Learning in a Multilingual and Multicultural Business Setting: Polish Expatriates’ Stories of Critical Incidents in China

Michał Wilczewski, Anne-Marie Søderberg, Arkadiusz Gut

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


This qualitative empirical study examines cultural learning of Polish specialists in a Chinese subsidiary of a Western European MNC. Applying narrative inquiry, we explored what and how the expats learned through their collaborations, how they applied the new knowledge to better function in the multicultural and multilingual business context, and how they positioned themselves in relation to cultural others. We found that the expats’ learning was triggered by critical incidents. Interactions with local colleagues and observations of their behaviours allowed the expats to learn about culture-specific approaches to time management, employee management and working styles. Finally, the explicit knowledge acquired through studying served the expats as a framework through which they could interpret their intercultural experiences.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationManaging Multilingual Workplaces : Methodological, Empirical and Pedagogic Perspectives
EditorsSierk Horn, Philippe Lecomte, Susanne Tietze
Number of pages18
Place of PublicationNew York
Publication date2020
ISBN (Print)9781138364790
ISBN (Electronic)9780429431128
Publication statusPublished - 2020
SeriesRoutledge Studies in International Business and the World Economy

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