Title: Language management strategies and Slovenian SMEs

Authors: Igor Rižnar; Klemen Kavčič

Addresses: Faculty of Management, University of Primorska, Slovenia ' Faculty of Management, University of Primorska, Slovenia

Abstract: According to the ELAN study, export success of SMEs can be significantly improved if enterprises were aware of the importance of foreign language skills of their employees. In other words, a significant amount of business is being lost in the EU as a result of the lack of language skills, i.e. due to communication barriers. Adopting a language management strategy (LMS) has been linked to a substantial increase in companies' export sales. For Slovenian economy, the ELAN findings are of utmost importance due to the relatively high importance of SMEs in providing employment in Slovenia. In our article, we investigate, by means of a questionnaire sent to 150 Slovenian small and medium-sized enterprises, how aware are they of ELAN findings, what - if any - language strategies they have adopted and if the knowledge of English is sufficient for their successful business operations on global markets in the future. The findings show that Slovenian exporting SMEs are not completely aware of the benefits a language management strategy could bring to their business operations on foreign markets.

Keywords: ELAN study; foreign language skills; innovation; language management strategy; LMS; small and medium-sized enterprises; SMEs; Slovenia; employee language skills; communication barriers; exports; export sales; foreign markets; English language.

DOI: 10.1504/IJIL.2017.081955

International Journal of Innovation and Learning, 2017 Vol.21 No.2, pp.246 - 255

Received: 17 Oct 2015
Accepted: 11 Nov 2015

Published online: 11 Jan 2017 *

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