Embrace it or Resist it? Employees' Reception of Corporate Language Policies

Dorte Lønsmann

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    Corporate language policies and particularly the use of English as a corporate language have been studied in MNCs for almost two decades now. Despite these volumes of research, very little has been written about the implementation of new language policies. Few studies have examined resistance to or the process of implementing a corporate language, and even fewer have investigated the employee perspective empirically. The present study uses observational and focus group data to investigate reactions to a new corporate language policy in one Danish MNC. The study draws on sociolinguistic stancetaking theory and ethnographic methods and seeks to understand what contextual factors influence employees’ stances towards the introduction of English as a corporate language. English language competence, the local linguistic context and different temporal perspectives are found to be key factors. The paper aims to bring the fields of language in international business and linguistic anthropology together in a study of the barriers experienced in companies implementing a new language policy. The paper contributes to the field of language in international business by exploring when and why corporate language policies encounter resistance. As such the results will shed light on the implementation phase of language policy-making.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2015
    Number of pages18
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    Event9th International GEM&L Workshop: Language in Global Management and Business: Theoretical, Methodological and Empirical Advances - Aalto University, School of Business, Helsinki, Finland
    Duration: 10 Jun 201512 Jun 2015
    Conference number: 9


    Workshop9th International GEM&L Workshop
    LocationAalto University, School of Business
    Internet address

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