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Language: The forgotten factor in multinational management


  • Marschan, Rebecca
  • Welch, Denice
  • Welch, Lawrence


This article argues that language needs to be considered as an important element in managing multinationals because it permeates virtually every aspect of their business activities. Due to the demands of operating in multiple foreign language environments, a shared company language does not necessarily ensure that meaningful communication occurs. The investigation of a Finnish multinational elevator company, Kone and its diverse subsidiaries, demonstrates the pervasive impact of language, and the range of individual responses to language constraints. An important implication of the analysis is that multinationals need to ensure that language does not become a peripheral, or forgotten, issue; rather, it should be viewed in more strategic terms.

Suggested Citation

  • Marschan, Rebecca & Welch, Denice & Welch, Lawrence, 1997. "Language: The forgotten factor in multinational management," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 591-598, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eurman:v:15:y:1997:i:5:p:591-598

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