Standardization and contextualization: A study of language and leadership across 17 countries

Lena Zander*, Audra I. Mockaitis, Anne Wil Harzing, Joyce Baldueza, Wilhelm Barner-Rasmussen, Cordula Barzantny, Anne Canabal, Anabella Davila, Alvaro Espejo, Rita Fernandes Ferreira, Axéle Giroud, Kathrin Koester, Yung Kuei Liang, Michael J. Morley, Barbara Myloni, Joseph O.T. Odusanya, Sharon Leiba O'Sullivan, Ananda Kumar Palaniappan, Paulo Prochno, Srabani Roy ChoudhuryAyse Saka-Helmhout, Sununta Siengthai, Ayda Uzuncarsili Soydas, Linda Viswat

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


With multinational corporations increasingly adopting English as a corporate language, the issue of language management and the pros and cons of language standardization have been widely debated in the literature. Our 17-country study considers whether the use of English as a common corporate language causes difficulties. We empirically examine whether managerial reactions to specific leadership scenario-based situations change as a consequence of the language they use. Our results show that the choice of language (native or English) does not matter much for the studied leadership scenarios. Instead, leadership decisions and reactions depend more on cultural and situational context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296-304
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of World Business
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Context
  • Cultural accommodation
  • Culture
  • Language
  • Leadership
  • Multinational company


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