Language utilisation in an international business organisation a New Zealand case study

Cullen, Suzanne
Holt, Ron
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Master of Arts in Applied Language Studies
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Auckland University of Technology

This study introduces themes and trends apparent from notable research into the use of second language competencies within a business context both from an international and a New Zealand perspective. From this, a distinct shortage of research from the point of view of the employee (as opposed to that of the organisation) and from New Zealand was identified which created an opportunity for further research.

This study then aimed specifically to investigate the use of a language competency other than English within an organisation with international operations from the perspective of the employee using a sample of employees with second language competencies from an international airline in New Zealand. It tests whether employees perceive linguistic competency in a language other than English to be a skill that is recognised and useful for recruitment and/or a skill that is valued and rewarded. It questions how frequently and for mainly what purposes employees use their language skill and also probes for individuals’ perceptions of the importance of such skills and possible future trends.

Furthermore, the study makes a comparison between varying language skills and tests whether age, length of service and gender are significant variables with respect to employees’ perceptions. Finally it relates findings back to previous earlier studies from an international perspective and again highlights a relative lack of research from the perspective of an employee as opposed to from an organisational perspective. In conclusion it offers suggestions for further future research.

Business communication -- New Zealand , Languages , Modern , Intercultural communication
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