The Influence of Language on Self-Initiated Expatriate Experience
Foreign language competence is part of self-initiated expatriates’ (SIEs) career capital and a means towards the acquisition of further career capital. This chapter focuses on the impact of one aspect of SIEs’ language competence, manifested through foreign-accented speech, and its effect on SIEs’ experiences. It contributes to the body of literature addressing a particular occupational group of SIEs: international academics. Stigmatisation occurs when a recognised difference is judged as socially undesirable or inferior. In organisational contexts, stigmatisation happens through the attribution of negative evaluations to individuals or social groups that are perceived to deviate from organisational norms. The chapter discusses the experiences of differentiation associated with the accents of non-native English-speaking international academic staff in the UK. It establishes the background of the research and explains the strategies for data collection and analysis. Social psychology research has demonstrated that accented speech can be a source of significant stigmatisation, manifest in prejudice and discrimination.