Babel in business: The language barrier and its solutions in the HQ-subsidiary relationship
Using interview data from managers in eight German and Japanese corporate HQs and their subsidiaries in Japan or Germany, we provide the first large-scale empirical analysis of the language barrier and its solutions. We found that language is an important barrier, slowing down and increasing the cost of decision-making. Our research suggests twelve different solutions, ranging from informal day-to-day solutions such as changing communication patterns and code-switching, to more structural solutions such as language training and a common corporate language. We confirm and extend previous research and conclude that future research should more explicitly consider the different configurations of language skills for HQ and subsidiary managers.
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Volume (Year): 46 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
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