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School of Business | Department of Management and International Business | International Business | 2011
Thesis number: 12604
International organizations in the linguistic context of quebec
Author: Sulonen, Julia
Title: International organizations in the linguistic context of quebec
Year: 2011  Language: eng
Department: Department of Management and International Business
Academic subject: International Business
Index terms: kansainväliset yhtiöt; international companies; yritysviestintä; business communication; kielet; languages; strategia; strategy; lainsäädäntö; legislation; Kanada; Canada
Pages: 114
Full text:
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Key terms: Language, language strategy, language laws, bilingualism, corporate language, role of language, context, institutions, regulations
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY This study sets out to investigate the linguistic context of the province of Quebec (Canada) from three angles. Firstly, it examines what components context can be seen to compose of. Secondly, the channels through which these components can influence international companies are explored. The third research goal is to analyze the resulting effects on international organizations’ operations in this context.

DATA The main data source used is qualitative interviews, which were held with companies (3), a university business faculty, and an institutional body. Secondary data from websites and company and governmental publications along with some personal observations are used to complement the interview data.

FRAMEWORK The political-historic context and institutions are distinguished as key components of the Quebecer context. Institutions are further divided as follows: the cultural-cognitive context (influencing organizations through attitudes and mentalities), the normative context (influencing through norms and values), and the regulatory context (influencing through laws and regulations).

FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS Findings suggest that the political-historic backdrop, involving the longstanding oppression of Francophone rights, has shaped the unique linguistic context of Quebec markedly. In institutions, the cultural-cognitive and normative contexts comprise of i.a. the protective attitudes towards French against the threat of English. The regulatory context is shown to set linguistic limitations to international organizations in the province: the law prohibits the use any other official language than French and demands its dominant position in operations. Having a language strategy in Quebec is therefore challenging. Regardless of the increasing need for proficiency in English, the strict regulations lag behind, restricting international operations and consuming resources. This is perceived by organizations as an entry barrier and a potential reason to move business elsewhere. The mission of the governmental body implementing the language law has not been adjusted to the internationalizing marketplace and is therefore deemed somewhat obsolete. International organizations are faced with linguistic duality; the contradicting demands of the local law and the requirement to conduct global business operations in English. The strength of this duality depends on the organization’s strategic orientation: for those employing local adaptation conformation comes rather naturally, whereas a globally integrated approach is in conflict with the law. The key contributions of this study are the novel, multi-perspective approach combining historical/contemporary, national/provincial, and organizational/institutional angles, and the evaluation of bilingualism in an organizational context, which has remained scarce to date.
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