10 Reasons Why Corporate Language Policies Can Create More Problems Than They Solve

Guro Refsum Sanden

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


    One of the challenges multinational corporations (MNCs) are faced with, is the question of how to communicate through the language barriers presented by linguistic diversity. An increasing number of companies choose to address these issues through corporate language policies, for example by adopting a common corporate language. Language policies are often seen as a cheap and easy solution to overcome communicative problems, but previous research has demonstrated that there might be several potentially negative consequences associated with them. The purpose of this paper is to shed some light on the role of corporate language policies in international management, and to emphasise the power of language as it reveals itself if language policies are treated without care. The 10 “language policy mistakes” discussed in this paper are; problems at the individual level, problems in regards to collaboration and group dynamics, communicative problems, language policies which leads to reallocation of power, divergence between de facto vs. de jure language policies, language policies which are not aligned with the overall business plan of the company, language management tools which are implemented incautiously, reactive rather than proactive language policies, inadequate language policies due to unawareness, and finally, inadequate language policies due to unresponsiveness.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2014
    Number of pages31
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    EventThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2014: The Power of Words - Philadelphia, United States
    Duration: 1 Aug 20145 Aug 2014
    Conference number: 74


    ConferenceThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2014
    Country/TerritoryUnited States
    Internet address

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