Participation and performance in international business meetings
journal contributionposted on 24.10.2012, 08:57 by Pamela Rogerson-Revell
With the continuing globalisation of markets and internationalisation of trade, professionals from a wide range of organisations, from large multinational corporations to small to medium size enterprises, are increasingly coming together to do business in the international workplace, particularly in meetings. Such international events usually bring together people from different linguistic and socio-cultural backgrounds with the result that a common language of communication is frequently adopted. More often than not this lingua franca is English. While English for International Business (EIB) has an essential function as a lingua franca in multilingual settings, it can also present challenges both linguistically and culturally, particularly as more and more interactions are between speakers whose first language is not English. This paper reports on preliminary research which forms part of a larger scale study investigating the use of English as a lingua franca in international business meetings. The paper summarises the findings of a questionnaire exploring the use of EIB by a particular European business organisation. It is hoped that the limited findings will help shed light on some of the language issues that may be present in such international contexts and the possible communications difficulties and frustrations that can result. A positive result is that as well as uncovering some of these challenges, the analysis also shows an awareness by many participants of some of the strategies that can be used to overcome them.