European Journal of Language Policy

Language policy evaluation in business settings

European Journal of Language Policy (2019), 11, (1), 25–46.


Globalisation and internationalisation are important considerations for companies. If they want to increase their export, recruit foreign employees or start a foreign subsidiary, they will need to think about a suitable language policy to establish an effective and efficient communication with and between their employees. In this article, we discuss recent research related to language policy in multinational companies. First, we list several language management strategies used in companies based on the research of Harzing, Köster and Magner (2011). We illustrate this list with recent case studies, which articulate a range of problems and situations that companies are confronted with. In the following section, we discuss the need for an evaluation of language policies within a business setting. We focus on the analytical framework of François Grin and Michele Gazzola, who have written several articles and books about this need. We connect these ideas to recent case studies in a business setting. We conclude our article with the suggestion that there is a research gap concerning the evaluation of language policies, especially in the context of multinationals.

La globalisation et l’internationalisation sont des concepts clés pour les entreprises actuelles. Les conséquences linguistiques sont considérables : si les entreprises veulent augmenter leur taux d’exportation ou commencer une filiale à l’étranger et recruter des employés locaux, elles devront réfléchir à une politique linguistique adéquate afin d’instaurer une communication effective et efficace avec et entre le personnel. Dans cet article, nous donnons un aperçu d’études récentes dans le domaine de la politique linguistique au sein d’entreprises multinationales. A ce propos, nous faisons d’abord l’inventaire de plusieurs stratégies de politique linguistique en prenant comme point de départ la recherche de Harzing, Köster, et Magner (2011). Ensuite, nous exposons des études de cas, qui servent comme illustration de ces stratégies et qui montrent également la nature des problèmes et situations auxquelles les entreprises se voient confrontées. Dans la section suivante, nous examinons la nécessité d’une évaluation des politiques linguistiques dans un contexte d’entreprise. Nous partons du cadre analytique tel qu’il a été élaboré par François Grin et Michele Gazzola, deux auteurs qui ont écrit plusieurs articles et livres à ce sujet. En guise de conclusion, nous suggérons qu’un besoin de plus de recherche concernant l’évaluation des politiques linguistiques s’impose, notamment dans le contexte des entreprises multinationales.

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Author details

Vermandere, Dieter

Vangehuchten, Lieve

Van Herck, Rebecca