The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Negotiating the challenges of using English in business communication: listening narratives of Japanese BELF users

Negotiating the challenges of using English in business communication: listening narratives of Japanese BELF users
Negotiating the challenges of using English in business communication: listening narratives of Japanese BELF users
The unprecedented spread of the use of English in business worldwide has been accompanied by an increasing number of studies looking at the use of English as a Business Lingua Franca (BELF) (Louhiala-Salminen & Kankaanranta, 2011) among non-native English speakers, mostly in Europe but also in Asia. Research thus far has focused mainly on analysis of texts and discourses produced by BELF users, whereas in-depth research investigating users’ sense making of their use of English has been limited. In order to fill this gap, this thesis places BELF users at the centre of the research by listening to their narratives, to explore their subjective views on their experiences of language use in global business contexts.

The focus of the study is on Japanese business people who had relatively low exposure to English before they started using English at work, with the aim of illustrating the ways in which they perceive and make sense of their experiences as BELF users. The participants are 34 business people who were born and educated exclusively in Japan, and have accumulated a range of experiences using English in a global business context.

Thematic analysis of their narratives reveals that participants share certain challenges such as attending and contributing in multinational meetings, dealing with lower productivity and avoiding mistakes in various communicative situations. Common approaches among the participants to negotiate such challenges include continuously developing the English skills needed to perform their business goals, as well as other means such as gaining power in communication through developing the quality of information and utilising stronger economic relations. Their stories also highlight that their use of English is characterised by the coexistence of English and Japanese, owing to the ‘monolinguistic’ nature of Japanese business communication. Finally, it is revealed that they change their perception towards using English as they progress through their career. Their perceptions are influenced by various factors such as their career paths, the organisations they belong to, and the interlocutors they have dealt with.

To conclude, this thesis provides insight into the emic view of non-native English users when they are trying to achieve their professional goals in business contexts. By offering an alternative angle to existing BELF studies, the thesis contributes towards a more holistic and multi-dimensional understanding of this increasingly complex phenomenon.
Takino, Miyuki
4753e2aa-0ff6-4020-8d6e-94da7d967a05
Takino, Miyuki
4753e2aa-0ff6-4020-8d6e-94da7d967a05
Jenkins, Jennifer
7daf0457-86d0-4c08-af4b-79641d1f7fd0

(2016) Negotiating the challenges of using English in business communication: listening narratives of Japanese BELF users. University of Southampton, Faculty of Humanities, Doctoral Thesis, 236pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

The unprecedented spread of the use of English in business worldwide has been accompanied by an increasing number of studies looking at the use of English as a Business Lingua Franca (BELF) (Louhiala-Salminen & Kankaanranta, 2011) among non-native English speakers, mostly in Europe but also in Asia. Research thus far has focused mainly on analysis of texts and discourses produced by BELF users, whereas in-depth research investigating users’ sense making of their use of English has been limited. In order to fill this gap, this thesis places BELF users at the centre of the research by listening to their narratives, to explore their subjective views on their experiences of language use in global business contexts.

The focus of the study is on Japanese business people who had relatively low exposure to English before they started using English at work, with the aim of illustrating the ways in which they perceive and make sense of their experiences as BELF users. The participants are 34 business people who were born and educated exclusively in Japan, and have accumulated a range of experiences using English in a global business context.

Thematic analysis of their narratives reveals that participants share certain challenges such as attending and contributing in multinational meetings, dealing with lower productivity and avoiding mistakes in various communicative situations. Common approaches among the participants to negotiate such challenges include continuously developing the English skills needed to perform their business goals, as well as other means such as gaining power in communication through developing the quality of information and utilising stronger economic relations. Their stories also highlight that their use of English is characterised by the coexistence of English and Japanese, owing to the ‘monolinguistic’ nature of Japanese business communication. Finally, it is revealed that they change their perception towards using English as they progress through their career. Their perceptions are influenced by various factors such as their career paths, the organisations they belong to, and the interlocutors they have dealt with.

To conclude, this thesis provides insight into the emic view of non-native English users when they are trying to achieve their professional goals in business contexts. By offering an alternative angle to existing BELF studies, the thesis contributes towards a more holistic and multi-dimensional understanding of this increasingly complex phenomenon.

PDF
Final Thesis for e-Prints Miyuki Takino Thesis 2015 SOTON.pdf - Other
Download (2MB)

More information

Published date: January 2016
Organisations: University of Southampton, Modern Languages

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 385224
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/385224
PURE UUID: dfb855a9-388c-4627-8bd1-29e215fcb288

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 08 Jan 2016 12:46
Last modified: 25 Jul 2017 04:01

Export record

Contributors

Author: Miyuki Takino
Thesis advisor: Jennifer Jenkins

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton: eprints@soton.ac.uk

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/cgi/oai2

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×