Well said, well done! The Richard C. Malmsten Award for Best IBT Master Thesis 2015

Maria Strandberg, Cheryl Marie Cordiero, Jasmin Denghani Malmsten Award 2015

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, standing with Maria Strandberg (L) and Jasmin Dehghani (R), who are winners of the Malmsten Award 2015 for the best Master of Science thesis in International Business and Trade (IBT).
Text & Photo © S Ravi, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

The Richard C. Malmsten Award for Best Thesis is awarded each year to the best thesis within each Graduate School (GS) Master Programme at the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. These awards have been given since the beginning of the GBS/GS Master programmes in 1997.

This year, I’ve had the pleasure to work with Jasmin and Maria as main supervisor to their International Business and Trade (IBT) master thesis entitled Well said, Well done: Language as a Source of Power in Multinational Teams.

The award is given by Johan Malmsten and the Richard C. Malmsten Memorial Foundation, in support and encouragement of rigorous research efforts of students towards their Master thesis. In this case, the thesis won on several fronts including contribution towards a growing field of interest at the intersection of language and international business studies, where they had in the past months travelled to Washington D.C. in the USA to conduct company interviews and gather primary data to their study.

The awards will be presented at the Graduate School Diploma Day, on 11 June 2015 in connection with student graduation day.

Congratulations Jasmin and Maria!

Well said, Well done: Language as a Source of Power in Multinational Teams

Abstract

As Multinational Corporations (MNCs) extend their span across the globe, a natural strategic consequence in managing a multilingual landscape has been the introduction of a lingua franca, in the form of a common corporate language. Language in international business (IB) studies have indicated that language proficiency can constitute a source of power in MNCs, that potentially distort working relations and thus affects cooperation. This study aims to investigate how language proficiency can empower and/or disempower people in multinational teams (MNTs), a setting that has as of yet not received much attention in this regard. A case study approach has been adopted for this study based on 22 semi-structured interviews and observations conducted in Sweden and the US. The results indeed illustrate that language proficiency can be empowering or disempowering in several respects due to that language is inherently embedded in all work activities. The findings also show that this has an impact on team dynamics and team functioning, which is essential to address due to the increasing importance of MNTs for the performance of MNCs.

Keywords: corporate language, influence, international business (IB), multinational corporations (MNCs), multinational teams (MNTs), power.

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