IBC PhD programme: Professional Intercultural Communication

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1 March 2014 IBC PhD programme: Professional Intercultural Communication The PhD programme in Professional Intercultural Communication (PINC) is hosted by the Department of International Business Communication at CBS and it is offered within the general framework of the LIMAC PhD school at CBS (http://www.cbs.dk/en/research/phd-programmes/phd-schools ). 1. Outline The central theme of the IBC PhD programme is professional intercultural communication with particular focus on uni- or multilingual communication across cultures in the broadest sense of the term i.e. across national as well as organizational and other kinds of sub-cultures. The programme is designed to train young researchers to generate new knowledge about professional intercultural communication, taking their point of departure in the linguistic and communicative challenges faced by businesses and organizations in a global world with considerable linguistic and cultural diversity. The central concern of the programme is to explore how this linguistic and cultural diversity affects the internal and external relations of the business or organization and how language and culture contribute to creating a sense of identity and understanding of the world. Thus, the programme is focused on internal communication and cooperation in the organization (e.g. with overseas branches) as well as on external communication and cooperation both in terms of external partners and interaction with markets and society at large. Core research areas in the programme: Professional communication: the linguistic and communicative interaction between agents within and surrounding an organization or business employees, management, customers, partners, society, etc. The intercultural aspect of communication: exploration of the challenges and barriers to communication across culturally diverse groups, as manifested in different linguistic and communicative practices. The interlingual aspect of communication: exploration of the challenges and barriers to communication faced by multilingual environments and working relationships, including an understanding of the impact of language on collective identity formation and understanding of the world. 1

2 2. The need for researchers in professional intercultural communication More than ever, businesses and organizations need to act on an international scale, in the context of the European Union as well as globally. New media and communication technologies facilitate this international dimension at all organizational levels. Businesses employ overseas staff, have overseas branches, cooperate with foreign companies and sell their products or services in foreign markets. Similarly, organizations and government authorities are involved in international cooperation and need to adapt to an increasingly transnational labour market. Globalization, however, has not diminished linguistic and cultural diversity; on the contrary, demands increase on the ability of businesses and organizations to exploit the potential of this diversity, on one hand, and to overcome the barriers it invariably creates, on the other. Thus, for example, the branding of the business and its products, as well as documentation and communication with external partners constantly need adaptation to changing linguistic and cultural conditions. Globalization also has consequences for internal communication and cooperation in the business or organization. Language plays an important role in the creation of a sense of identity and belonging, and the linguistic identity of the individual employee must be acknowledged at the same time as the need for a common language for the whole group of employees is accommodated. These challenges are already recognized but there is a growing need for knowledge about the options available for handling them in an organizational setting; furthermore global dynamics and market developments constantly change the challenges and their contexts. It is therefore vital to enhance the professional ability proactively to meet changing conditions and expectations. In addition, since globalized, instant communication and the technologies enabling it are relatively recent phenomena, the problems and barriers arising from them are only now becoming accessible as relevant empirical data for description and analysis. Moreover, understanding what constitutes relevant linguistic and cultural competences and how to achieve such competences remain key concerns. This means that there is a demand for researchers with expertise in the linguistic and cultural challenges inherent in a world which may have become smaller but which is nevertheless characterized by distinctive linguistic and cultural differences. It also means that there is a need for researchers who, on the basis of new empirical data, can produce research results about the influence of linguistic and cultural diversity on the working conditions of businesses and organizations - knowledge which is necessary in order to ensure their operation and competitiveness in this globalized world. Examples of research areas within the PhD programme: 1. Business narratives in an intercultural perspective 2. Localization of product presentations and product documentation in an intercultural perspective 3. Negotiation techniques in an intercultural setting 4. Translation in an intercultural perspective 2

3 5. Identifying and acquiring intercultural and interlingual competences 6. Identity and language in an organization 7. English as Business Lingua Franca 8. Language policy 9. Text genre and text structure across cultures 10. Internal communication in a multilingual business 11. The influence of the mother tongue on the use and perception of English 12. Communication processes and their agents in an intercultural perspective 13. Cognition, culture and language typology 14. Communication technology and its role in communication across cultures and languages. 3. Career opportunities PhDs graduating from the programme qualify for jobs in businesses and organizations with an international profile, including public institutions such as ministries and authorities who cooperate with international partners. PhDs also qualify for teaching and research positions at universities and other institutions of further education. Examples of job functions: 1. Management of internal and external communication in companies and organizations 2. Development of language strategies and strategic language solutions in communications units 3. Development of translation, language and communication strategies in translation companies 4. Development of language and communication strategies and solutions in organizations and institutions 5. Development of innovative language and communication solutions for intercultural marketing in export and marketing companies 6. Development of language programmes in lifelong learning contexts 7. Teaching and research at universities or in higher secondary education 4. Learning objectives for the PhD programme The programme consists of three components: PhD project The key element of the programme is an individual research project, carried out by the student under supervision and documented in a dissertation. The topic of the project is within the fields of communication, intercultural studies and/or interlingual studies as outlined above. Usually the project takes its point of departure in a problem or challenge faced by a business or organization, and as a rule the key research questions and the relevant data are derived from a business or organization. 3

4 Course work The PhD student attends courses which support and enhance his or her work on the research project. This includes a number of courses offered at CBS under this PhD programme as well as PhD courses offered elsewhere in Denmark and internationally. Unless the PhD student is subject to the rules governing industrial PhD students, he or she is also expected to spend at least three months at another, preferably foreign, university, where it will also be possible to follow courses. Teaching and dissemination Unless the PhD student is subject to the rules governing industrial PhD students, he or she is required to teach a number of courses within the field of the research project. The student also carries out dissemination such as participation in conferences and workshops, presentations at courses, appearances in the media (newspaper articles, radio programmes, etc). Workshops and courses can be organized in cooperation with businesses or organizations. A PhD student of this programme is capable of carrying out independent research within the area of professional intercultural communication. He or she is able to contribute to the field with new knowledge about the challenges and barriers in a business or organization based on analysis of its linguistic and intercultural challenges and on thorough knowledge of existing research and acknowledged methods. The PhD student is thus able to suggest research- based models for how businesses and organizations can most profitably handle such challenges and barriers. Such knowledge about intercultural factors and communication and about how to turn it into strategies for implementation is a precondition for the optimization of business communication and action in intercultural and interlingual contexts. Through course work supporting his or her independent research, a PhD student gains theoretical and practical insights into the following areas: Linguistic aspects of corporate life, including communication management, language policy and English as a lingua franca Intercultural issues and identity, including cultural awareness, intercultural communication and linguistic and culture-bound perceptions Quantitative and qualitative methods for studying communication and identity formation 5. Competences Upon completion of the programme, the PhD has acquired the competences to: create new knowledge by generating and analysing data related to related to interlingual and intercultural challenges and barriers in businesses and organizations suggest new models for interlingual and intercultural diversity and interaction in organizational contexts disseminate these insights to national and international audiences 4

5 implement and manage policies and practices within and between organizations related to interlingual and intercultural communication 6. Infrastructure The structure and organization of the PhD programme and the PhD school, LIMAC, encourage the student s independent research and offer the student a supportive environment: Close contact to supervisor(s) Close contact to an active research environment Close contact to other PhD students Close contact to the PhD coordinator Close contact to businesses and organizations The programme aims for an empirical foundation in the research of the students, based on data and problems gathered from businesses and organizations. Close contacts with businesses or other organizations are thus an important feature of all the projects in the programme. 7. Course work The programme presupposes student participation in courses which are relevant for and enhance the research project. Course participation constitutes 30 ECTS points of the full three-year programme. As a rule, courses offered by the programme, within its particular thematic focus, make up 15 of the 30 ECTS points. The remaining 15 ECTS points are covered by courses chosen by the PhD student among other PhD courses available across CBS, nationally or internationally. The specialized courses offered by the IBC PhD programme cover such areas as: 1. Intercultural cognition and intercultural competence: linguistic and social practices in different cultures, including the acquisition of this competence 2. Linguistic identity in organizations 3. Quantitative methods for studying communication in businesses and organizations, including methods for data analysis 4. Qualitative methods for studying communication in businesses and organizations, for example discourse analysis, Conversation Analysis 5. Language and culture management policy 5

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