Common Business Language

677 words | 3 page(s)

In the business world today, companies are coming up with strategies that aim at over doing their competitors. One new common trend among multinationals is the use of a common language in the work place. As of to date, the most preferred language by most companies is English. Major companies all over the world have adopted it as their work-place language. Examples of these companies include Kone Elevators, Siemens, Nokia, Microsoft and many others. Companies see a common language as the answer to most collaborative and efficiency problems. Nevertheless, studies have shown a different picture, where mandated languages are causing emotions and behavioural changes undermining the very reason for their existence (Paragraph 1).

Since the trend came to being, most companies pay less or no attention to the dark side of a mandatory language, but single sided focus on its benefits. Due to the changing business environment around the globe, most companies have no choice, but to respond them to remain relevant. English is increasing being used by most business people in their daily activities. Companies who use different work-place languages have felt frustrated and left out of the global market, forcing them to follow suit and adopt English as their common language (Paragraph 3). Using English, companies aim at making sure that, they are level with their competitors globally helping them do business with least language restrictions.

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Furthermore, companies are increasingly expanding into areas that speak different languages. In reducing communication barriers, companies are opting English as the mandatory language in work-place. Additionally, most companies believe that, by adopting a common language workers will be harmonized hence more productivity (Paragraph 3). These global pressures have pushed companies to aim at reducing the language conflicts that comes with different languages being used to do business.

The results of adopting a common language have been met with mixed reactions from workers globally. Emotional and mental impacts of operating under a mandatory language have been reported from companies, both from natives and non-native speakers. For example, when Global Tech, a German company, adopted English, employees referred the move as ‘a handicap’ to them. They complained citing difficulties in expressing themselves in English that countered communication between workers (Paragraph 7). One of the core aims of a mandatory language is to ensure that information sharing is successfully, but sometimes it does the opposite.

French Co. employees give a similar response when queried about English as the official common language. They also cited the reduced capabilities within themselves when mandated to speak in English (Paragraph 8). One key ambition of any corporation is to have all its employees firing from all cylinders, in terms of expertise and work wise. As noted, a common language can do the exact opposite of its intended purpose by hindering the full potential of some employees in cases where they cannot project their inputs correctly.

Likewise, a Global Moves Japanese noted the much-needed time in completing a task using English compared to using native language. A similar case applied to some employees of Chip Co in the United States (Paragraph 9). Time is very essential in any business operation, wasting it on issues like those that language could prove to be very costly to a company. A common language policy should be used wisely since it hinders some operations in a company that has people from different languages backgrounds.

Employees working on mandated language have also reported inferiority complexes. An employee at French Co states that, an employee would feel diminished in terms of his professionalism if he or she were unable to speak English fluently (Paragraph 11). Such scenarios would in turn bring avoidance and finally mistrust between non-native English speakers and native English speakers (Paragraph 17). Cases like these would spell doom for many companies since the collaborative environment needed to do business is absent. Therefore, a common language can only be successful if all employees collaborate in helping each in matters relating to it regardless of their prowess.

  • Neeley, T. B., Hinds, P. J. and Cramton, C. D. “The (Un) Hidden Turmoil of Language in Global Collaboration.” Organizational Dynamics, 41, 2012 :236-244.

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