Online from: 1994
Subject Area: International Business
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|Title:||The language barrier and its implications for HQ-subsidiary relationships|
|Author(s):||Anne-Wil Harzing, (Faculty of Economics and Commerce, Department of Management, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia), Alan J. Feely, (Birmingham Business School, University House, Birmingham, UK)|
|Citation:||Anne-Wil Harzing, Alan J. Feely, (2008) "The language barrier and its implications for HQ-subsidiary relationships", Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, Vol. 15 Iss: 1, pp.49 - 61|
|Keywords:||Business environment, Communication, Multinational companies|
|Article type:||Conceptual paper|
|DOI:||10.1108/13527600810848827 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
Purpose – This paper intends to open up the debate on the influence of language on the way multinational companies manage their subsidiary operations.
Design/methodology/approach – The authors explain the importance of the field and expose a dearth of prior research. Subsequently, they define the “language barrier” and elaborate on the causes underlying this barrier, drawing on social identity theory.
Findings – The authors we propose an integrative model that consists of two coupled vicious cycles: the communications cycle – composed of the eight aspects of the language barrier – and the management cycle.
Research limitations/implications – This contribution to an otherwise ignored field of business study should be considered only a first step in opening up a new research agenda. Specialists in each of the fields touched upon are invited to make a contribution to the debate.
Practical implications – The management cycle suggests implications of the language barrier for various aspects of the HQ-subsidiary relationship: strategic decision-making, organization and personnel selection, global integration strategies, and autonomy and control procedures.
Originality/value – This paper uses socio-linguistic theory to define and elaborate on the construct of the language barrier, a construct which is believed will be helpful in furthering research on the impact of language-difference on multinational management.
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