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Language and translation in international management research

Monday, June 11th, 2018

 

  • Symposium announcement:
    Dr Huiping Xian, Lecturer in Human Resources Management and Organisational Behaviour at Sheffield University Management, is organising a symposium on language and translation at the European Academy of Management Conference 2018


Increasingly, research projects are located across the globe and therefore situated in countries, regions and institutions which are culturally, socially, politically and linguistically diverse.  Researchers collect empirical data that is frequently expressed in local languages. Yet at the crucial moment of dissemination of knowledge and in particular at the publication stage, English is often recognised as the only legitimate language, as if it captures the experience of all ‘others’.

The symposium is located in a field of inquiry, which concerns itself with the role of languages and translation in international business/management research. Currently, this research stream focuses on the existence of language diversity at international workplaces. The symposium takes the ideas emanating from this body of work forward by asking more specific questions about the role of translation as a concomitant aspect of language diversity. Questions which will be addressed pertain to designing, conducting, reporting and disseminating international research. These include aspects relating to philosophical-ontological questions, the empirical research process, and the role of English in the publication world.

Panelists with expertise in international research will share their experience and explore theoretical, methodological and practical issues in both quantitative and qualitative research. Three broad themes will be explored:

  • Publish or perish – in English: This contribution explores implicit, unacknowledged assumptions about the publication of research accounts written in English in order to achieve the status of legitimate, recognisable and valid knowledge. This assumption is supported by references to journal ranking lists, which provide an institutionally sanctioned tool to categorise the value of published knowledge. This theme focuses on the ‘consequences of knowledge’ and provides practical ideas about how to challenge this English language dominance without endangering its power as a bridging language to capture empirical and conceptual diversity through translation.
  • Translation in empirical projects: This theme explores crucial issues in the translation process, such as who translates, what and how, how to report this into written research accounts, what gets left out, or added on in the translation process, what gets created? In the symposium, we will discuss protocols how to report such data in written research account.
  • Translation of bodies of knowledge: This theme focuses on the dissemination of knowledge to a multilingual audience. Western bodies of knowledge serving as a guiding conceptual framework in ‘other’ contexts have been considered as standard practice in international research. We will explore different ways of developing indigenous research/knowledge. Issues of training next generation of international researchers will also be discussed.

This workshop will be of interest to researchers and doctoral candidates undertaking research in a language other than English, and to academics, who are native English speakers but working in multi-cultural and multi-lingual projects.

 

Symposium Title: Multilingual research, monolingual publication: Language & translation in international management research

Organiser: Dr Huiping Xian, University of Sheffield

Time: 21st June, 14:00-15:30

Venue: Arnagardar Building A201, University of Iceland

Chair: Professor Susanne Tietze, Sheffield Hallam University

Discussants:

  • Professor Bill Lee, University of Sheffield
  • Dr Huiping Xian, University of Sheffield
  • Dr Philippe Lecomte, Toulouse Business Schoool
  • Dr Nan Jiang, University of Westminster
  • Dr Outila Virpi, Aalto University
  • Dr Natalie Wilmot, Sheffield Hallam University

Breaking down barriers: Japanese organisations learn about obstacles for women’s career development

Friday, September 1st, 2017

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Japan has one of the most educated female populations in the world, yet women continue to face substantial difficulties in advancing their careers. Dr Huiping Xian (pictured above, left) from the Management School has used a British Academy research grant to identify the obstacles and how to overcome them

Huiping recently presented her findings at J.P. Morgan’s Tokyo head office, an event supported hosted by the financial services firm which welcomed 40 attendees from academia and industry, including managers from large Japanese firms like Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT), Tsukuba Bank Group, Dydo Pharmaceutical Corporation, Sekisui House and Information Services International-Dentsu, Ltd.

In her presentation, Huiping compared employment and career issues which women face in China, the UK and Japan. Her presentation drew knowledge and findings from the research project, in which her team conducted 25 face-to-face interviews with Japanese women who hold managerial and professional roles.

Following the interviews, researchers identified four issues which are hindering women’s career development in Japanese firms: gender bias against women; masculine organisational culture and practices; the difficulty of combining work and family; and the lack of female role models and mentors.

Huiping hopes that by holding events in business settings, Japanese firms will pay attention to the issues: “It is essential that organisations start to tackle issues that prevent women from progressing, such as long-hours culture and lack of support for women.

“I learned that J.P. Morgan has an informal group, based on their global network, which aims to promote better work-life balance for their employees – it is encouraging that their Vice President Marketing and Communications, Ms Ayako Asano, attended the workshop. This shows that it is on the agenda for large Japanese organisations.

“We would like Japanese organisations to train line managers to help support women in their team, ask successful women in their company to mentor and share experiences, and consider implementing policies which limit the number of overtime hours and encourage work-life balance.”

Huiping is Principal Investigator on this project, ‘Developing women’s careers in Japan’. Research has been done in collaboration with colleagues at Bournmouth University (UK) and the Women and Work Research Centre (Japan). Images courtesy of Kanae Toyama. Click here to view slide from the discussed research.