Shifting the faultlines of language: A quantitative functional-level exploration of language use in MNC subsidiaries

Barner-Rasmussen, Wilhelm; Aarnio, Christoffer
July 2011
Journal of World Business;Jul2011, Vol. 46 Issue 3, p288
Academic Journal
Abstract: The body of case study-based research on language in multinational corporations (MNCs) is growing, but its findings have as yet been subjected to limited statistical validation. In this paper we use quantitative functional-level data to chart language use in subsidiaries’ communication with other MNC units and local partner firms, and to analyze some consequences of these patterns against the background of previous qualitative work in the area. Our findings confirm that MNCs are indeed multilingual, but that language fluency varies significantly across functions and organizational levels. This has important implications for communication, knowledge sharing and the viability of formal language strategies.


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