Language Strategies in Multinational Corporations: A Cross-sector Study of Financial Service Companies and Manufacturing Companies

Guro Refsum Sanden

    Research output: Book/ReportPhD thesis

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    Situated at the intersection of sociolinguistics and international business and management studies, this PhD project focuses on language management in two different industry sectors, namely the financial service sector and the manufacturing sector. Employing a multiple case study design consisting of two matched pair cases, the study examines the means by which language is managed, i.e. language management tools, in the two financial service companies Nordea and Saxo Bank and the two manufacturing companies Grundfos and ECCO. The contribution of the thesis lies in capturing the effect of industry sectors on corporate language management – a level of analysis which has largely been overlooked in previous research. The findings indicate that industry sectors embody great explanatory power with regard to the selection of language management tools at company level. The financial service companies and the manufacturing companies were found to have three sector-level factors in common, though with somewhat different outcomes. Economic geography increases the use of English for corporate level functions in the two financial service companies owing to the companies’ presence in international financial centres. On the other hand, in the two manufacturing companies, this factor increases the need for multiple corporate languages and translation into the mother tongue spoken by the production workers in the industrial locations where English language skills tend to be scarce. In manufacturing, economic geography was also found to lead to the use of language intermediates as mediums of communication. In all case companies, global integration increases cross-border communication and the use of English for corporate level functions, which also increases selective recruitment of English-skilled employees in both sectors. Industry speak is found to be closely related to company-specific language in all case companies regardless of sector, and technological solutions are implemented in order to manage large term databases in both sectors.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationFrederiksberg
    PublisherCopenhagen Business School [Phd]
    Number of pages406
    ISBN (Print)9788793339248
    ISBN (Electronic)9788793339255
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    SeriesPhD series

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