Language Policies in International Business Expansion

By: Marie-Therese Claes  

Vietsovpetro, a subsidiary of PetroVietnam, is the first international project of Vietnam for exploration and production of oil and gas on the country's continental shelf. It is one of the most successful Joint Ventures of Vietnam and the Russian Federation in oil and gas exploitation, which was established in June 1981 following an Intergovernmental Treaty between Vietnam and the former Soviet Union - now Russian Federation- to help Viet Nam in searching, exploring, and exploiting oil and gas. At the start, the majority of workers in Vietsovpetro were Russian; they held most leadership positions. The Vietnamese workers were trained and helped by the Russians. Vietnamese studied in Russia, and Russian was the most popular foreign language in Vietnam. Many engineers, educated in Russia since 1990, retired recently or were promoted to a higher level. In 1986 Vietnam launched free-market economic reforms and Petrovietnam stared alliances with other oil companies and suppliers. The universities in Vietnam do not teach Russian any more, and the number of students being sent to Russia for training is now very limited. English has become more popular than Russian in high school and at university, and Russian as a study subject has been replaced by English.The research explores the role of language policies and multilingualism in Vietsovpetro as international business expansion in the twenty-first century. It looks at language as a critical management challenge, affecting networks, human resource management, international marketing, and strategy.

Language Policy, Internationalisation, Multilingualism, Vietnam
Organizational Diversity
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Dr. Marie-Therese Claes

Professor at ICHEC Brussels Business School, and at the University of Louvain in Belgium. She was Dean of the Faculty of Business at Asian University in Thailand for 2 years. She is a guest professor in universities in Europe, in Asia and in the United States of America. Her fields of teaching and research include Intercultural Communication and Intercultural Management. She is past president of EWMD (European Women Management Development) and of SIETAR Europa (Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research). She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Fulbright and a Japan Foundation alumna.