Intercultural communication in foreign subsidiaries: The influence of expatriates' language and cultural competencies


Scandinavian Journal of Management

juin 2010, vol. 26, n°2, pp.176-188

Départements : Management et Ressources Humaines

Despite their dual impact on intercultural communication, scholarly discussions on languages and cultural values have evolved separately in international management literature. Building on the three communication zones theory (Du-Babcock & Babcock, 1996), which describes intercultural communication through three different language proficiency zones, the present study explores the influence of expatriates' host country language and cultural competencies on intercultural communication in foreign subsidiaries. In contrast to international management literature in which cultural values and languages have been treated independently, interviews in 58 Nordic subsidiaries in Japan show that expatriates' host country language and cultural competencies are accompanied by different challenges and opportunities.Keywords: Cultural values; Expatriate; Intercultural communication; Japan; Language; Three communication zones theory