Title: Small- and medium-sized enterprises in a multilingual region: best practices in multilingualism or missed opportunities?

Authors: Elena Chiocchetti

Addresses: Institute for Applied Linguistics, Eurac Research, Viale Druso 1, 39100 Bolzano, Italy

Abstract: The paper focuses on small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) located in bilingual/multilingual regions. We analyse how they manage multilingual communication, multilingual knowledge sharing, and internationalisation. The findings are based on a qualitative and quantitative study conducted on SMEs located in multilingual South Tyrol, Italy. Our data reveal that exploiting multilingualism as a competitive advantage represents a challenge for the local SMEs well before internationalisation. Language-related challenges are partly similar to those faced by large international multinationals. However, some of the specific characteristics of SMEs have a notable impact on language practices, (multilingual) knowledge sharing, and internationalisation paths.

Keywords: small- and medium-sized enterprises; SMEs; multilingual regions; South Tyrol; internationalisation; cross-cultural knowledge management; multilingual knowledge management; multilingual business communication; competitive advantage; translation practices.

DOI: 10.1504/EJIM.2018.089040

European Journal of International Management, 2018 Vol.12 No.1/2, pp.138 - 157

Received: 18 May 2016
Accepted: 12 Apr 2017

Published online: 04 Jan 2018 *

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