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Intercultural Interactions in Business and Management

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Rita Salvi and Hiromasa Tanaka

Given the consolidated position of English as the international language for communication in business and management, this book depicts a wide scenario in which to analyse and compare interactions between eastern/western European users of English, as well as Asian/European/North American speakers. From each chapter, different sociolinguistic realities emerge. They affect English, as used largely by non-native speakers, but also the relationship between local or national cultures and the global professional discourse community.
In this context not only the specialized lexis is analysed, but rather the ways in which different geo-political cultures construe, manifest and establish their identities. Although it is difficult to classify pragmatic usages of language, the six chapters in the first section deal with language and culture following a genre-based approach, whereas the six chapters of the second section specifically consider corporate identity in intercultural interactions.
This volume, which aims to avoid stereotypes and promote mutual understanding, is the offspring of a two-day seminar as part of the 10th ESSE (European Society for the Study of English) Conference, held in Turin, August 2010.

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SHANTA NAIR-VENUGOPAL Subversive Strategies: Language and Interaction in Malaysian Business 167

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SHANTA NAIR-VENUGOPAL Subversive Strategies: Language and Interaction in Malaysian Business 1. Introduction Decisions regarding training needs are invariably taken by the man- agement of organizations. More often than not, employees of these organizations are compelled to attend training courses that the man- agement deems appropriate for them. Although there may be sugges- tions for improvement as feedback from individuals attending these courses including requests for particular aspects of training, em- ployees are almost always directed to attend specific sessions without much or any say in the matter. Employees are thus frequently viewed as the ‘passive’ recipients of decisions taken at the highest levels of management. These include decisions regarding language use while trainers as the intermediaries are expected to implement such deci- sions, for instance, the normative language ‘policies’ of organizations. The evidence, however, that I have from the ground is that, regardless of whether or not organizational language policies are clearly spelt out in writing or only tacitly understood, trainers inevitably appropriate the language use of the employees in both pragmatic (by responding to their linguistic choices) and innovative ways. The fact that trainers respond to the linguistic choices of em- ployees is the sticking point; that trainers are not mere purveyors of normative language choice decisions. I have noticed in my long years (about 15) of studying language choice and communication in busi- ness contexts (specifically those of financial institutions in Malaysia) that in responding and reacting to institutional directives regarding language use in training sessions, trainers subvert,...

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