Expatriates' willingness to learn the host country language: The role of superiority and inferiority

Ling Zhang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Despite the emerging stream on language issues in multinational companies (MNC), little research has focused on the host country language competence of expatriates working in MNCs' foreign subsidiaries. I explore how expatriates react differently to the learning of host country language, particularly on their perception of the difficulty of learning the host country language. 55 expatriates and their local colleagues in 9 Nordic MNCs' subsidiaries were interviewed in China in 2006, 2007 and 2012. My findings demonstrate that there is a superiority-inferiority relationship between expatriates and host country employees in MNCs. Such power relationship influences expatriates' development of host country language competences.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication13th Annual Conference of the European Academy of Management Proceedings
Publication date06.2013
Publication statusPublished - 06.2013
MoE publication typeA4 Article in conference proceedings
Event13th Conferences of the European Academy of management (EURAM) - Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: 26.06.201329.06.2013
Conference number: 13


  • 612,1 Languages
  • Expatriate
  • Superiority
  • Inferiority


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