A number of studies have discussed about
language diversity and its positive and negative aspects in international
business. The research has focused mainly on the individual-level of the
employees’ perspectives. Henderson (2005) analyzes language diversity
demonstrating how it functions in interactions between members of international
management teams in MNCs. Throughout the article, Henderson describes how
language diversity is often associated negatively in international teams;
however, if managed effectively it can be a positive factor in team building
and group cohesion. She examines how does language diversity both hinder and
facilitate socialization. Lauring and Selmer (2012) examine the relation
between the management of common language and a positive diversity environment.
With the results, they were able to show that there are positive aspects and
openness to diversity in multicultural organizations. The positive aspects of
language diversity of having a diverse environment in international business
leads to more openness and English management communication are positively
associated with openness to linguistic diversity.
and Thomas (2001) examine cultural diversity in the workplace, the effects,
processes, and outcomes. They propose reasons to why an organization should
encourage cultural diversity, which can be directly related to language
diversity as a resource for learning and can be used to gain access to new
markets internationally. Likewise, Shore et al (2009) examine the dimensions of
diversity to describe common themes across them and the outcomes as well.
Although they examine all six dimensions of diversity including race, gender,
age, disability, sexual orientation, and national origins, the main focus was
on cultural diversity that can be directed related to language diversity.
Many studies have researched about English as a common
language and if its impact in international business are positive or negative,
or both. Seidlhofer (2005) describes the term ‘ELF’, English as a lingua franca
and its international use and effects. English is a widely used language around
the world and mostly by non-native English speakers themselves. Understanding
the term ‘English as a lingua franca’, allows the opportunity to explore the
positive aspects of using English in the workplace.
effectively between employees is usually a challenge in international business.
Feely and Harzing (2003) discuss about the language barriers that exist within
multinational companies and what is the best way to manage communications
across them. Feely and Harzing provide options for managing language barriers
and for MNCs to formulate their language strategies. These options could also
be used for recommendations for managers and employees in international
positions to communicate more effectively. They describe their options to be
using a lingua franca, external language resources, training, adopting a
corporate language, language nodes, and so on. Harzing,
Köster, and Magner (2011) similarly provide an analysis of language barriers
and its solutions. With the solutions they provide could be used as ways to
communicate more effectively in international positions as well. Some solutions
they provided were informal day-to-day changes in communication patterns, build
redundancy in the communication exchange, language training and more.