Many researchers agree that multicultural teams are a “double-edged sword” with the potential for high levels of creativity and production, but also conflict. This paper argues that effective communication is vital for developing “virtuous,” rather than vicious, circles and that research into (B)ELF offers an insight into what effective communication in multicultural and multilingual teams can look like. The conceptual frame develops research into ELF and BELF by also drawing on organisational and management research to examine team processes and the role of language within them. The second part of the paper presents illustrative examples from data collected in an ethnographic study from an English-medium marketing master’s programme at WU Vienna. The students’ teamwork project comprises an international market entry simulation and can be seen as a training ground for managing both business content and team processes. The findings indicate that both the ELF context and the ELF talk furthered the development of rapport, and that the students’ “casual talk” supported their “work talk.” The paper finishes with a call for more empirical research into language use among recent business graduates and how to prepare students better for a globalised workplace.
Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)
- 602004 General linguistics
- 602008 English studies
- 503029 Language teaching research