Language in International Business
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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.
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Chapter 3: Confronting language: the individual in the organizational context

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


In Chapter 1, we considered how language emerges as an issue for internationalizing firms. How this happens should not be expected to be consistent across all firms. National language, as we show through the use of hypothetical language paths, can influence how, where and at what stage firms confront the language issue. Once firms reach a substantial level and spread of international operations, however, it becomes more challenging to deal with language. In the following chapters, we will consider how management and individuals cope. We begin with a key managerial concern: how to maintain control, direction and coordination as the firm grows across borders, gathering languages as a consequence. We then consider how individual employees respond to the way in which management attempts to ‘handle’ the language challenge, particularly the imposition of a common corporate language (CCL).

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