chapter  4
18 Pages

International management and language

Based on the arguments and logic presented in the previous chapter, we

can take it as given that the word ‘management’ is a social construct,

which emerged and changed over time and which continues to carry

different meanings depending on the context-of-use. Also, we have shown

management to be intrinsically intertwined with the acquisition of a parti-

cular discourse, a specialist language, which enables managers to cope with

the demands of their roles, but which also bestows identity and shapes rea-

lities. In this chapter we turn to exploring the activities associated with inter-

national management, which is often set in the context of multinational

organizations,1 which are characterized by a large degree of language dif-

ference and have to make decisions about how to deal with a linguistic

environment that is diverse and complex. Many companies have adopted

English as the common corporate language or use English as part of their

interactions. Therefore, the chapter also looks at the role of English in

facilitating communication. Finally, some reflections on the relationship between ‘language and culture’ are offered as, frequently, in the literature

and the general expectations of practitioner the activities of international

managers are defined and discussed as being primarily related to the man-

agement of cultural difference. In suggesting that international management

can be understood as a linguistically and discursively based activity, a dif-

ferent viewpoint is offered in this chapter.