Language Policies and Communication in Multinational Companies: Alignment With Strategic Orientation and Human Resource Management Practices


Journal of Business Communication

April 2010, vol. 47, n°2, pp.97-118

Departments: Management & Human Resources

Keywords: Communication, Human resource management, Strategy, Language policy, Social identity theory

This article focuses on the degree of alignment among multinational company (MNC) strategic orientation, human resource management (HRM) practices, and language policies. On the one hand, the authors propose that the coherent, tight alignment among the HRM practices, language policies, and MNC strategic orientation, in terms of ethnocentricity, polycentricity, or geocentricity, is beneficial. On the other hand, they use international business research on language in MNCs to illustrate that what is good in theory is often more difficult in practice. For example, HRM practices and language policies in foreign subsidiaries may not be tightly aligned with the corporate-level activities, and some hybridization tends to occur, for example, because of contextual reasons in host countries. Key Words: communication ' human resource management ' strategy ' language policy ' social identity theory