Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia DIPARTIMENTO DI STUDI LINGUISTICI E CULTURALI
C ORSO DI L AUREA M AGISTRALE IN
L INGUE PER LA COMUNICAZIONE NELL ’ IMPRESA E NELLE ORGANIZZAZIONI INTERNAZIONALI
"Dear All, I need your help on this!" - Email business communication in a multinational company. A case study on the Carraro Group.
Prova finale di:
Federica Chioatto Relatore:
Prof.ssa Franca Poppi
Prof.ssa Giovanna Galli
Anno Accademico (2015-2016)
ABSTRACT – ENGLISH
This dissertation examines email communication in lingua franca English in a multinational company, the Carraro Group, located in Campodarsego (Padua) and specialized in the production of highly efficient, eco-compatible power transmission systems. It analyses a corpus of 453 emails written and received by the company’s Italian employees working in different departments and representing different organizational levels. Messages were exchanged among employees and foreign colleagues, partners and collaborators located in three continents – Asia, North America and Europe. In addition to the email corpus, the case study includes contextual information collected through three ethnographic interviews, where informants expressed their perspectives on communication in English in the business environment. Genre and politeness theory, research on Business English as a Lingua Franca (BELF) and literature on intercultural communication provided the theoretical framework of reference for the study.
The investigation was motivated by three factors, which also contribute to its relevance for todays’ business. First, English is increasingly used as the shared language of business communication and is recognized as an empowering instrument that makes practitioners more efficient in their work. Second, email technology enables such communication and represents the main genre used in daily operations with foreign partners. Third, informants recognized differences in their interlocutors’ communicative style, due to cultural difference which inevitably affects English, in a context where the idiom is shaped by its users in each interaction.
The findings of the study confirmed that the global communicative competence of business professionals is made up of three elements: competence in BELF, business know-how and multicultural competence. In fact, even though practitioner need to master the ‘core’ of English, what really matters is to use the language efficiently in order to achieve their goal; in this sense, discourse and sociolinguistic competence is more important than grammatical accuracy.
Moreover, professionals share tacit business and domain-specific knowledge which is reflected in the use of specialized vocabulary, expressions and concepts: if specialized language is not used appropriately, communication is not effective. Finally, in the multicultural settings that characterize business English, tolerance towards different practices, attitudes and politeness conventions is essential in order to build rapport with the interlocutor and maintain long-term business relationships. Ultimately, the need and suggestions for a pedagogical approach which is not strictly normative are emphasized, in order to capture and transmit the dynamic, fleeting and context-specific nature of BELF, and its constant tension between flexibility and stability.
ABSTRACT – ITALIANO
Il presente elaborato esamina la comunicazione in inglese lingua franca via email in una multinazionale italiana, il Gruppo Carraro, con sede a Campodarsego (Padova) e specializzata nella produzione di sistemi di potenza. Analizza un corpus di 453 email redatte e ricevute da dipendenti italiani, impiegati in diversi dipartimenti e rappresentanti di vari livelli organizzativi e scambiate con colleghi stranieri, partner e collaboratori provenienti da tre continenti (Asia, America, Europa). Le considerazioni emerse dall’analisi del corpus sono integrate da informazioni contestuali ottenute tramite tre interviste etnografiche, nel cui contesto gli intervistati hanno avuto la possibilità di esprimere le proprie opinioni sulla comunicazione in inglese in ambito lavorativo. L’analisi di genere, studi sulle tecniche di politeness, precedente ricerca riguardante l’uso del Business English come Lingua Franca (BELF) e le teorie di comunicazione interculturale rappresentano il quadro teorico di riferimento dello studio.
Sono tre i fattori principali che hanno motivato l’indagine e che contribuiscono alla sua rilevanza: innanzitutto, l’inglese rappresenta il mezzo di comunicazione condiviso dall’intera business community ed è riconosciuto come uno strumento che aiuta i professionisti ad essere più efficaci nel loro lavoro. In secondo luogo, tale comunicazione è facilitata dall’uso delle email, che rappresentano il genere principale utilizzato giornalmente con partner stranieri.
Terzo, i partecipanti alle interviste riconoscono che esistono differenze nello stile comunicativo dei propri interlocutori, provocate da fattori culturali che influenzano inevitabilmente l’inglese in un contesto in cui la lingua è modellata dai suoi utenti in ogni interazione.
I risultati dell’analisi confermano che la competenza comunicativa globale è costituita da tre elementi: competenza nel BELF, business know-how e competenza multiculturale. Infatti, in contesto lavorativo, lo scopo ultimo della comunicazione è raggiungere il proprio obiettivo e, dunque, la correttezza grammaticale passa in secondo piano rispetto alla capacità di adattarsi alle condizioni sociolinguistiche del discorso, applicando le adeguate strategie. Inoltre, i professionisti del settore condividono una conoscenza tacita delle dinamiche del business e del loro contesto specifico, che si riflettono nell’uso di terminologia, espressioni e concetti specifici, fondamentali per rendere la comunicazione efficace. Infine, in contesti multiculturali, la tolleranza di differenti attitudini, abitudini e convezioni linguistiche è fondamentale per creare un rapporto significativo con l’interlocutore. In conclusione, si evidenziano la necessità e suggerimenti per un approccio pedagogico non strettamente normativo, in grado di catturare e trasmettere la natura dinamica del BELF e la sua costante tensione tra stabilità e flessibilità.
ABSTRACT – ESPAÑOL
Esta tesis examina la comunicación email en inglés lengua franca de una multinacional italiana, el Grupo Carraro, con sede en Campodarsego (Padua) y especializada en la producción de sistemas de potencia. Analiza un corpus de 453 mensajes redactados y recibidos por empleados italianos que trabajan en departamentos diferentes, representan varios niveles organizativos y mantiene relaciones con colegas, socios y colaboradores extranjeros provenientes de tres continentes (Europa, América y Europa). Las consideraciones que emergen del análisis son integradas por informaciones contextuales obtenidas a través de tres entrevistas etnográficas, que permiten a los entrevistados expresar sus opiniones sobre la comunicación en inglés en el contexto laboral diario. El análisis de género, estudios sobre las técnicas de cortesía, investigación precedente sobre el uso del Business English como Lengua Franca (BELF) y las teorías de comunicación intercultural representan el cuadro teórico del presente estudio.
Tres son los factores principales que motivaron la investigación y contribuyen a su relevancia:
antes que nada, el inglés representa el medio de comunicación compartido por la comunidad empresarial y es apreciado como instrumento que ayuda a los profesionales para ser más eficaces en su trabajo. En segundo lugar, esta comunicación se ve facilitada por el uso del correo electrónico, que representa el género más utilizado diariamente con colaboradores extranjeros.
Finalmente, los entrevistados reconocen que existen diferencias en los estilos comunicativos adoptados por sus interlocutores, debidas a factores culturales que afectan inevitablemente el inglés en un contexto donde el idioma es moldeado por sus usuarios en cada interacción.
Los resultados del análisis confirman que la competencia comunicativa global se constituye de tres elementos: competencia en el BELF, business know-how y competencia multicultural. De hecho, en el ámbito laboral, la finalidad de la comunicación es conseguir los objetivos y, entonces, la precisión gramatical resulta menos importante que la capacidad de adaptarse a las condiciones sociolingüísticas del discurso, adoptando las estrategias apropiadas. Además, los profesionales comparten el conocimiento tácito de las dinámicas de su propio sector, que se reflejan en el uso de términos, expresiones y conceptos especializados, fundamentales para que la comunicación resulte eficaz. Finalmente, en contextos multiculturales, la tolerancia hacia aptitudes, hábitos y prácticas lingüísticas diferentes es esencial para crear una relación significativa con el interlocutor. En conclusión, se evidencian sugerencias para un enfoque pedagógico que no sea estrictamente normativo y consiga transmitir la natura dinámica del BELF y su constante tensión entre estabilidad y flexibilidad.
Chapter One – Theoretical Framework 5
1.1 The status of English as an international language 5
1.1.1. Models of the Spread of English 8
1.2 English as a Lingua Franca 11
1.3 From ELF to BELF 16
1.4 The notion of communicative competence 18
1.5 The Global Communicative Competence model 20
1.6 The role of culture 23
Chapter Two – The Carraro Group 29
2.1 The origins of the Group 29
2.2 A new organizational asset 33
2.3 The internationalization of the Group 35
2.4 From the economic crisis until today 40
2.5 The role of communication and information technology 44
Chapter Three – Email Communication and Genre Analysis 49
3.1 Perspectives on genre 49
3.2 The role of genre knowledge in business communication 52
3.3 From business letters to emails 54
3.4 Features of email communication 56
3.4.1 The structure of email messages 58
3.4.2 Different types of emails 59
3.5 Politeness in business email correspondence 61
Chapter Four – Objectives, Data and Methodology 65
4.1 The rationale of the study 65
4.2 Data, informants and materials 68
4.3 Methodology 72
Chapter Five – Analysis of the data 77
5.1 Analysis of email correspondence 77
5.1.1 Noticeboard genre messages 77
5.1.2 Postman genre messages 82
5.1.3 Dialogue genre messages 86
5.2 Rhetorical strategies used in requests 89
5.3 Solidarity enforcement strategies 94
5.4 Grammatical and syntactic accuracy 98
5.5 Ethnographic interviews: informants’ perceptions 100
5.5.1 Competence in BELF 100
5.5.2 Business know-how 103
5.5.3 Multicultural competence 105
Discussion of findings 109
Final remarks 116
Limitations and further research 122
Online References 135
Appendix 1 137
Appendix 2 138
“Globalization […] is the process of world shrinkage, of distances getting shorter, things moving closer. It pertains to the increasing ease with which somebody on one side of the world can interact, to mutual benefit, with somebody on the other side of the world.” (Thomas Larsson 2001: 9)
The process of globalization, brought about by forces such as advancing technologies, improved infrastructures and variable markets, permeates and influences every aspect of people’s lives, such as consumption habits, relationships management and, most of all, business practices. Larsson’s definition talks about the ‘shrinkage’ of the world, and this is precisely the impression we have when we stop and notice how easy it is to get in touch with a friend who lives on another continent, to buy items produced thousands of kilometres away or to keep informed about what is happening all over the globe. This phenomenon has simplified the life of the world’s inhabitants in many respects, but the increased interconnectedness has reinforced notably interdependence among countries, markets and businesses. In the business environment, where relations with potential stakeholders, customers, partners, competing companies and employees have always played a crucial role, the increased competition and the need to communicate constantly and with interlocutors coming from heterogenous linguistic and cultural backgrounds has ascribed new centrality to language matters.
As argued by Friedman (2006: 10), globalization can be divided into three stages: “While the dynamic force in Globalization 1.0 was countries globalizing and the dynamic force in Globalization 2.0 was companies globalizing, the dynamic force in Globalization 3.0 – the force that gives it its unique character – is the newfound power for individuals to collaborate and compete globally”. These stages are not separate, but cumulative, coexisting and merging. This conceptualization was studied by Charles (2007, 2011), who noticed that there is a fil rouge which links all three stages: language. In stage 1.0, companies were static, compartmentalized entities with import and export departments through which countries were linked up. In such context, only professionals involved with foreign trade needed to employ languages on a daily basis. To fulfil the specialist language requirements of foreign trade, Language for Specific Purposes (LSP) emerged, and it was mconcerned with terminology and contrastive linguistics.
Stage 2.0 focused on the operations that allowed the internationalization of enterprises: mergers and acquisitions. With subsidiaries, sales offices and productions sites overseas, the scope of foreign language extended and encompassed virtually all corporate activities. Moreover, companies started to be seen as cultural entities. Employees had to accept the fact that ‘us’ and
‘them’ had become ‘us’ (Poncini 2007). Research soon realized that corporate discourse was
affected by the new configurations, and foreign language skills and situational features began to be considered as having a greater impact on corporate activities than they did when they were a simple requirement for export teams. Finally, in stage 3.0, globalization, through technology, affects individuals in their own local environment, independently from where they are located.
The ‘globalization of the local’ (Friedman 2006) affects language too: as soon as (business) communication is created through an IT facility (social networking, skyping, chatting, social sites), the local discourse becomes globally accessible. Therefore, companies now try to reach a competitive hedge through strategic alliances, global networks and virtual operations that people can consult locally. In this context, organizations and their reputation are the result of the communication shaped in their name: their life cycle completely depends on discourse and business operations are created through, by and in communication. In research, the shift moves from ‘communication IN business’ to ‘communication IS business’ (Charles 2011). In fact, only language can enable countries, companies and individual to communicate, and only through communication products, businesses, relations can be realized. In this context, English was naturally chosen as the lingua franca for today’s world communication and globalization has accelerated the need for English communication skills.
The use of English as a lingua franca (ELF) among speakers of different first languages has become the fastest-growing but the least recognized function of the idiom in the world (Seidlhofer 2001; Jenkins 2007). In the business contexts, research is even less extensive, although several scholars have highlighted the importance of BELF, a term created by Louhiala- Salminen and Kankkanranta (2005), who added the ‘B’ to describe the use of ELF in international business contexts and defined this new concept as the shared communication code when conducting business within the global business discourse community. Charles (2007) argued that BELF differs from ELF in the fact that the domain of BELF is only business, and its frame of reference is represented by the globalized business community. Consequently, BELF is an additional instrument that practitioners use to do their daily work. Therefore,
“knowledge of the specific business context, the particular genres used in the particular business area, and overall business communication strategies are tightly intertwined with proficiency in English” (Kankaanranta & Louhiala-Salminen 2010: 204). This is coherent with Hanford’s (2010: 145) argument that “the most important issue in business is not language ability, but the experience and ability to dynamically manoeuvre within the communities of practice which business people inhabit”. In fact, one of the main purposes of the present dissertation is to identify and raise awareness on the elements that make up and guarantee success in international
business communication, on the basis of a theoretical framework built up on previous research on BELF, communicative and intercultural competence. In this way, business practitioners can be more effective in their daily operations and companies can benefit from well-trained employees. In fact, daily exchanges among professionals and their business practitioners all over the world are constantly shaping the corporate image of the organization. This processes is often carried out without reflecting if it will meet expectations and achieve the desired results.
The heterogeneity of the business environment calls for a lingua franca which relies on hybridity, dynamicity, context-dependency, individual idiosyncrasies, as well as accommodation, strategic and pragmatic strategies. The degree of variation that characterizes English in such settings makes it almost impossible to define its features with precision, since they tend to change according to each interaction’s situational factors. In this sense, BELF differs from natural languages, and its speakers cannot be defined as traditional learners, but as
“users and communicators in their own right” (Louhiala-Salminen, Charles & Kanraanranta, 2005: 404), since they are the ones who adopt, adapt and shape the language. It follows that
“[…] the concept of language competence, which has traditionally been gauged against the yardstick of a native speaker’s skills, has to be revaluated in the light of recent (B)ELF research.” (Ehrenreich, 2010: 410) and the findings of research should “drive teaching and training materials to focus more efficiently on those areas that are likely to cause a problem.”
(Gerritsen and Nickerson, 2009: 188). The present dissertation adopts a variety of methodologies and perspectives – ELF and BELF research, genre analysis, politeness theory, communication and intercultural theories – in order to provide a syncretic conceptualization of the business practitioners’ communicative competence in BELF, and draw attentions on the pedagogical aspects that derive from the analysis. In order to do so, 453 emails, provided by five Italian informants and written in English were collected and analysed according to their communicative purpose and the employed politeness strategies. Such emails were addressed to colleagues and external collaborators, partners and suppliers coming from three continents – Asia, Europe and America. Therefore, even though the main focus is on emails written by Italian employees, in the scrutiny of the corpus observations were inevitably made about messages written by authors of other nationalities, as they were included in long chains of messages. Further comments were made about their content, the use of business and specialized terminology, sociolinguistic, discourse and accommodation strategies, and cultural issues and influences. Emails were provided by professionals employed in the Carraro Group, a multinational organization leader in the production of highly efficient, eco-compatible power
transmission system, located in Campodarsego, Padua. Qualitative analysis integrated the results obtained in the first phase of the investigation: three ethnographic interviews were conducted on the factors that contribute to successful business communication.
The present dissertation is organized into five chapters. In Chapter One, the theoretical framework of the investigation is illustrated: the factors that determined the current international status of English and its distribution around the globe, the development of the concepts of ELF and BELF, the characterization of the Global Communicative Competence model, and, finally, the role of culture and a review of the literature on cultural differences in the business world. In fact, research (e.g. Gerritsen & Nickerson 2009) proved that professionals communicate from the perspective of their own cultural background and, even though people may need to ‘speak the same language’ in such multilingual contexts, they may not necessarily ‘speak the same way’ (Rogerson-Revell 2007: 188). Therefore, the role played by culture and its relationship with BELF cannot be disregarded. On the other hand, Chapter Two consists of a presentation of the case study company, the Carraro Group, through the description of its history, its actual configuration, its internationalization process and the role of communication and information technology in the organization. This chapter is important to understand the range of interlocutors, stakeholders and partners the company interacts with and what is its attitude towards English, technology and communication. In Chapter Three, the contribution of genre analysis and previous research on the matter is illustrated, as well as the features and classification of email communication. The relevance of this genre in the business communication environment is commonly acknowledged: according to the Email Statistics Report 2016-2020, compiled by The Radicati Group, the email use worldwide continues to grow. In 2016, there were over 2.6 billion emails users and by the end of 2020 this number will reach the amount of 3.0 billion. Moreover, while there is increased use of many other forms of communication, such as Instant Messaging (IM), chat and social networking, emails continue to be the leading form of business communication. Chapter Four deals with the objectives, data, materials and methodology adopted for the investigation, while, in Chapter Five, the actual analysis is carried out. The first part of the chapter is devoted to the corpus of emails:
observations, comments and deductions on authentic examples taken from the textual world of the company are made. On the other hand, the second part of the chapter reports on the opinions and perspectives which emerged during the ethnographic interviews with the respondents, focusing on the most relevant issues. Finally, conclusions are drawn and implications for further research are illustrated.
CHAPTER ONE – Theoretical Framework
For the description of the theoretical framework of this work, I adopted the same multidisciplinary and multi-faceted approach I will use for the analysis of the data. Richness and effectiveness are provided through the diversity of perspectives, contributions, participants and backgrounds: this is true for international communication, the main general subject under examination, where the interlocutors cooperate to build a communicative act that accounts for their different cultures, native languages, points of view, communicative strategies, organizational and educational backgrounds, in a dynamic and interactive exchange the participants shape in a unique way in order to achieve their goals. In accordance with the heterogeneous and evolving nature of international communication, I decided to provide a picture as exhaustive as possible of the perspectives that scholars and researchers in the field have adopted and adapted in the last few decades to account for the emerging phenomena in international (and intercultural) communication, as well as for the language and the strategies used by interlocutors.
1.1 The status of English as an international language
Kachru (1990) compares the role and status of English today to alchemy, since competence in English implies a transmutation: “an added potential for material and social gain and advantage” (Kachru 1990: 1). In fact, English accomplishes a wide a series of functions: it is considered a symbol of modernization, it enables communication in international and intercultural settings, it provides competitive advantage, it opens the gates to international business, science, technology, knowledge and travel. In short, it provides linguistic power. But how did English acquire its status as the most prominent (and probably only) international language?
The spread of English from the British Isles started in the 16th century and took place over a long period, assuming different forms in different parts of the world. In fact, according to Svartick and Leech (2006), one of the crucial factors that made English a world language is the expansion and the influence of the British colonial power, which, by the end of the 19th century, controlled almost a fourth of the world’s entire population. The main purpose of the Empire was to facilitate commercial relations and the exchange of goods between Great Britain and the colonies and this implied also the adoption and the use of the language of the colonizer, i.e.
English, which became a symbol of its power. The fact that the English idiom was imposed to the inhabitants of the colonies, as it was the medium through which the they could communicate
with the motherland and access the institutions, produced a process of nativization of the language, i.e. a process whereby a language acquires new native speakers, either in addition or in place of a pre-existing native idiom. The speakers contribute to the shaping of their own variety, at all linguistic levels and, influenced by their own native language and culture, they distinctive accents, grammatical usages, items of vocabulary and communicative/pragmatic strategies. This is the case of the so-called World Englishes1 (Indian English or Nigerian English are a few examples), “those transplanted varieties of English that are acquired primarily as second language” (Kachru, 1990: 5) and used in institutions such as the educational system, the law, politics or business.
At the end of the 18th century, the first Industrial Revolution, that took place in Great Britain, contributed to a further spread of English in the world: the new technologies, that completely revolutionized the manufacturing process, were codified in English. This new knowledge was then exported to North America and Europe through the development of new means of transport and improved infrastructures.
However, contrary to what could be expected, with the end of the colonial era, the spread of English did not stop, nor reversed. Many former colonies realized the importance of English not only as the language of commerce, but also of science, technology and as an efficient vehicle for both intranational and international communication. Besides, in a variety of contexts, it had acquired new linguistic and cultural connotations if compared to the native languages or dialects, which can be socially and culturally connoted in terms of caste, religion, etc.
Therefore, English started to represent an additional linguistic code that had a referential meaning, and was often associated with emancipation. As Kachru (1990: 9) puts it, “it has been perceived as the language of power and opportunity, free of the limitations that the ambitious attribute to the native language”. At the same time, these localized varieties of English started to be appropriated from their speakers: they are used in a variety of sociolinguistic context, they have an extended register and style range, a process of ‘nativization’ has taken place, both at formal and contextual terms, and often a body of English literature has been developed with linguistic and situational features that mark it as ‘localized’ (Kachru, 1992).
Anyhow, according to Crystal (2003), the factor that determined the establishment of English as the main international language has been the role that the United Stated held as the leading
1 To know more about World Englishes, see Kachru (1992), Jenkins (2003), Kachru and Smith (2008), Kirkpatrick (2010), Schneider (2011), Meierkord (2012).
economic power in the late 19th century, triggered by the second industrial revolution and then during the 20th century, in the aftermath of the Second World War. The status acquired by the USA was crucial when the moment came to choose the lingua franca for the newly formed international organizations, starting from 1949, with the birth of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. In fact, English was often chosen as one of the official languages of such organizations, with the purpose of guaranteeing mutual understanding and facilitate communication between international institutions and diplomats. Even in the European Union, an entity that made it a mission to promote multilingualism within its institutions, English is the main working language and is often used in informal settings and encounters.
Besides, in the 1960s, the electronic revolution took place and the USA had the luck to be “in the right place at the right time” (Crystal, 2003: 121). The new electronic equipment was developed and encoded in English and then distributed to the rest of the world. This phenomenon was amplified with the advent of the Internet, which radically changed the features of communication and the way in which people interact. Communication became more dynamic, cheaper, faster and easier and ‘electronic propinquity’ (Korzenny, 1978) replaced
‘physical propinquity’, allowing people to interact from different places of the world without the need of a direct contact and face-to-face interchanges. The falling down of communication barriers was then accompanied by the collapse of commercial and political frontiers, both the result of a planned policy elaborated by the economic leading countries and of the uncontrollable forces of globalization. Goods, money, people, jobs, ideas, information became highly mobile and easily transferable and the whole process was facilitated and prompted by the new communication media. This enormous amount of daily interactions among people with different linguacultural backgrounds in a variety of fields called for the choice of a common language, a vehicle that could be then adopted and adapted to suit the different domains, genres, communicative situations and intercultural interactions. Since the Internet had been developed and implemented in the USA, the first File Transfer Protocols were logically in English, which became the main language of the medium. As Hoffman (2000: 5) puts it, English “is a sine qua non if one wants to gain access to international electronic information networks”. In the new era, launched by the world-wide web, our society is informational, global and highly networked (Poppi, 2012) and the English language is the main facilitator of this integration. Therefore, the questions are: how is English shaped to meet its new function? Who is the owner of this new variety of the language? How did communication practices change in the globalized world?
This dissertation will provide literature on the subject and will try to contribute to the research in the field and answer the above questions through an accurate analysis of empirical evidence.
1.1.1 Models of the spread of English
According to Kachru (1985), the diffusion of English is best captured in terms of three Concentric Circles: the Inner Circle, the Outer Circle and the Expanding Circle. The Inner Circle represents the traditional bases of English in the countries where it is the native language (e.g. UK, USA, Australia) ; the Outer Circle includes all the regions which were formerly colonized by Great Britain and the USA, where English is learnt as a second language and employed for intranational and institutional purposes (e.g. India, Nigeria, Singapore) and, finally, the Expanding Circle incorporates the countries in which English in mainly used as a medium for international communication and learnt as a second language (e.g. Japan, Europe, the Middle East). The difference in the use of English in the three circles is related to the spread of English around the world, usually defined in terms of two diasporas (Kachru, 1992). In the first diaspora, a monolingual English-speaking population migrated and settled in new locations, bringing along their language. The English spoken in the Inner Circle is therefore considered ‘norm providing’ (ENL – English as a Native Language). In the second diaspora, the language was successfully transplanted in new socio-cultural contexts, but only a small number of English-speaking users migrated to the new colonies of Africa and Asia. Therefore, English coexisted with the native languages of the colonies and underwent a process of nativization. In such contexts, English is said to be ‘norm developing’ (ESL – English as a Second Language). On the other hand, the English used for international purposes, as is the case of the Expanding Circle, is considered ‘norm dependent’ (EFL – English as a Lingua Franca).
Figure 1. Kachru three-circle model (1985: 12).
Kachru’s model draws the attention to the existence of several varieties of English, acknowledging their legitimacy in terms of systematicity, creativity, communicative potential and relative prestige. It demonstrated that the English language is not monolithic, but a changing complex of multiple varieties. However, as Poppi (2012: 28) highlights, “even Kachru’s influential study on the diffusion of English grants native speakers a privileged role and seems to reinforce the concept of the native speaker as the custodian of the language”. In particular, the speakers of the Expanding Circle appear to be highly ‘dependent’ on the norms established from the centre, i.e. the Inner Circle and their variety, EFL, is not granted autonomy and legitimacy in its own right.
As a consequence of the criticism he received, Kachru later revised the previous version of his model, by replacing the circular concentric circles with ovals, which were presented vertically in order to avoid the representation of the Inner Circle and its variety as the very core of the model. Besides, he provided dynamicity and fluidity to his new representation to account for the developing and everchanging nature of the language, by adopting the metaphor of the ripples in a pond, implying that new varieties of English could emerge in the future (McArthur, 1993).
Figure 2. Kachru's three-circle model of World Englishes (1992: 356)
Remarking that Kachru’s model “re-establishes the notion that the language is the property of specific groups, and that correct use is determined by experts who speak a prestige variety”, Modiano (1999a) elaborated his own model, based on the levels of proficiency of the speakers who use English for international communication. As can be observed, the core of Modiano’s model is not represented by native speakers of English, but rather by proficient speakers, i.e.
speakers who can employ the language as an efficient and effective instrument in intercultural setting and succeed in the various situational contexts of international communication.
Modiano later proposed a revised version of his representation, due to the fierce criticism he received. In his new model, he introduced the concept of the so called ‘common core’ of English as an International Language (EIL), namely a set of features of the idiom whose mastery is considered essential to succeed in international and intercultural interactions. The several varieties of English, which are put on the same non-hierarchical plane, gravitate around this common core, whose content Modiano has never defined with precision.
The two models developed by Modiano introduce an important element of innovation: they are not based on the traditional distinction between NSs and NNSs, but the main criterion of his
Figure 3. Modiano's centripetal circles (1999a: 25)
Figure 4. EIL (Modiano, 1999b: 10).
classification is the capability to employ English efficiently and effectively in international settings. This implies that the language used in intercultural encounters is no longer ENL, but a variety owned and shaped by the NNSs in their daily use. This crucial observation constitutes the basis of the ELF theory and research.
1.2 English as a Lingua Franca
As Anna Mauranen (2010: 1) points out, “English has established its position as the global lingua franca beyond any doubt” and has joined globalization, networking, economic integration and the Internet as the main symbols of the era we are living in. Similarly to what usually happens with global phenomena, the new status of English has raised several debates, in a number of disciplines. Scholars either expressed their concern and considered this particularly widespread use of the English language as a threat to local cultures and native languages or, alternatively, to the norms of Standard English, or stressed its empowering properties and its efficiency as a medium of communication in domains such as international business and academic settings (science, medicine, research, etc.). The majority of studies and debates on ELF have been carried out in the domains of Applied Linguistics and English Language Teaching (ELT), from the second half of the 20th century.
According to Samarin (1987), the term ‘lingua franca’ is employed to indicate any linguistic medium of communication between speakers of different mother tongues, who use it as a second language. This definition easily applies to local or regional lingua francas consisting of relatively stable combination of first languages (e.g. Afrikaans), but it is not broad enough to account for the modern concept of English as a Lingua Franca, which developed because of globalization and digitalization phenomena. As Graddol (1999: 57) correctly predicted “in [the]
future [English] will be a language used mainly in multilingual contexts as a second language and for communication between non-native speakers”. In fact, English is used as a contact language in a multiplicity of contexts and speakers of English as an additional or foreign language outnumber the native speakers of the language. Back in the ‘90s, Crystal estimated that 80% of speakers of English were no native speakers; today, this figure has probably increased up to 90%.
Canagarajah (2007) affirms that ELF belongs to a ‘virtual speech community’, since its speakers are not located in a circumscribed geographical area. What is noticeable is that, despite this situation of cultural and linguistic heterogeneity, they acknowledge ELF as a shared and common resource. They activate a set of mutually recognized attitudes, forms, strategies and
conventions, that can change depending on the situational context and communicative purpose.
This mutual recognition enables and ensures successful communication. Therefore, ELF is specifically constructed in each specific context of interaction, where the speakers accommodate their use of the language and the language itself to meet their interlocutors. The number of successful exchanges in English that take place every day are a proof that the interactants are perfectly able to monitor each other’s language proficiency and determine the appropriate grammar, phonology, lexical range and pragmatic conventions. As a consequence, each communicative act sees the emergence of a particular instance of ELF, which will not find a perfect correspondence in another interaction. Some scholars (Seidlhofer, Breiteneder & Pitzl 2006, Dewey 2010) draw on this uniqueness trait and even suggest that ELF should not be linguistically defined as a variety, since this term cannot capture appropriately its dynamic and fluid nature, but is associated with stability and normality.
Notwithstanding the difficulty of capturing the exact features of ELF, there have been several attempts to provide its description. The call for the reconceptualization of the language has been advocated by several authors (Kachru 1992, Jenkins 2000, Seidlhofer 2001), demanding a model that can best suit the needs of transnational encounters and provide legitimacy to the new use of the idiom. In fact, departing from the domain of TEFL (Teaching English as a Second Language), Seidlhofer suggests the existence of a ‘conceptual gap’, resulting from the way language seems to so closely tied with its NSs, their cultural background and their proficiency, so that it is difficult to conceptualize a language that is “nobody’s” yet “everybody’s”.
Consequently, EFL speakers are judged and, more importantly, judge themselves against the yardstick of native speakers’ proficiency. It is, therefore, of outmost importance to “realize that native speaker language use is just one kind of reality, and one of very doubtful relevance for lingua franca contexts” and to make NNSs aware of their vital role as “agents of language change” (Seidlhofer, 2001: 138). Besides, as suggested by Charles (2006), the NS >< NNS dichotomy is very dangerous in the domain of communication studies, since it divides the world of communication into ‘us’ and ‘them’, resulting in a ‘linguistic ethnocentricity’2, where the NSs’ way of communicating is considered superior to the others. This kind of linguistic chauvinism is clearly not feasible in our globalized society.
In particular, in the early 21st century, two main projects focused on the production of corpora of English as an international language: the VOICE project3, developed by the University of
2 Charles formulates this concept drawing on Bennett’s (1986) concept of ‘cultural ethnocentricity’.
3 The Vienna-Oxford International Corpus of English is available at [http://www.univie.ac.at/voice/].
Vienna and the ELFA project4 carried out by the University of Helsinki. These two million- corpora of spoken ELF provide a computer-readable resource for speakers that use English successfully on a daily basis all over the world, in their personal, professional or academic lives.
Taking into account the pedagogical implications of ELF, they consider ELF speakers not as language learners, but as language users in their own right. There has also been an attempt, carried out by Mollin (2006), to develop a corpus of ‘Euro-English’5, consisting of over 400,000 words of spoken and informally written English; however, the nature of the spoken data is dominant over the written data.
Moreover, basing her study on interactions collected from a wide range of NNSs conversations, Jenkins (1998, 2000, 2002, 2004) attempted to define a ‘lingua franca core’, which comprises elements such as the maintenance of the contrast between long and short vowels. She also lists features that do not seem to cause misunderstandings in lingua franca interactions (non-core).
These include the mastery of the phonetic qualities of sounds or pitch direction to signal attitude or grammatical meaning. Similarly, Seidhlofer (2004) analyses the lexicogrammatical features that prove to be unproblematic in authentic lingua franca communication. Examples of these are dropping the third-person present tense -s and confusing the relative pronouns who and which. In 2011, Jenkins, Cogo & Dewey discuss linguistic research on the levels of lexicogrammar, phonology and pragmatics. They consider typical features of ELF also omitting articles or inserting them where they do not belong, and overusing redundant prepositions.
Anyhow, research in the field has proved that ELF interactions are usually successful, despite the occurrence of grammatical mistakes, and communication breakdowns are a very rare occurrence. House, for instance, talks about the “paucity of misunderstandings” (2002: 251) in ELF interactions and Meierkord (2000: 11) concludes that ELF communication is “a form of intercultural communication characterized by cooperation rather than misunderstanding”. In fact, a general observation made by researchers is that ELF exchanges tend to be consensus- oriented, cooperative and mutually supportive. ELF speakers tend to adopt strategies in order to prevent such problems, engaging in a “proactive work” (Mauranen 2006: 135) that guarantees mutual intelligibility.
4 The corpus of English as a Lingua Franca in Academic Settings is available at [http://www.helsinki.fi/englanti/elfa/].
5 Mollin claims the formal independence of Euro-English, given that “Europe is a special case that is not easy to grasp with the instrument of distinction between ESL and EFL”, since “Europe does not fit the definitions of either ESL or EFL” (Mollin 2006).
The majority of ELF studies has therefore focused on spoken language6. However, today, countless interactive networks are now independent of physical proximity and often the participants have never met face-to-face. Virtual communities of practice have achieved significant importance and changes in communications brought about by technological advances have accelerated and caused modifications in the very nature of communication practices and media. For this reason, and for the scarcity of empirical work in written ELF, I consider it important to analyse the features and strategies adopted in the written communication media, along with the speakers’ perceptions of their use of the language.
All things considered, an ELF model could be a useful tool ELF speakers could learn and then employ in their daily interactions. This implies that ELF has reached a certain level of stability and that it holds a certain neutrality, as it is apparently not linked to any specific linguacultural background. While this could be true in a few situations, several studies, especially House (2003)7, demonstrated that, in much of the cases, interlocutors adopt diverse communicative and linguistic strategies, are influenced by interferences from their mother tongue and their culture and, ultimately, retain their local identities even in the contexts of international encounters. For this reason, I agree with Canagarajah (2013: 68)8 when he affirms “I consider it important to focus more on strategies that enable such negotiation of power and difference for meaning and communication”. Therefore, ELF is not a pre-given language that is then used by different speakers, but it emerges from the context of use. The English tokens may then consist of borrowings, reduced forms and creative new construction that show the influence of the speakers’ mother tongue. The language that results from each interaction is then a combination of the interlocutors’ proficiency and linguistic background, influenced by the accommodation strategies adopted. Variation is, therefore, at the heart of ELF, resulting in hybrid forms. In her research on the syntactic character of ELF, Meierkord (2004: 128) presented it as a heterogeneous form of English characterized by “overwhelming
6 A few other examples could be Jenkins’ study (2010) on the influence of accent on ELF intelligibility, the study carried out by Dewey (2007a) on ELF innovative lexicogrammatical features or Ranta’s findings (2010) on the syntactical features of spoken ELF.
7 In his study, House proved how students of English from different countries bring pragmatic strategies valued in their own community to facilitate communication with outsiders. For example, House found that “Asian participants employ topic management strategies in a striking way, recycling specific topic regardless of when and how the discourse has developed at any particular point”.
8 Canagarajah moves on from ELF and postulate the existence of LFE (Lingua Franca English) “which treats the pluralization of meaning and meaning-making practices as primary, considering the diversification of form as a secondary outcome”. LFE is a ‘translingual practice’ and not a ‘interlanguage’, since LFE speakers are not moving toward someone else’s target, not even that of proficient ELF speakers, because they are constructing their own norm.
correspondence to the rules of English; transfer phenomena, developmental patterns and nativized forms and simplification, regularization and levelling processes”.
Until now, the focus has been on ELF interactions between NNSs of English. However, Jenkins, Cogo and Dewey (2011) point out that today most scholars agree that ELF is used in communication by speakers of different native languages, which implies that NSs of English are also included. In fact, when engaging in cross-border communication, NSs need to take the distance from their native variety and norm, in order to accommodate their level of English to their interlocutor, applying a range of pragmatic strategies. It is usually necessary to simply the language and avoid the use of idiomaticity, otherwise communication breakdowns may occur.
I provide here below three definitions provided by ELF scholars:
ELF is a contact language between persons who share neither a common native tongue nor a common (national) culture, and for whom English is the chosen foreign language of communication. (Firth 1996: 240)
ELF interactions are defined as interactions between two or more different linguacultures in English, for none of whom English is the mother tongue. (House 1999: 74)
ELF is any use of English among speakers of different mother tongues for whom English is the communicative medium of choice, and often the only option. (Seidlhofer 2011: 7)
Clearly, the definition that best suits our purposes and our perspective on ELF is the one given by Seidlhofer, since it includes the speakers of all three of Kachru’s circles, as they all belong to the same community of practice. The ELF paradigm applies to all speakers of English in international and intercultural contexts. Its difference with the EFL (English as a Foreign Language) paradigm can be summarized in the following table.
Foreign Language (EFL) Lingua Franca (ELF) Linguacultural norms Pre-existing, re-affirmed Ad hoc, negotiated
Objectives Integration, membership in NS
Intelligibility, communication in a NNS or mixed NNS-NS interaction
Processes Imitation, adoption Accommodation, adaptation
Table 1. Conceptual differences between EFL and ELF (Seidlhofer 2011: 18).
Although some authors, especially Phillipson (2009)9, fear the elimination of linguistic diversity in favour of monolingualism and see the imposition of the English franchise as a form
9 In his essay, Phillipson defines ELF as a lingua frankensteinia, underlying the role of agency and stressing that
“there is an ironical historical continuity in lingua franca being used as the term for the language of the medieval Crusaders battling with Islam, for the language of the Franks, and currently for English as the language of the crusade of global corporatization, marketed as ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’”.
of ‘linguistic imperialism’, the role of ELF as an enabling and empowering tool is undoubtful.
Our interconnected and globalized society needs a lingua franca for effective communication.
English simply happened to be the language of choice, for the series of historic and fortuitous reason we illustrated before. This is true for all domains, including business, a field that has seen the development of a rich literature, which we think deserves a special mention for the specific purposes of our dissertation.
1.3 From ELF to BELF
Business structures started to change rapidly during the 1990s, as a direct consequence of globalization forces. Cross-borders acquisitions and mergers became a common practice and these phenomena, coupled with the increasing importance of the Internet in all social activities, led to the transformation of communication patterns. No longer did only specific units of companies interact with partners across boarders (as was the case for imports or exports of goods and services), but the entire organization had to engage in international communication, for a multiplicity of purposes. Earlier, the several departments and units dealt with the general activities of the organization locally, employing the local language. As various important issues became international in increasing multinational, multicultural and multilingual corporations and they needed to be managed, most of these organizations decided to use English for their international purposes. Many of them even elected English as their official corporate language.
However, the language employed by these internationally operating corporation was not a native-like English, but English as a lingua franca.
Building on ELF literature, several business discourse scholars have discussed English in terms of ‘International English for Business Purposes’ or ‘International Business English’ (e.g.
Bartlett & Johnson 1998). As Charles (2006: 264) points out, “the inclusion of the words international and business implies a shift in the way language is conceptualized”. Specifically, international implies that the owners of the language are no longer exclusively NSs and business provides its domain of use, as well as indicating the discourse community which represents the frame of reference to judge the efficiency and success of communication.
Observing the implications that this shift could imply for business students, several scholars (Louhiala-Salminen & Charles 2006, Louhiala-Salminen, Charles & Kankaanranta 2005, Bargiela-Chiappini, Nickerson & Planken 2007) developed and described the concept of BELF (Business English as a Lingua Franca). Specifically, BELF differs from ELF mainly because its domain is uniquely business, and its speakers can be grouped in the international business
community. Therefore, “the B for BELF is the sociopragmatic backdrop against which language – and any lexical or syntactic anomalies in it – is to be interpreted” (Charles 2006:
264). Besides, as BELF is used in the business field to get the job done, it defines the roles of language users (e.g. buyer, seller, manager), the type of job they do (e.g. negotiate deals, manage projects, lead people), the issues they face (e.g. prices, recruiting, financial plans) and the genres they employ (e.g. business email, meetings, intranet). Therefore, their ultimate objective is to “achieve the goals of a buying-selling negotiation” (Akar & Louhiala-Salminen 1999: 213), which refers both to the negotiation with external stakeholders and every-day interactions between employees within the organization.
Like many other domains, also business can be said to have developed its own ‘culture’ and, as with all cultures, the global business culture is diversified and dynamic, thanks to the action of its user. The agent of language change of BELF is the ‘International Business Discourse Community”, whose members share common values and use the instruments at their disposal for joint purposes. This community includes several ‘cultural identities’ (Jameson 2007) and is characterized by its goal-oriented interactions, drive for efficient use of time and money, and an overall aspiration for win-win scenarios among business partners (Kankaanranta & Planken 2010).
In fact, research has proved that the main goal of BELF interactions is to “get the job done”
and, for this purpose, interactants tend to adopt what Firth (1996) termed the ‘let it pass’
principle, by which they overlook mistakes and idiosyncrasies, as long as they do not hinder intelligibility. Interlocutors embrace a cooperative and collaborative approach, as they distance themselves from their own norms and activate flexible strategies that facilitate communication.
Interestingly, the mostly BELF research has not discovered significant misunderstandings, despite the presence of frequent syntactic, grammatical and lexical anomalies. This striking ability of BELF speakers to perfectly understand each other can be attributable to their common business background and shared person, with the help of genre conventions and discourse peculiarities. As speakers use BELF, a lot of learning takes place: the control the forms and practices of their interlocutors, they become conscious of their own strategies and monitor their forms. In this sense, learning never stops. Therefore, it is very difficult to assess the level of proficiency of BELF speakers: what can be judged is communicative success, pragmatic strategies, competence in negotiating interpersonal relations and intelligibility in each context of use.
Another aspect that BELF scholars emphasize is its diversity and heterogeneity. In fact, while some authors (e.g. Crystal 1997) describe ‘pidgin like’ lingua francas as neutral, in that they do not convey any emotion or identity, Meierkord (2002) argues that considering lingua francas as cultureless ignores the fact that speakers do have a cultural background and such background has a direct influence on the language they use. Meierkord defines this status of the language as ‘linguistic masala’, which she couples with the notion of ‘language stripped bare’. The latter refers to the tendency of ELF speakers to avoid complex structures or lexis; whereas the former emerges from a highly dynamic ‘communicative hybridity’, i.e. interlocutors combine their norms, cultural and linguistic backgrounds and the specific demands of the situation in order to achieve successful communication. These concepts can be easily applied to BELF as well: “in multicultural situations, the various cultures of the interactants interact with and influence encounters, which, in turn, influence the nature of discourse” (Louhiala-Salminen, Charles &
Kankaanranta 2005: 404). Therefore, it can be argued that not only do BELF speakers bring their own culture-bound views in business communications, but also discourse conventions belonging to their respective mother tongues.
Although several empirical quantitative and qualitative studies on BELF have been carried out, we are far from having a complete picture of this particular instance of English. Besides, the continuous development of communication media and the new business structures irremediably influence the way in which language is shaped and adapted to meet the needs and requirements of the new genres. This work aims to represent a contribution to the research on written BELF and its speakers’ awareness.
Table 2. Comparison between EFL and BELF approaches (Kankaanranta & Louhiala-Salminen 2013: 29).
1.4 The notion of communicative competence
As was stated before, professional communication has experienced dramatic changes due to a combination of globalization, significant advances in communication technologies and the
development of new business structures. Since communication is fundamental for the success of international encounters, it is essential that employees working “in a business context which is no longer national, but rather international and intercultural” (Poppi 2012 127) acquire a new type of communicative competence.
The notion of communicative competence is addressed mainly from the perspectives of language acquisition and communication studies. First, Chomsky (1965) made a distinction between ‘grammatical competence’ and ‘performance’. The former is the linguistic knowledge of the NS, an innate biological property of the mind that allows the NS to produce an infinite series of grammatical sentences in his/her language, whether the latter is the actual use of the language. Hymes (1972) was the first scholar to argue that Chomsky’s linguistic competence lacks the ability to form and understand utterances that are appropriate in their context of use.
He stresses that the way in which language is used for successful communication is equally significant and introduces the more extensive notion of ‘communicative competence’, which is dependent on both the speaker’s unconscious knowledge of the language and his/her ability for use, including factors such as attitudes, values and motivation. Therefore, he stresses the social nature of communicative competence and he identified the following four types:
1. What is formally possible;
2. What is feasible in virtue of the means available;
3. What is appropriate to the context of use (the social meaning of the utterance);
4. What actually occurs.
The global business professional needs to consider all four of these factors and provide an adequate response to each one of them in his/her daily operations.
Later, it was Canale and Swain (1980) who applied the concept of communicative competence to the context of second language teaching. They defined it as “a synthesis of knowledge of basic grammatical principles, knowledge of how language is used in social settings to perform communicative functions and knowledge of how utterances and communicative functions can be combined according to the principles of discourse” (Canale & Swain 1980: 20). Accordingly, they identified four different areas:
1. Grammatical competence (phonology, morphology, vocabulary, word and sentence formation);
2. Sociolinguistic competence (cultural values, norms and other socio-cultural conventions that influence styles and registers of speech);
3. Discourse competence (ability to understand and produce utterances in the modes of speaking, listening, writing and reading, as well as cohesion, i.e. grammatical links, and coherence, i.e. proper combination of communicative functions);
4. Strategic competence (verbal and non-verbal strategies to compensate for breakdowns, e.g. self-correction, repetition, paraphrase, clarification, recognition of discourse structures, activation of background knowledge, contextual guessing, tolerance of ambiguity).
Canale and Swain’s conceptual framework is especially useful for the purpose of the present research, since the data analysed does not only consist of the speakers’ perception, but also of actual communicative events. In fact, as Widdowson (1996) points out, competence and ability for use “are inseparably connected, being even mutually prerequisite to each other”.
For what concerns communication studies, communicative competence has been described as effective and appropriate interaction (e.g. Wiemann & Backlund 1980, Canary and Spitzberg 1989). Effectiveness depends on the recipient’s reaction to the communicative act, whereas appropriateness refers to suitability for situation and social conventions. The emphasis is very much on the goal-oriented nature of communicative competence and on the elements that, according to the specific situation and domain of use, guarantee effectiveness. In fact, Philipps (2000: 212) appropriately defines communicative competence as “a situational ability to set realistic and appropriate goals and to maximize their achievement by using knowledge of self, other, context, and communication theory to generate adaptive communication performances”.
In particular, for what concerns intercultural communication, which is the common setting of the corpus under analysis, the relevance of the context is especially significant (Chen &
Starosta, 2008). The interlocutors know how to use the language according to the situation, being aware of the cultural differences that may influence discourse. Accordingly, the main objective of this dissertation is to analyse the language employed in a specific communicative situation: business interactions. For this purpose, we will adopt the Global Communicative Competence model, described in the following paragraph.
1.5 The Global Communicative Competence model
Kankaraanta and Louhiala-Salminen affirm that their aim as teachers of English Business Communication (EBC) and International Business Communication (IBC) at the Aalto University School of Economics (AaltoECON) in Helsinki is to “train students to be flexibly competent and to understand that no rigid norms exist in lingua franca communication”
(Kankaaranta & Louhiala-Salminen 2007: 56). Accordingly, they declare that “the first lesson for them [students] to learn is that a grammatically and lexically ‘correct’ message doesn’t necessarily do the job, but a message with many ‘mistakes’ may do so” (Kankaaranta &
Louhiala-Salminen 2007: 56). Consequently, the question is: what are the elements that make up the communicative competence of a business professional?
In order to account for the need for description, the two scholars engaged in a qualitative research on BELF users’ perceptions10 and developed a particular model of communicative competence applied to the business context: the Global Communicative Competence model, which considers language a key component.
As can be observed, the outer layers from inside out of multicultural competence, BELF competence and business knowhow are essential to form the innermost part of the model, i.e.
the GCC of a business professional.
First, the findings of Kankaanranta and Louhiala-Salminen’s survey proved that business knowhow was taken for granted by respondents, since it was considered common knowledge among professionals. In fact, the common answer to the question “How do you know that you have succeeded in your communication?” was “getting the job done”. The community of business practitioners knows exactly what the latter expression entails in general and in each particular case, but an outsider probably does not. Sometimes, the business culture is so deeply-
10 The study is part of a larger research project titled “Does business know how? The role of business and corporate communication in the business knowhow of globalized and globalizing companies”. Its aim is to identify the features that are perceived as essential to successful communication in global business, focusing on language competence, the role of culture and business knowhow. For this purpose, a questionnaire was sent to the employees of five internationally operating company.
Figure 5. Global Communicative Competence Model (Kankaanranta & Louhiala-Salminen 2011: 257).