Language Issues in Multinational Management

Language issues

A language is a vital tool which is used by all members of the human species to communicate various thoughts and ideas. There is also a field in which students scientifically study different languages and that field is known as linguistics.

There are many types of languages which are spoken all across the globe. These different languages developed due to the geographical barriers but in today’s day and age, such geographical barriers have almost dissolved. And one of the biggest forces which have metaphorically dissolved various geographical barriers is the multinational companies. As the name must suggest, multinational companies are those businesses which are spread across different nations. And these multinational companies often face various management issues due to the different language barriers. In this academic writing piece, readers will be able to learn about the different language issues which can exist in a multinational company and the effective ways of dealing with those language issues. But before proceeding on to any of those discussions, readers will be able to learn about some of the most important characteristics of a multination manager.

Characteristics of Multinational Manager
The work of a multination manager is somewhat similar to an anthropologist. Just like an anthropologist, a multinational manager often finds himself or herself in contact with individuals to different cultures. These managers also have a strong effect on different employees who might be working in the organization. Hence, it is important for multinational managers to possess the characteristics which will allow that manager to effectively lead his or her entire team. And some of those different characteristics are mentioned below.

Quick Thinking
Multination companies often develop and change quickly once they are established in the market. Hence, it is important for a multinational manager to possess quick thinking skills which will allow him or her to adapt to the ever-growing changes of a multinational company. This is one of the most important skills that a multinational manager should possess.

Speak Different Languages
As it was mentioned above, it is rather common for a multinational manager to be in contact with various languages which might be spoken by the employees of that organization. Hence, it would be rather optimal if a multinational manager could speak some of the most common languages. It is also advisable for multinational managers to learn various languages.

The Mastery of the Job
Multinational managers often have to guide various employees to perform different tasks. Teaching employees about the company and the tasks which the employees have to perform is not easy. But if a multinational manager is already an expert in performing those tasks then this can decrease the overall workload of the manager.

Respect for Every Culture
Multinational managers often encounter various cultures in their day to day life. And hence, it is vital for students to respect every single culture. This would ensure that the manager is able to include a healthy work culture within the organization.

These are some of the most important characteristics which any effective multinational manager should possess.

Language Issues in Multinational Management
According to Reeves and Wright, all language barriers exist within three different dimensions. And those three different dimensions of languages barriers are mentioned below.

  • Language Penetration: This term refers to the number of functions and the various levels within those functions which all individuals would have to engage in for successful cross-lingual communication
  • Language Diversity: This refers to the different languages which a company would have to manage.
  • Language Sophistication: This refers to the level of refinement and complexity of the language skills which an individual would require

These three dimensions of language barriers are also mentioned in the book named ‘Linguistic Auditing: A Guide to Identifying Foreign Language Communication Needs in Corporations’ which was written by Reeves and Wright. As it was mentioned before, there are various language issues which can exist in multinational management. And some of those various language issues are mentioned below.

Difficult Implementations
Multinational companies are working on various projects at the same time. These types of companies also ensure that all sorts of new technologies and techniques are implemented throughout the business so that the company can always stay a few steps ahead of the other companies in the market. This entire task can become quite challenging due to the different language barriers which might exist in a multinational organization.

Harder to get Feedbacks
It is a commonly known fact that if an organization wishes to improve its services, business, tactics, and techniques then it is important for that organization to constantly get feedback from its employees and tries to find innovative methods for completing different tasks. This procedure of getting feedbacks can be quite challenging in a multinational company due to the number of languages and cultures which might exist within the company itself.

The goals and Objectives of the Team
If a team or department in an organization wishes to function effectively then it is important for that entire department to communicate effectively and to truly understand the overall objectives and goals of the organization. This is one of the most important steps which can get hindered due to the language barriers which might exist in a multinational organization.

Aggravation of the Existing Problems
Running a multination company can be a quite challenging task and it is quite possible that every individual might come up with various issues while performing the routine tasks. Finding the right solutions for all these issues is extremely important and for that, it is important for an organization to have an effective communication within the department. This is not possible due to the language barriers which exist in multinational companies. Hence, this can lead to the aggravation of all those existing problems.

Hindrance of Team Effectiveness
In an organization, it is important for every individual to function as a part of a team and try to complete all the tasks with a certain level of effectiveness. However, achieving these aims might not be possible if there is some sort of language barrier within the organization. This can hamper the level of team effectiveness.

These are some of the language issues which exist in multinational management.

The Effective Solutions
There are a number of ways through which an organization can also overcome their languages issues. And some of those ways are mentioned below.

  • An organization can try to set some standard language through which all official issues would be conducted
  • A multinational organization can also hire some reliable translation services
  • Organizations can also hire reliable interpreters
  • A multination organization can also decide to pick a standard language and provide all the employees with the classes for learning that standard language

These are some of the common issues which can be practised by multinational companies to overcome their language barriers.

The Conclusion
There are many languages which are used all across the globe and these languages are used for communicating various ideas and thoughts effectively. Language barriers have three different dimensions and these barriers can also create a number of issues in multinational management. And some of those issues are harder to get feedbacks, difficult implementations, aggravating the existing problems, and many other issues. Certain solutions can be practised by multinational companies to solve all of these issues.

The References


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