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ERIC Number: ED348883
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Mar
Reference Count: 0
American Managers' Use of Their Foreign Employer's Language.
The use of a foreign language as part of the managerial context rather than as a technical tool was examined. Eighteen people in nine companies, primarily from the manufacturing sector, were interviewed to raise a set of issues pertaining to the use of a foreign employer's language (FEL). All of the companies in the sample were within a day's drive of Burlington, Vermont, a region with a culture of its own where more than a third of the inhabitants claim French-Canadian ancestry. Three FELs were chosen: French, German, and Japanese. The interviews were conducted using a list of questions as a point of departure rather than as a protocol. It was found that American managers in the greater Vermont area make very little use of their FEL, and English is often specified by policy as the operating language for the company. English is also the language of most high-tech work. Findings are reported in the following areas: rules about the use of FEL; differences in the use of the FEL; feelings about the use of the FEL; difficulty of using the FEL; desire to use the FEL; the difficulty of relating desire to policy; language training; company policy; special issues like relations with the head office and the changing organizational culture. It is noted that language classes don't work, especially if they take up blocks of work time, and that to be effective, language learning must be integrated into the change of organizational culture. (LB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Eastern Michigan University Conference on Languages and Communication for World Business and the Professions (11th, Ypsilanti, MI, March 25-28, 1992).