and English Language development to discuss the potential impact upon employees within the workplace.

Details

Journal of Work-Applied Management, vol. 11 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2205-2062

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Article

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

Palitha Konara and Yingqi Wei

This paper examines the role of language in foreign subsidiary performance.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper examines the role of language in foreign subsidiary performance.

Design/methodology/approach

We develop hypotheses relating to the effects of language difference and its interplay with cultural distance and market size. Considering languages that can be directly used and that can be acquired by MNEs, we employ language variables representing major languages and a population of 60 home and 57 host countries to study the performance of a sample of 1,751 subsidiaries between 2002 and 2013.

Findings

Language difference is found to have a negative impact on subsidiary performance. The positive effects of cultural distance on performance become stronger when the language difference is smaller. The language effects are also more pronounced in small markets.

Practical implications

This study reveals that subsidiary success depends on language difference, and such effects are more pronounced in small markets. The results also suggest that MNEs need to give more attention to bridging language barriers when they invest in culturally distant countries so that they can benefit from the positive effects of cultural distance.

Originality/value

Given that there is no systematic research investigating the role of language in the foreign subsidiary performance of MNEs, we make an important contribution by presenting a quantitative investigation of the language–performance relationship. The novelty of the paper also lies in examining the interplay of language difference with cultural distance and market size.

Details

International Marketing Review, vol. 38 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0265-1335

Keywords

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Article

Rita Marcella and Sylvie Davies

This paper reports the results of case studies of Scottish food and drink exporters which sought to explore the use of customer language in marketing and exporting…

Abstract

This paper reports the results of case studies of Scottish food and drink exporters which sought to explore the use of customer language in marketing and exporting products to France. The findings provide evidence for three levels of language orientation, illustrating differing attitudes to the impact of customer language use, despite consensus that such is good practice and “courteous” in responding to customers. Given the diverse import community, language is more influential in certain contexts and at certain points in the marketing process. Changes in the exporter/importer dynamic may indicate greater need for customer language skills amongst exporters, but this was regarded with mixed feelings by the case study companies. Trends such as the increased demand for product information and the growing reliance on electronic communication had an impact on language of communication, in particular with the shift to processed products. A number of paradigms of Internet usage are identified, with the more proactive companies employing a multi‐level, multilingual approach.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 38 no. 11/12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

Keywords

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Article

Ana Jakic, Maximilian Oskar Wagner and Anton Meyer

Social media encourage interactions between customers and brands. Concerning the cues utilized during social media interactions, verbal cues (i.e. the language used) gain…

Abstract

Purpose

Social media encourage interactions between customers and brands. Concerning the cues utilized during social media interactions, verbal cues (i.e. the language used) gain importance, since non-verbal and paraverbal cues are hard to convey via social media. Looking at interpersonal interactions, interlocutors adopt each other’s language styles or maintain their own language style during interactions to build trust. Transferring these insights to social media, the purpose of this paper is to test the effects of a brand’s language style accommodation in brand-customer interactions on brand trust and on its antecedents.

Design/methodology/approach

Two quantitative pre-studies (n1 (questionnaire)=32, n2 (laboratory experiment)=199), and one quantitative main study (n3 (laboratory experiment)=427) were conducted to determine the effects of a brand’s language style accommodation on brand trust.

Findings

In line with communication accommodation theory, this paper reveals that the impact of a brand’s accommodation strategy on brand trust is mediated by perceived relationship investments, such as perceived interaction effort, benevolence, and quality of interaction. This paper also underscores language style’s roles and its fit, and sheds light on situational factors such as purchase decision involvement and the valence of the content.

Originality/value

This paper is the first to transfer cross-disciplinary theories on interpersonal interactions to brand-customer interactions in social media. Thus, the authors derive the effects of language style accommodation on brand trust as well as further mediating effects.

Details

Journal of Service Management, vol. 28 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-5818

Keywords

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Article

Beverley Costa and Stephen Briggs

Working across languages is playing an increasingly important role in the delivery of mental health services, notably through psychotherapy and psychological therapies…

Abstract

Purpose

Working across languages is playing an increasingly important role in the delivery of mental health services, notably through psychotherapy and psychological therapies. Growing awareness of the complex processes that ensue in working across languages, including the presence and role of an interpreter, is generating new conceptualisations of practice, but there is a need now to evidence how these impact on service users. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper discusses the model for working with interpretation developed by Mothertongue multi-ethnic counselling service, which conceptualises the therapeutic process as working within triangular relationships consisting of service user, therapist and interpreter. Second, the paper discusses the qualitative, practice-near methods applied in, and findings from a pilot study to evaluate the interpreter's role.

Findings

Three patterns of response to interpreters were identified: negative impacts on the therapy, the interpreter as conduit for therapy and the therapist and interpreter jointly demonstrating a shared enterprise. It is concluded that the method and findings of the pilot justify a larger study that will further evaluate the experiences of service users and continue to develop and test conceptualisations for best practice.

Originality/value

Working across languages is now recognised as an increasingly important aspect of therapy in contexts where migration has created new demographics. This paper contributes to the discussion of working therapeutically with people with mental health difficulties across languages. Its originality lies, first, in the discussion of a new clinical approach to working with interpreters, and second in the methods used to access the views of service users about their experiences of interpreters.

Details

International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care, vol. 10 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1747-9894

Keywords

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