Language in International Business

Language in International Business

The Multilingual Reality of Global Business Expansion

Rebecca Piekkari, Denice E. Welch and Lawrence S. Welch

Language matters in international business and global business expansion inevitably mean encountering challenges of communication, language and translation. This book presents a thorough and rigorous analysis of language related to all aspects of global business – international management, networks, HRM, international marketing, strategy and foreign operations modes.

Chapter 7: Language and international marketing

Rebecca Piekkari, Denice E. Welch and Lawrence S. Welch

Subjects: business and management, international business, strategic management


In the book so far, we have concentrated on the role of language within the internationalizing firm. The focus has been on internal interactions between headquarters and the various subsidiary units, teams and individuals. We now turn our attention to the role of language in connections between internal organizational members and external parties. Obviously, marketing, or more specifically international marketing, is at the forefront of an internationalizing firm’s interactions with foreign institutions, groups and individuals, involving communication with customers, intermediaries, government agencies and the like. How the organization handles these external interactions will have a critical impact on its ability to penetrate foreign markets. The importance of language considerations for international marketing effectiveness is confirmed in a wide range of studies, some of which we identify in this chapter. Earlier chapters of this book have shown the myriad ways in which language effects play out in different communication forms, within and between organizations and individuals, potentially altering, distorting, filtering or blocking messages.

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