Dear moderator,


Thanks for circulating this call.



Philippe Lecomte


Apologies for cross posting


This call for papers can also be downloaded from the GEM&L website.




14th GEM&L International Workshop on Management and Language

EM Strasbourg Business School

4-6th May 2020


Call for Papers



Global working and language:

Towards an understanding of global-local interplay


Global forms of work have become common in MNEs (Reiche, Lee and Allen, 2019) in an ever-growing heterogeneity of local environments (Jaussaud and Mayrhofer, 2014). By global working, we mean situations in which employees from diverse cultural backgrounds, often in geographically distant and different national contexts, are collaborating (Hinds, Liu and Lyon, 2011). This includes all forms of expatriation, corporate and self-initiated expatriation, short-term assignments, flexpatriation and international business travel (Mayerhofer, Hartmann, Michelitsch-Riedl and Kollinger, 2004) as well as work in global virtual teams and domestic work with involvement in international responsibilities and/or interactions with colleagues from different countries.

We have chosen to use the expression “global working” to highlight the fluidity and situatedness of these specific work experiences, close to “international working” introduced by Mayrhofer, Reichel and Sparrow (2011) and by McNulty and Brewster (2019). Angouri and Piekkari (2018) also call for a more fluid approach to organization and global work which conceptualizes the organization as more than its material and legal structure. In this perspective management and organizational scholars have shown that discourse shapes organizations (Cooren, Vaara, Langley and Tsoukas, 2014; see also Cooren, Kuhn, Cornelissen and Clark, 2011, in the special issue of Organization Studies on Communicating, Organizing and Organization). The importance of situatedness in context raises the question of global and local interplay in each global working situation: i.e. how global and local dynamics co-construct the reality of global working experiences within the language ecosystem (Angouri and Piekkari, 2018) of each local environment.

Language lies at the heart of global working at three different levels identified by Reiche and colleagues (2019): actors, processes and structure. Firstly, actors may be more or less invited to participate in global working arrangements and to voice their opinions in these instances depending on their level of mastery of the corporate language of the MNE. Employees may be empowered (Tietze, 2008) or on the contrary marginalized if they don’t master the language of the organization (Neeley, 2017). In this regard, individuals having developed multicultural identities may bring precious contributions to global working (Lee, Masuda, Fu and Reiche, 2018). Research also suggests that expatriates proficient in the language of their host country develop more and deeper relationships with locals and adjust better than others (Zhang and Peltokorpi, 2015). Furthermore, language competence may not suffice to erase the effects of differing native communication styles or to prevent the doubts and frustration these may cause (Louhiala-Salminen, 2005; Tréguer-Felten, 2018), a feeling shared by increasing numbers of diverse types of global workers in MNCs and especially by those labelled migrant workers.

Secondly, in terms of processes, it has been suggested that language skills influence knowledge sharing and that an overemphasis on international networks reduces employees’ embeddedness in local networks which is critical to MNCs’ development (Peltokorpi and Vaara, 2014). Other areas have also been explored, such as:  how corporate international policies or international marketing campaigns are deployed locally or how language skills enable boundary spanning activities (Barner-Ramussen, Ehrnrooth, Koveshnikov and Mäkelä, 2014) and influence teaming (Tenzer and Pudelko, 2017).

Finally, it is important to unravel the role of language in different structures of global work and to understand, for instance, if an expatriate moving physically to another country will resort more to a local language in a specific host country than someone involved in global working arrangements in his or her country. Global-local dynamics in specific contexts and different situations of global working may trigger different ways of negotiating language use.

Understanding these dynamics requires a fluid approach to language use, seen as a social practice (Karhunen, Kankaanranta, Louhiala-Salminen and Piekkari, 2018) and not as separate entities, merely analyzed through the prism of proficiency in a national language. Janssens and Steyaert’s multilingual franca (2014) illustrates this approach by throwing light on the local practices resulting from the imposition of English in MNEs.

To examine the implication of local language use in more depth it would be valuable to investigate how business concepts and work processes are understood and enacted by local employees in their own contexts. For instance, subsidiaries located in cross-border regions provide opportunities to observe how employees draw on all their language resources and combine them to make themselves understood (Langinier and Ehrhart, 2019 forthcoming).

Analyzing language as a social practice raises a number of methodological issues and calls for self-reported data surveys, observations, critical ethnographic studies, as well as interaction analysis (Angouri and Piekkari, 2018).  

We thus welcome papers which investigate the interplay between new forms of global work and language use in MNC and non-MNC contexts (i.e., SMEs, NGOs, etc.) (Angouri and Piekkari, 2018). These papers could address but are not limited to:

·      The link between language and the boundary spanning role of global workers

·      The role of “born globals”: how people with multicultural identities experience global working and what their relation is to language in these instances

·      The way migrants transport language in MNCs, how their language skills might be recognized in some instances

·      The way language is used by global marketing specialists, how international marketing campaigns are deployed internationally, and what the role of language is in this process

·      The impact of differing communication styles on global-local dynamics and processes

·      Methodological issues associated with the analysis of language in global working situations, what kind of data collection this requires, what approach could fully account for the complexities of global-local dynamics and their link to language in global working situations

·      Multilevel analysis highlighting how the macro environmental context and the corporate context influence global workers’ multilingual practices

·      Translating the research findings on global working and language into the management education sphere



Angouri, J. & Piekkari, R. (2018). Organising multilingually: setting an agenda for studying language at work. European Journal of International Management, 1/2, 8-27.

Barner-Rasmussen, W., Ehrnrooth, M., Koveshnikov, A. & Mäkelä, K. (2014). Cultural and language skills as resources for boundary spanning within the MNC. Journal of International Business Studies, 45, 886-905.

Cooren, F., Kuhn, T. R., Cornelissen, J. P. & Clark, T. (2011). “Communication, organizing, and organization”. Organization Studies, 32, 1149-1170.

Cooren, F., Vaara, E., Langley, A. & Tsoukas, H. (Eds.) (2014). Language and communication at work: Discourse, narrativity, and organizing. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

Hinds, P., Liu, L. & Lyon, J. (2011). Putting the global in global work: An intercultural lens on the practice of cross-national collaboration. Academy of Management Annals, 5, 135-188.

Janssens, M. & Steyaert, C. (2014). Re-considering language within a cosmopolitan understanding: Toward a multilingual franca approach in international business studies. Journal of International Business Studies, 45, 623-39.

Jaussaud, J. & Mayrhofer, U. (2014). Les tensions global-local: L’organisation et la coordination des activités internationales. Management International 18(1), 18-25.

Karhunen P., Kankaanranta, A., Louhiala-Salminen, L. & Piekkari, R. (2018). Let’s talk about language: A review of language sensitive research in international management. Journal of Management Studies,

Langinier, H. & Ehrhart, S. (2019, forthcoming). When local meets global: How introducing English destabilizes translanguaging practices in a cross-border organization. Management International.

Lee, Y.-T., Masuda, A., Fu, X. & Reiche, B. S. (2018). Navigating between home, host, and global: Consequences of multicultural team members’ identity configurations. Academy of Management Discoveries, 4, 180-201.

Louhiala-Salminen, L., Charles, M. & Kankaanranta, A. (2005). English as a lingua franca in Nordic corporate mergers. English for Specific Purposes, 24, 401-21.

Mayrhofer, H., Hartmann, L. C., Michelitsch–Riedl, G. & Kollinger, I. (2004). Flexpatriate assignments: A neglected issue in global staffing. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 15, 1371-89.

Mayrhofer, W., Reichel, A. & Sparrow, P. (2012). Alternative Forms of International Working. In Stahl G. K., Björkman, I., Morris S. (Eds), Handbook of Research in International Human Resource Management (2nd ed.). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 300-327.

McNulty, Y. & Brewster, C. (Eds) (2019). Working Internationally: Expatriation, Migration and Other Global Work. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.

Neeley, T. B. (2017). The Language of Global Success: How a Common Tongue Transforms Multinational Organizations. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

Peltokorpi, V. & Vaara, E. (2014). Knowledge transfer in multinational corporations: Productive and counterproductive effects of language-sensitive recruitment. Journal of International Business Studies, 45(5), 600–622.

Reiche, B. S., Lee, Y.-T. & Allen, D. (2019). Actors, structure, and processes: A review and conceptualization of global work integrating IB and HRM research. Journal of Management.

Tenzer, H. & Pudelko, M. (2017). The influence of language difference on power dynamics in multilingual teams. Journal of World Business, 52, 45­–61.

Tietze, S. (2008). International Management and Language. London: Routledge.

Tréguer-Felten, G. (2018). Langue Commune, Cultures Distinctes. Les Illusions du Globish. Québec : Presses de l'Université de Laval.

Zhang, L., E. & Peltokorpi, V. (2015). Multifaceted effects of host country language proficiency. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 27, 1448-69.


Review Board

Jo Angouri, University of Warwick, United Kingdom

Anita Auer, University of Lausanne, Switzerland

Christophe Barmeyer, University of Passau, Germany 

Wilhelm Barner-Rasmussen, Åbo Akademi University, Finland 

Betty Beeler, ESC-Saint Etienne, France

Mary-Yoko Brannen, Gustavson School of Business, University of Victoria, Canada 

Jean-François Chanlat, Université Dauphine, Paris, France

Agnieszka Chidlow, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom

Linda Cohen, ESCP-Europe, France 

Eric Davoine, FSES - University of Freiburg, Switzerland

Peter Daly, EDHEC, France

Dardo de Vecchi, Kedge Business School, France 

Sabine Ehrhart, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg

Claudine Gaibrois, Universität St. Gallen, Switzerland

Anne-Wil Harzing, Middlesex University, London, United Kingdom

Pamela J. Hinds, Stanford University, USA

David Holford, UQAM, Canada

Patrizia Hoyer, Universität St. Gallen, Switzerland

Anna Kristina Hultgren, Open University, United Kingdom

John Humbley, University Paris Diderot, France

Marjana Johansson, University of Essex, United Kingdom

Anne Kankaanranta, Aalto University School of Business, Finland

Helena Karjalainen, Ecole de management de Normandie, France

Jane Kassis-Henderson, ESCP-Europe, France

Alex Klinge, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark

Hélène Langinier, EM-Strasbourg, France

Philippe Lecomte, Toulouse Business School, France

Bill Lee, Sheffield University Management School, United Kingdom

Myriam Leibbrand, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria

Patrick Leroyer, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark 

Dorte Lønsmann, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark

Leena Louhiala-Salminen, Aalto University School of Business, Finland 

Anja Louis, Sheffield Hallam University, United Kingdom

Ludovica Maggi, ISIT, Paris, France

Sarah Maitland, Goldsmiths University of London, United Kingdom

Tatyana Martynova, Saint Petersburg University, Russia

Gerlinde Mautner, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria

Ulrike Mayrhofer, Université Lyon 3, France

Terry Mughan, Royal Roads University, Victoria BC, Canada

Florence Oloff, University of Basel, Switzerland

Elena Orlova, Saint Petersburg University, Russia

Rebecca Piekkari, Aalto University School of Business, Finland

Pamela Rogerson-Revell, University of Leicester, United Kingdom  

Doris Schedlitzki, University of the West of England, United Kingdom

Susan Carol Schneider, University of Geneva, Switzerland

Martyna Sliwa, University of Essex, United Kingdom

Helen Spencer-Oatey, University of Warwick, United Kingdom

Helene Tenzer, University of Tübingen, Germany

Susanne Tietze, Sheffield Hallam University, United Kingdom

Geneviève Tréguer-Felten, CNRS, France

Mary Vigier, Groupe ESC Clermont- Auvergne, France

Denice Welch, University of Melbourne, Australia

Lawrence Welch, University of Melbourne, Australia

Sachiko Yamao, University of Melbourne, Australia

Lena Zander, Uppsala University, Sweden

Ling Eleanor Zhang, Royal Holloway University of London, United Kingdom

Mette Zølner, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark


Guidelines for authors

The short paper should indicate the key theoretical, methodological and empirical questions addressed in the paper, the conceptual field(s) informing the paper, if applicable the data set used in the paper and the major theoretical and empirical contributions of the paper. All submissions must be original and should not have been previously accepted for publication.

First page with author’s name, affiliation, e-mail and postal address.

Text of the proposal: in .doc(x), anonymous, justified, 2.5 cm margins throughout.

Title: Times New Roman, bold, size 16.

Other titles: Times New Roman, bold, size 12.

Short paper (around 3000 words, excluding references) with 8 – 10 keywords.

Text: Times New Roman, size 12.

Authors are required to precede their short paper with a short abstract (around 10 lines) to be included in the final programme.


Format for references: 

Austin, J. L. (1962). How to Do Things with Words. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

Steyaert, C., Ostendorp, A. & Gaibrois, C. (2011). Multilingual organizations as 'linguascapes': Negotiating the position of English through discursive practices. Journal of World Business, 46(3), 270-278.


Proposals in French or in English in Word format to be uploaded on the GEM&L website, by 15 January 2020

All submissions will be subjected to a double blind competitive review process on the basis of originality, rigor and relevance.  No author information or other identifying information should appear anywhere in the submission.


Please note that the workshop will host a doctoral session, which will offer PhD students the possibility of discussing their doctoral thesis project with research fellows and to be advised by the most prominent senior scholars in this field of research. The review process of PhD students’ papers is subjected to the same rules as for regular papers.


All authors will be informed about the outcome of the review process no later than 15 March 2020.

At least one author of each paper must register for the workshop and present the paper. A final paper is not required before the workshop.

For any information concerning the workshop, please contact: [log in to unmask]



Short paper:  15 January 2020

Notice of acceptance:  15 March 2020

GEM&L Workshop: 4-6 May 2020


For registration information go to:



Dr. Philippe Lecomte

Président du GEM&L

Professeur retraité

Toulouse Business School

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skype : lecomte.p


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