Our researchers investigate the effects of communication strategy and language choice in organizational settings on stakeholders with diverse backgrounds (e.g. in health communication, advertising or management-employee communication). They also study linguistic factors that may be of influence in interpersonal settings (e.g. how a particular foreign language accent or communication style is perceived in a business meeting or job interview involving participants with diverse backgrounds). Specifically, we study the role that language, and cultural and linguistic diversity, play in organisational and interpersonal communication and how these factors may be taken into account to design effective communication.

We use a multi-method approach in our research, featuring cross-linguistic and cross-cultural methodologies, and ranging from surveys to corpus analysis and experiments.

Examples of research themes:

  • Investigating the impact of the use of multiple languages (code-switching), or the use of a ‘shared’ language (a lingua franca such as English), on communication processes and outcomes (e.g. in team meetings or problem-solving tasks).
  • Comparing the influence of a localised communication style (i.e. adapted culturally to a specific target group) with the influence of a standardised (universal) communication style on target group perceptions of inclusiveness and on their behaviour.
  • Examining the relationship between intercultural awareness and employee’s job performance and well-being.
  • Investigating the role of intercultural awareness and foreign language competence in employee’s communication success.
  • Examining the effects of non-nativeness in oral or written organisational communication (e.g. accentedness, non-native information structure, non-native language errors or non-native pragmatics) on target group perceptions.
  • Investigating what communication strategies non-natives use to facilitate international (e.g. cross-cultural) communication, to solve potential comprehension problems and to promote common understanding and inclusiveness.


What our research means for your Master’s thesis

For your Master’s thesis, you will investigate a research question or hypothesis that is relevant to one of the research themes currently being investigating in our department.

A sample of past Master’s thesis topics in International Business Communication:

  • Multilingualism and intercultural competence as predictors for expatriate success in a globally operating organisation (survey study and interviews)
  • The effects of language choice in advertising: the use of English versus Spanish on Mexican consumers (experiment)
  • The perception of non-verbal communication in intercultural job interviews (experiment)
  • Politeness strategies in Russian versus English email requests: occurrence and effects (corpus study and experiment)
  • Using a lingua franca in international meetings: impact on users and communication effectiveness (corpus analysis and interviews)
  • Foreign languages as attention getters in advertising: effects on readers (experiment)
  • Safety on the multilingual work floor: the role of language choice and leadership styles on employees’ perceptions of safety (survey and interview study)