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Language as a Leading Light to Business Cultural Insight A Study on Expatriates' Intercultural Communication in Central and Eastern Europe

Ljungbo, Kjell, 1962- (author)
Stockholms universitet, Företagsekonomiska institutionen
Stockholms universitet Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten. Företagsekonomiska institutionen. (creator_code:org_t)
ISBN 978-91-7447-101-4
Stockholm : School of Business, Stockholm University, 2010
English 633 s.
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  • Doctoral thesis (other academic)
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  • Language competence is decisively important in international business and could increase efficacy, efficiency, sales and profits. Language is an underresearched area in business studies though language constitutes management and the managers building structures, processes, cultures and personalities being the most vital working tool to get things done and make them understandable. Since 1970 Swedish companies lose market shares globally and in Europe. In an era requiring better foreign language skills there is a declining trend among young Swedish business people and students in other languages than English. The aim of this study is to investigate and analyse the role of language in intercultural business communication between Swedish expatriates and locals in Serbia, The Czech Republic, Ukraine, Romania and Bulgaria and indirectly also Russia and Poland. To understand the business culture in these countries the author has learned the local language in these seven countries taking 3687 private language lessons. This improves the researcher’s understanding of the culture and its people giving directness and depth in communication, independence and receptivity. This ethnographically inspired hermeneutic study holds semi-structured interviews with expatriates. Better language skills among expatriates – particularly in the local language - could make them more self-dependent and win contracts and it strengthens closeness to customers, relationship and trust, strategic view and ability and also operational effectiveness and efficiency enabling their companies to gain market shares. Using Weber’s ideal types the cultural significance structures emerge featuring the cultures in these countries showing that expatriates have to strengthen the ability of the locals in the areas of trust, responsibility and initiative, independent thinking, holistic view, win-win thinking and reduce fear while the expatriates’ own abilities in these areas are strengthened if they speak the local language. Language strategies permitting the expatriate to be more communicatively and linguistically self-dependent are having a common company language, using multilingualism or having the expatriate speak or learn to speak the local language where the advantages, disadvantages and characteristics of these and other aspects of the role of language are given in ideal types.

Subject headings

SAMHÄLLSVETENSKAP  -- Ekonomi och näringsliv -- Företagsekonomi (hsv//swe)
SOCIAL SCIENCES  -- Economics and Business -- Business Administration (hsv//eng)

Keyword

Language
multilingualism
culture
intercultural communication
business
expatriate
Central and Eastern Europe
cultural significance structure
business flower
hermeneutics
ideal type
export
foreign language skills
language competence
Sweden
SOCIAL SCIENCES Business and economics Business studies
SAMHÄLLSVETENSKAP Ekonomi Företagsekonomi
Business Administration
företagsekonomi

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dok (subject category)
vet (subject category)

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