Browsing by Subject "language"

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  • Piekkari, Rebecca; Vaara, Eero; Tienari, Janne; Sdntti, Risto (Int. J. of Human Resource Management 16:3 March 2005 330-344, 2005-03)
    The primary purpose of introducing a common corporate language in crossborder mergers is to integrate two previously separate organizations and facilitate communication. However, the present case study of a cross-border merger between two Nordic banks shows that the common corporate language decision may have disintegrating effects, particularly at organizational levels below top management. We identify such effects on performance appraisal, language training and management development, career paths, promotion and key personnel. Our findings show that top management needs to work through the consequences of the language decision upon those who are expected to make such a decision work.
  • Peltokorpi, Vesa (Hanken School of Economics, 2014-01-16)
    This paper focuses on the multi-faceted role of language and language-sensitive recruitment processes in knowledge transfer in multinational corporations (MNCs). In particular, we develop a framework that helps to better understand how language-sensitive recruitment is related to competence, networks, identity and power. We started by conducting a qualitative interview-based study of 101 MNC subsidiaries. This analysis elucidates the productive and counterproductive effects of language-sensitive recruitment on knowledge transfer related to communication competence, networks, identity, and power. To further understanding of the productive and counterproductive effects, we conducted a quantitative study in 285 MNC subsidiaries. We found an inverted U-shaped relationship between language-sensitive recruitment and knowledge transfer. Together, these two studies provide a better understanding of the multifaceted and at times counterintuitive implications of language-sensitive recruitment on knowledge transfer in MNCs. By elucidating these effects, this paper contributes to the stream of research examining the role of language in MNCs and international business more generally. It also adds to research on MNC knowledge transfer that to date has focused little attention on language. By elaborating on the potential unintended consequences of language-sensitive recruitment, this paper also has implications on international human resource management research.
  • Zhang, Ling Eleanor (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2015-08-11)
    “I wanted to be Chinese, once…I wanted China to be the place where I made a career and lived my life. I won’t be rushing back either. I have fallen out of love, woken from my China Dream.” “China has been a familiar destination for multinational corporations over the last few decades, but surprisingly it still remains one of the most challenging destinations for expatriates”, says Ling Eleanor Zhang, who will defend her doctoral thesis on the subject. Yet, according to Zhang, underneath the seemingly high expatriation failure rate exists an ever more routine reality of contemporary working life. A growing number of sojourners, from expatriates sent by headquarters, to self-initiated expatriates, to expatriate entrepreneurs, are now, for various reasons, becoming caught up in China. They experience a dizzying array of processes collectively labelled cross-cultural adjustment, acculturation or biculturalism. Based on comprehensive fieldwork, Zhang seeks to uncover the working and living realities of expatriates in China from a language and culture perspective. In her doctoral thesis, Zhang also presents the multifaceted linguistic challenges faced by expatriates from both their own perspective, as well as that of the host country employees. She further provides a contextual account of expatriate host country language proficiency on cross-cultural adjustment, and inductively builds an analytical framework for analysing why and how host country language matters. “Nordic expatriates, who are currently working and living in China, have different types of cultural identity, i.e. marginal bicultural identity, cosmopolitan identity, transitional identity, and monocultural identity”, says Zhang. “Factors such as organisational context, expatriates’ attitudes towards the host country language, as well as their network orientations, have influenced expatriates’ identification with home, host and a third culture”, she continues. The findings also reveal a number of strategies expatriates adopt in order to cope with the uncertainty and ambiguity, such as holding on to physical proof of groundedness, believing in individuality, realistically evaluating and accepting the marginality, and allowing for a certain degree of fluidity regarding one’s cultural identity.
  • Tienari, Janne (2019-10-22)
    Autoethnography is about studying a community through the author’s personal experience. I offer my autoethnography of moving from a Finnish-speaking business school to a Swedish-speaking one in Helsinki, Finland. This is my story as a Finnish speaker who works in English, develops a sense of lack and guilt for not contributing in Swedish, and enacts an identity of an outsider in his community. My ambivalent identity work as a privileged yet increasingly anxious white male professor elucidates connections between identity, language, and power, and it may enable me to see glimpses of what those who are truly marginalized and excluded experience. I argue that academic identity is based on language, and once that foundation is shaken, it can trigger self-reflection that helps to show how language is inevitably tied in with complex power relations in organizations. I offer my story as an invitation to discuss how we learn to deal with the complexity of identity work and language. My story lays bare how autoethnographies by the privileged, too, can be useful if they show the vulnerability we all experience in contemporary universities.
  • Jalonen, Kari; Schildt, Henri; Vaara, Eero (2018-09-18)
    Research Summary: The purpose of this article is to illuminate the role of concepts in strategic sensemaking. Based on a longitudinal real-time study of a city organization, we demonstrate how the concept of “self-responsibility” played a crucial role in strategic sensemaking. We develop a theoretical model that elucidates how strategic concepts are used in meaning-making, and how such concepts may be mobilized for the legitimation of strategic change. Our main contribution is to offer strategic concepts as a missing micro-level component of the language-based view of strategic processes and practices. By so doing, our analysis also adds to studies on strategic ambiguity and advances research on vocabularies.  Managerial Summary: Our analysis helps to understand the role of strategic concepts, that is, specific words or phrases with established and at least partly shared meanings, in an organization's strategy process. We show how adopting the concept “self-responsibility” helped managers in a city organization to make sense of environmental challenges and to promote change. Our analysis highlights how such concepts involve ambiguity that can help managers to establish common ground, but can also hinder implementation of specific decisions and actions if it grows over time. We suggest that under environmental changes, development of new strategic concepts may be crucial in helping managers to collectively deal with environmental changes and to articulate a new strategic direction for the organization.