Multicultural and Multilingual Employees: Bridging Activities, Cognitive Schemas, and Social Capital Formation

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Dokumentart: PhDThesis
Date: 2020-05-15
Language: English
Faculty: 6 Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Department: Wirtschaftswissenschaften
Advisor: Pudelko, Markus (Prof. Dr.)
Day of Oral Examination: 2020-04-29
DDC Classifikation: 330 - Economics
Keywords: Mehrsprachigkeit , Interkulturelles Management
Other Keywords:
multicultural individuals
multilingual individuals
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Not least due to increasing migration flows and a globalized world, multicultural and multilingual employees gain increasing importance in organizations across the globe. Some international business scholars have recently started to recognize the role of multiculturals, and others to far lesser degree the effects of multilinguals on organizational processes. However, the largely fragmented approach fails to acknowledge the interrelated nature of culture and language and with that, how multiculturalism and multilingualism can have intertwined or separate effects on cross-cultural and cross-lingual issues in organizations. As such, the dissertation aims to close this practically and conceptually relevant gap by taking an integrated approach to the study of multicultural and multilingual employees. The three papers of the dissertation are based on an inductive qualitative analysis of 154 semi-structured interviews. The first paper proposes four roles that multiculturals and multilinguals adopt as bridge individuals. Findings show the specific assets and shortcomings these individuals draw on and implement to bridge cultural and language barriers. The second paper reveals both the distinct and interrelated knowledge and information multicultural and multilingual individuals store in their minds in the form of cognitive schemas. The resulting framework shows the nuances of two sub-schemas, one relating to the knowledge and skills, and one relating to the strategies in developing these. The third paper sheds light on the processes and outcomes of forming social capital based on multicultural and multilingual characteristics. The findings show how different mechanisms lead to a higher breadth and depth of their language-specific, culture-specific and culture-general social capital. The dissertation contributes to multiple areas of international business research: First and foremost, to the nascent stream about multicultural and multilingual employees, and further, to research about bridge individuals and social capital formation. The dissertation discusses managerial implications and opportunities for future research.

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