Arjen van Witteloostuijn
Anne-Wil Harzing, University of Melbourne
NOI project BOF UA
In this project, we investigate the impact of both exposure to the Anglophone culture and the use of English vis-à-vis other cultures and languages on actual behaviour in business and economic settings. In so doing, this project is at the interface of Business / Economics, on the one hand, and Linguistics, on the other hand. This implies that new territory will be entered. Steppingstone is the pilot study of Akkermans, Harzing and van Witteloostuijn (2008). In this study, three arguments are explored. First, cultural accommodation by living in another culture for a while may have a long-lasting but partially dormant influence on behaviour. Second, foreign language is a prime, activating behaviour associated with this language. Third, a foreign language is expected to be a particularly forceful prime for those who have lived in a country where this language is spoken. Testing their predictions in an experiment with 358 Dutch students, Akkermans et al. found that previous exposure to an Anglophone culture with higher values for masculinity, performance orientation and assertiveness negatively influences cooperative behaviour in a prisoner’s dilemma game when the game is played in English. The two-fold aim of this project is to
Akkermans, D.H.M., A.-W. Harzing & A. van Witteloostuijn (2010), Cultural Accommodation and Language Priming: Competitive versus cooperative behavior in a prisoner’s dilemma game, Management International Review (forthcoming).
- extend experimental work on the impact of language to a variety of country-language pairs, as well as other game settings than the prisoner’s dilemma, and
- explore the impact of language in a (small) selection of field settings, particularly in multilingual business teams that experienced a change in the dominant language.