Interpreting internationalisation: Interlinguistic mediators in the Japanese organisational economy

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A large organisation is a complex economy of values, ideas and functions. The introduction of a new operational paradigm can generate further complexity and fresh opportunities for actors within the organisation to invest in different collective and individual agendas. Those equipped with skills which are privileged under the new paradigm are likely to perform crucial roles in both personifying and mediating the transformation of organisational culture which ensues. This paper scrutinises the place of interlinguistic mediators in these dynamics of organisational economy, through the lens of internationalisation in Japan. Many large companies and educational institutions in Japan have recently adopted internationalisation as a central theme for organisational reform, pursuing strategies such as alignment with international standards and procedures, deployment of non-Japanese personnel and the use of languages other than Japanese in the workplace. Ethnographic analysis is used in this paper to explore the roles played by such interlinguistic mediators in giving concrete form to this internationalisation agenda and facilitating the organisational transactions of ideas and identities surrounding it. It is argued that a focus on mediators professional status and technical capacity as interlinguistic facilitators in the conventional sense tends to obscure the fact that they are also autonomous actors in the organisational economy with significant freedom to shape the processes of internationalisation which they exemplify.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172 - 189
Number of pages18
JournalCultus: the Journal of intercultural mediation and communication
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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