Local Intermediaries and their Organisational Identification in a French Subsidiary

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The paper explores identification processes among subsidiary
employees who function as intermediaries between the subsidiary and
headquarters thanks to their competencies in the common corporate language.
The study is based on a qualitative in-depth case study and adopts a social
constructionist approach to identification. The paper adds theoretically
to the literature on languages in international business in three ways. First, it
illustrates that fulfilling a role as local intermediary affects identification
processes among subsidiary employees. Second, the paper shows that the
literature on organisational identification contributes in conceptualising local
intermediaries’ motivation for identification in terms of self-enhancement and
sense-making. Third, the empirical analysis indicates that feelings of selfesteem
and sense-making may derive from symbolic resources for constructing
workplace-related identities that prevail within the societal context of the
subsidiary. In terms of managerial relevance, the study shows the importance
of identifying the subsidiary employees that fulfil roles as local intermediaries
in order to recognise their efforts and to foster organisational identification.
When doing so, it might be relevant to consider prevailing symbolic resources
in the local context, rather than the language.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of International Management
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)88-110
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Published online 29 October 2018


  • Subsidiary employees
  • Language intermediaries
  • Organisational identification
  • Profession
  • Corporate values and procedures
  • Culture
  • Qualitative study
  • France

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