The International Language of … Business

Many companies believe that business is business around the world. But while globalization is a fact of life, cultural convergence is not. Recognizing cultural differences, it helps to tailor  business approaches to individual cultures. One concrete influence on culture is language. There has been an increase in value of individuals who are bilingual or multilingual. However, often overlooked is the language used within a company’s international corporate office. Should the Japanese employees of a U.S. company with an office in Tokyo, speak in  Japanese or English? Increasingly, international companies mandate an English-only policy. According to Tsedal Neeley, a professor at Harvard Business School, companies that don’t adopt English as a standard for their entire organization will, at some point, “experience some form of bottleneck…It depends on what the company does, but if you’ll have members in different countries needing to collaborate — whether it’s to integrate technology platforms or cater to customers worldwide — it will become more important that even middle managers and employees with international assignments use a common language in order to interface with others.

46 thoughts on “The International Language of … Business

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