University of Oulu

Effects of using English in business communication in Japanese-based multinational corporations

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Author: Ojanperä, Olga1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu Business School, Department of Management and International Business, International Business
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : O. Ojanperä, 2014
Publish Date: 2014-02-20
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Mainela, Tuija
Sugawara, A.
Reviewer: Mainela, Tuija
Lehto, Irene
Japanese companies are internationalising and becoming increasingly involved in global business. It has become more and more common in Japan to use English, the global language of business. Recently, English has been introduced as the official language of a few Japanese corporations and discussions are going on in many other companies. English is not used for international operations solely but it is required in almost all functions. English has an undeniable role as the lingua franca of global business. Using English is no more a choice but inevitable for companies trying to compete in international markets. Yet, the effects of English in business communication have not been studied much until recent years. The aim of this research is to examine the effects of using English in Japanese-based multinational corporations. Using qualitative research method, the empirical part of the study is comprised of a two-step research including three interviews and a questionnaire. Participants were selected from four Japanese-based multinational corporations. Three main topics are discussed in the study. Firstly, the role of language skills in cross-cultural business communication is analysed. Secondly, the effects of using English in Japanese companies are studied on two levels including individual and company levels. On individual level, it is discussed how using English affects job performance, and how English language skills affect career development in Japanese corporations. On company level, it is examined how the corporate strategy can support effective use of English in Japanese companies. There were two main findings in this study. Firstly, English language skills can contribute to better job performance and promotion in Japanese-based multinational corporations. Employees with English language skills seem to have better chances for promotion and overseas assignments, and have wider career choices. On the other hand, using English can make communication slow, cause misunderstanding, create frustration and create barriers for employees with poor language skills. Secondly, it was found out that the company strategy has an essential role in supporting effective business communication in English. Not only can the company choose the right language policy, but it can enhance effective use of English, by creating an encouraging atmosphere and offering its employees opportunities to use and practise English language skills. In summary, by presenting a qualitative study of Japanese-based multinational corporations, this research aims at contributing to better understanding of effective business communication. The role of language cannot be left aside, since effective cross-cultural business communication can define Japanese companies’ success in today’s multicultural business world. This study was conducted in Tohoku University research programme during academic year 2012–2013, in Sendai, Japan.
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Copyright information: © Olga Ojanperä, 2014. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.