« Commun’action ou commun’entente » ? Un défi linguistique pour les entreprises

Geneviève Tréguer-Felten, Common action or common agreement ? Linguistic challenges in companies. Synergies Italie, 9/2013 p. 47-58.
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Using examples of emails collected in various multinationals, this article starts with a depiction of the most common communicative situation in organizations, when English as a lingua franca prevails over local languages, entailing poor communication and slowing or hindering action because different native language speakers fail to understand fully what their counterparts mean. The second section reports on the steps taken in some multinationals to compensate the deficiencies engendered by such monolingual communication: such as providing clear guidelines on the linguistic abilities required for each position, developing in-house cultural and linguistic trainings, or granting preference to fluent speakers of foreign languages over monolinguals when hiring personnel supposed to work in transnational teams. It concludes on the recent awakening among scholars, politicians and businessmen to the necessity to develop Europeans’ linguistic abilities and cultural awareness.

You can also be interested in reading :

Gunnarsson, B.-L., 2006. « Swedish Companies and their Multilingual Practices ». In : Intercultural and International Business Communication. Bern: Peter Lang, p. 243-263.

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