Exploring the nexus of language, intercultural competence and leadership in ‘global talent’ education

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


This paper proposes a re-engagement with the issue of foreign language proficiency in the context of global talent development (gurōbaru jinzai ikusei) in Japan. Over the past decade, the concept of global talent has become a major fixture in the policy and practice of both higher education and in-house training. While the parameters of this concept have gradually become more well-defined, language continues to occupy a rather indeterminate and controversial place within it.
On the one hand, some approaches to cultivating and rewarding global talent give heavy emphasis to proficiency in languages other than Japanese – most often English – inciting intense debate over the potentials and pitfalls of re-defining the language of business in Japanese organisations. At the other end of the spectrum are approaches to global talent development in the framework of intercultural competence, distinct from specific linguistic or sociocultural knowledge and more closely connected to other generic competences such as leadership and creativity. In these discussions the importance of looking beyond language often becomes an excuse for looking through it. Language is rendered the ‘elephant in the room’ for the monolingual majority of the Japanese workforce: its existence largely ignored in theory but inevitably confronted at grassroots level in workplaces and educational institutions.
This paper seeks firstly to map this broad landscape of policy and practice, and secondly to initiate more focused discussion on how best to incorporate the language dimension meaningfully into the study, and the practice, of globalising Japanese business.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventInternational Conference on Global Business Leadership and Suistainability - Meiji University, Tokyo, Japan
Duration: 2 Sep 2017 → …


ConferenceInternational Conference on Global Business Leadership and Suistainability
Period2/09/17 → …

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