A chorus of different tongues: Official corporate language fluency and informal influence in multinational teams
Keywords: 
Language
Status
Informal influence
Multinational teams
Voice
Leadership emergence
Issue Date: 
13-Apr-2024
Publisher: 
Elsevier
ISSN: 
1095-9920
Editorial note: 
This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Citation: 
Guzman, F. A. (Felipe A.); Reiche, B.S. (B. Sebastian). "A chorus of different tongues: Official corporate language fluency and informal influence in multinational teams". Organizational behavior and human decision processes. 182 (2024), 2024-04-13, 104334
Abstract
Multinational team members commonly face challenges to influence their peers to attain shared work goals in a language different from their mother tongue. However, the mechanisms linking multinational team members’ official corporate language fluency and their displays of informal influence are not well understood. Drawing from status characteristics theory, we propose that peer-granted status mediates the relationship between fluency in the official corporate language and informal influence. We tested this prediction across two field studies and two experiments utilizing three different operationalizations of informal influence: voice behavior, voice quality, and leadership emergence. Overall, we demonstrate that members fluent in the official corporate language receive higher peer-granted status than their less fluent peers, and this relationship is stronger in teams whose members primarily converse in a common non-corporate language. In turn, high-status members engage in voice more frequently, and are more likely to convey voice quality and emerge as leaders.
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