Speaking Up in a Non-Native Tongue: Status, Voice, and Leadership Emergence in Multinational Teams
Fri, 03/01/2024, 1:00pm-2:30pm

Join the Center for Global Work and Employment and the Center for a Research Talk by B. Sebastian Reiche, PhD of IESE Business School.

Friday, March 1, 2024
1:00pm - 2:30pm ET
Room 103, Janice H. Levin Building
Livingston Campus

PLEASE RSVP by February 23 (a Zoom link will be sent to those who register at this survey indicating virtual attendance).

For more information, contact Maria Kraimer at maria.kraimer@rutgers.edu.


As organizations become more global, multinational team members increasingly need to speak and accomplish tasks in a language different from their mother tongue—often English. At the same time, low foreign language fluency may prevent team members from speaking up. Drawing from status characteristics theory, we explore how foreign language fluency affects voice and leadership emergence in multinational teams. We propose that peer-granted status mediates the relationship between foreign language fluency and our proposed outcomes. Across four studies, we find that team members fluent in a common foreign language receive higher peer-granted status than their less fluent peers, and this relationship is stronger in teams whose members primarily converse in the local language. In turn, high-status members display voice behavior more frequently, and they are also more likely to convey voice quality and emerge as team leaders. We discuss implications for research on voice, status, and language in multinational teams.

About the Speaker

Photo of Ya-Wen Lei

B. Sebastian Reiche is Professor of the Department of Managing People in Organizations at IESE. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Melbourne, Australia.

Prof. Reiche’s research focuses on international assignments and forms of global work, knowledge transfer, talent retention, culture and language in global organizations, and global leadership. He has received several research awards from the Academy of Management, including the Barry Richman Best Dissertation Finalist Award and the International HRM Scholarly Research Award in two consecutive years, as well as the Journal of International Business Silver Medal for his contributions to international business research.

His research has appeared in scholarly journals such as Academy of Management Discoveries, Journal of International Business Studies, Organization Science, Personnel Psychology, Journal of Management Studies, Human Relations, Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, Human Resource Management, and Journal of World Business, among many others. He has also guest edited several special issues in academic journals. His research and expertise have been featured in international press, including The Economist, The Financial Times, Forbes, BBC Capital, Handelsblatt (Germany), El País (Spain), and Você RH (Brazil).

Prof. Reiche is Associate Editor of Human Resource Management Journal and co-editor of Advances in Global Leadership. Prof. Reiche has taught at the University of Melbourne (Australia), Nile University (Egypt), and AESE Business School (Portugal). He has consulted with companies such as SAP, Haier, Wacker, Boehringer Ingelheim, and Puig, and has designed, directed and delivered Custom Executive Education programs for a number of companies, including Boehringer Ingelheim, SAP, Deutsche Bank, Deloitte, and Rijk Zwaan. Prof. Reiche advises start-ups in the human capital space and regularly blogs on the topic of global work.