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Journal of English as a Lingua Franca

Ed. by Seidlhofer, Barbara / Dewey, Martin

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CiteScore 2017: 1.25

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.397
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.123

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2191-933X
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“Cool my doubt is erased”: constructive disagreement and creating a psychologically safe space in multicultural student teamwork

Miya Komori-Glatz
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Foreign Language Business Communication, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, Welthandelsplatz 1, 1020 Vienna, Austria
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Published Online: 2018-08-29 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jelf-2018-0012

Abstract

This paper investigates the roles of disagreement and trust in multicultural teamwork on an English-medium master’s programme at an Austrian business university. The teamwork project – assigned by the content teacher – took place mostly outside the classroom and simulated business practice both in terms of the tasks and the multicultural context. Each team comprised two Austrian students and two international students, resulting in an English as a lingua franca (ELF) setting. The teams were observed and audio-/video-recorded, with the analysis focusing on an early stage of the project where they laid the groundwork for the team mental models in terms of establishing the team goals, relationships and communicative practices. Additionally, retrospective interviews were conducted at the end of the project with each of the team members and the lecturer to gain emic insights into the project. The findings suggest a symbiotic relationship between disagreement and trust, in which high levels of trust and the construction of a psychologically safe space allow the team members to disagree with and challenge each other without damaging their relationships, leading to better decisions. In turn, these decisions can contribute to a sense of shared success that strengthens the team’s joint identity.

Zusammenfassung

Diese Arbeit erforscht die Rolle von Nichtübereinstimmung und Vertrauen in multikultureller Teamarbeit im Rahmen eines englischsprachigen Masterstudiums an einer österreichischen Wirtschaftsuniversität. Das Teamprojekt wurde vom Vortragenden erstellt und fand hauptsächlich außerhalb des Hörsaals statt. Die Aufgabe und das multikulturelle Team simulierte eine berufliche Tätigkeit in einem Kontext, wo Englisch die lingua franca bzw. Arbeitssprache war. Die Teams wurden bei ihrer Arbeit beobachtet und mit Audio und Video aufgenommen. Die Analyse fokussierte auf einem frühen Teil des Projekts, wo die Teammitglieder Grundlagen für ihre Ziele, die Gruppenbildung und ihre gemeinsamen kommunikativen Praktiken etablieren konnten. Interviews mit den Teammitgliedern und dem Vortragenden wurden auch am Ende des Projekts durchgeführt, um Erkenntnisse aus ihrem Blickwinkel zu erhalten. Die Ergebnisse deuten darauf hin, dass Teams, wo Vertrauen vorhanden ist, es sich erlauben können, Nichtübereinstimmung auszudrücken und Beiträge von anderen Teammitgliedern in Frage zu stellen, ohne die Beziehung zu beschädigen, was zu besseren Entscheidungen führen kann. Diese Entscheidungen führen wiederum zum gemeinsamen Erfolg und einer gestärkten Teamidentität.

Keywords: English as a lingua franca (ELF); English-medium instruction (EMI); multicultural teamwork; disagreement; epistemics; trust

Schlagworte: Englisch als Arbeitssprache; Englisch als Unterrichtssprache; multikulturelle Teamarbeit; Nichtübereinstimmung; Gruppenbildung; Vertrauen

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About the article

Miya Komori-Glatz

Miya Komori-Glatz is a Senior Lecturer at WU Vienna University of Economics and Business. She obtained her PhD at the University of Vienna, investigating language use in multicultural student teamwork in the context of an international business university. Her broader research and professional interests include English for Specific Purposes, English as a (business) lingua franca and as a medium of instruction, and intercultural communication.


Published Online: 2018-08-29

Published in Print: 2018-08-28


Citation Information: Journal of English as a Lingua Franca, Volume 7, Issue 2, Pages 285–306, ISSN (Online) 2191-933X, ISSN (Print) 2191-9216, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jelf-2018-0012.

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