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Aalto University School of Business Master's Theses are now in the Aaltodoc publication archive (Aalto University institutional repository)
School of Business | Department of Marketing and Management | International Business | 2010
Thesis number: 12470
A comparative study of language strategies in international organizations
Author: Ylinen, Anna-Maria
Title: A comparative study of language strategies in international organizations
Year: 2010  Language: eng
Department: Department of Marketing and Management
Academic subject: International Business
Index terms: kansainväliset yhtiöt; international companies; viestintä; communication; yritysviestintä; business communication; kielet; languages; strategia; strategy
Pages: 107
Key terms: international business communication, language, language strategy, language diversity, translation, language competence, corporate languages, international organization, role of language
A comparative study of language strategies in international organizations

Objectives of the study The study focuses on language strategies and their existence among international organizations. The goal is to find out if organizations have a written language strategy at all and if they do, what the language strategy contains. Also, in case a language strategy does not exist, the language practices are researched. After that the strategies and practices are compared. The main research questions is: Do international organizations have written language strategies?

Summary International communication brings many challenges to organizations. In order to manage language diversity, the organizations can create language strategies. These language strategies are formed from different components including language choice, translation and human resource management aspects such as language training and recruitment. The literature review presents these components and that way creates a shape of a language strategy. Empirical data was collected through qualitative research and for the empirical part 77 organizations were contacted by e-mail. In Findings part the language strategies and practices of 41 international organizations are presented.

Findings and conclusions The findings show that written language strategies are rare among international organizations. Instead, most of the organizations have established language practices. These practices are very similar between different organizations whereas the language strategy documents vary a lot. Since the practices are established and they answer to the same questions as language strategies, they could be considered as one type of language strategy.

Keywords International business communication, Language, Language strategy, Language diversity, Translation, Language competence, Corporate languages, International organization, Role of language
Master's theses are stored at Learning Centre in Otaniemi.