Corporate Languages and Strategic Agility: Trapped in Your Jargon or Lost in Translation?

by Yves Doz, Mary Brannen



While all of us recognize that languagematters in the obvious case of different national languages, or in formal strategic communication to employees or stakeholders, the importance of a firm’s informal language as an enabler or constraint for growth and strategic agility has not been recognized. Using qualitative data from in-depth empirical comparative studies, this article develops a conceptual framework for diagnosing two types of strategic language traps and their origins commonly encountered by firms as they attempt to enter new business domains as well as in acquisition driven growth and alliances. It proposes solutions for companies to overcome their specific language trap and enable strategic agility.

California Management Review

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Published at Berkeley Haas for more than sixty years, California Management Review seeks to share knowledge that challenges convention and shows a better way of doing business.

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