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Communication in Global Corporations

Successful Project Management via Email

Series:

Justyna Alnajjar

This volume investigates the issues of specialist email discourse conducted in Business English as a lingua franca (BELF) by specialists working in international teams within the field of project management. It discusses aspects of team language and team culture in professional international environments taking into consideration the tenets of anthropocentric linguistics. The research project, the results of which are presented in this book, was carried out on the basis of authentic business emails received from a global company. The results of the research project are divided into two parts: the first part focuses on conventions applied by project team members, whereas the second part is devoted to the illocutionary acts relevant to communication during the execution of global projects.

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5. Application

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The results of the linguistic analysis of specialist email communication conducted by the Team in a global corporation, which I presented in Section 4.3., show that, as opposed to initial expectations, dysfunctions and misunderstandings are not a byword for specialist email discourse in international project management settings. Even though the Team members communicated using English, which was not their lingua materna, the collaboration was constructive and led to project success. Thus confirming the findings of the research project carried out at Hamburg University, in which the researchers analysed the discourse conducted in ELF by speaker-listeners of various mother tongues: Hier hat sich gezeigt, dass dieser Interaktionstypus – wider Erwarten – zu sehr wenigen Missverständnissen führt, dass die Interaktanten in bemerkenswerter Weise in ihrer Diskursproduktion konstruktiv „zusammenarbeiten“, und dass sie eine Reihe von stabilisierenden Diskursstrategien (jenseits von Reparaturen) verwenden . . . . Diese Ergebnisse zeigen deutlich, dass Interaktion im Englischen als Lingua franca in hohem Maße „erfolgreich“, d.h. kooperativ und konsensorientiert sind – also der Verständigung dienen und verständnisfördernd sein können und keinesfalls die Interaktionskompetenz der muttersprachlichen Englisch-als-Lingua-franca-Sprecher überfordern. (House, 2005: 60) Due to the fact that the Team members made numerous grammatical, lexical, and syntactic mistakes, their communication could have been expected to be ineffective and lead to conflicts within the Team, and ultimately to project failure. Conversely however, the project was successful, i.e. the goal of the project was achieved, as the project was completed on time, within the approved budget, and in accordance with the client’s quality...

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