Sprog i den globale virksomhed: Et studie af “language management” og det individuelle sprogvalg i en global virksomhed i Danmark

Line Lenander Ægidius

Student thesis: Master thesis


The objective of this master thesis is to investigate how a global energy company in Denmark manages the language diversity within the company and how the employees choose to use foreign language in their daily communication with international colleagues. Through this case study, the thesis will try to illustrate how a Danish global company copes with the internal language diversity and show which factors influence the employees’ choice of foreign language use. Thus, the focus of the thesis is the relationship between the corporate language management and the actual foreign language use in the company. Although recent studies within international management have stressed the importance and influence of language on the communication processes between headquarters and subsidiaries of multinational companies, little is know about how Danish multinational companies actually handle the use of language within the company and which factors influences the daily language choice and language use of the employees. In order to cope with the growing language diversity, a very common strategy among multinational companies is to implement English as their corporate language. However, my hypothesis is that the mere implementation of a single corporate language will not necessarily influence the daily language choice of the employees. The data analysis of the thesis is conducted according to Bernard Spolsky’s theoretical model about language policy, which consists of the three interrelated but separately definable components: language practices, language beliefs and language management. By analyzing these three components it is possible to gain knowledge about how exactly language and language use is regulated in a social context that is a global company. The results of the analysis show that the implementation of English as the common corporate language in order to manage the diverse language use in my case company does not seem to have a significant influence on the choices and uses of foreign languages by the employees. However, it seems that the personal factors and values the employees attach to the use of foreign languages have much more influence on their language choice that the implementation of English as the corporate language. The thesis then emphasizes the importance of taking into account the actual foreign language use within the company as well as the factors that influences the personal language choice when considering language management strategies in a global company.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2013
Number of pages146