• Hywel Coleman, University of Leeds, UK
  • Srikant Sarangi, Aalborg University, Denmark
  • Anne Kankaanranta, Aalto University School of Business, Finland



10.25 am -11.25 am

Tin Mines, Markets and Other Places: Language Planning in Professional and Occupational Contexts

Hywel Coleman
Honorary Senior Research Fellow, School of Education, University of Leeds, UK

In his preface to one of the earliest book-length studies of language and development, Professor Chris Candlin argued that power in the context of language in development is ‘regularly unacknowledged in the naturalised acceptance of allocated positions, interpretations and actions of everyday behaviour, and the uncontroverted alignments with unquestioned constructs’ (Candlin 1997, xvii).

This presentation critically examines language status planning in six professional and occupational contexts: secondary schools in Morocco, a tin mine in Indonesia, dentists’ surgeries in the UK, a university in Indonesia, markets in Francophone West Africa and primary schools in Gabon. The case studies reveal that language policies are rarely based on concrete evidence of language strengths and needs. Rather, they are often designed (whether consciously or otherwise) on assumptions that benefit privileged elements in society, while the language needs of marginalised communities are ignored. Two decades on, therefore, Candlin’s observation about the ubiquity of power - often ‘unrecognised’ and ‘unquestioned’ – continues to be relevant.

Influenced by Candlin’s suggestion that language and development planning needs to integrate anthropology, social theory and applied linguistics (Candlin 1995), the presentation concludes with a consideration of ways in which language policies for professional and occupational contexts might be made more equitable and more empowering.

Candlin, C. 1995. Three into one must go: Integrating anthropology, social theory and applied linguistics in a theory of language and development. In Second International Conference on Language and Development: Conference Program, p 23. Bali, Indonesia: Indonesia Australia Language Foundation. (Abstract of a plenary session; the paper does not appear to have been published.)

Candlin, C. 1997. General editor’s preface. In B.Kenny and W.Savage (eds), Language and Development: Teachers in a Changing World, pp xii-xvii. London: Longman.


11.25 am – 12.15 pm

Let’s Talk About International Business … and ‘English’!

Anne Kankaanranta

In today’s international business, ‘English’ is ubiquitous – it occupies a space as a global means of communication to make meaning among people of diverse linguistic backgrounds. For the majority of business professionals, ‘English’ is not a mother tongue, but they have studied and learned it at school and/or developed their skills at university. Ultimately, when they start using ‘English’ in their work, business knowledge intertwines with their linguistic and other related skills. The multifaceted resource emerging in such interactions as a social practice has been labelled as English as a Business Lingua Franca (BELF). Interestingly, the international corporate context also houses another type of ‘English’, which is typically visible in one-way official communication such as corporate websites.

In my talk, I will elaborate on the dynamics of the notion of ‘English’ in international business and management from different perspectives such as an individual professional vs. a multinational corporation (MNC) and an applied/sociolinguist vs. a researcher in international management. In particular, I will unpack and discuss the notion of ‘English as corporate language’ and how it has been approached both theoretically and empirically. By doing this, I will demonstrate what implications conceptual clarity, or the lack thereof, can have for both practice and research.




10.30 am – 11.30 am

Engaging with and Impacting Professional Practice: The Dilemma of Rigour and/or Relevance


Srikant Sarangi
Danish Institute of Humanities and Medicine (DIHM)
Aalborg University, Denmark

An ‘applied mentality’ is routinely professed when undertaking  studies of professional practice – in the domains of education, health and social care, law, media, business etc. Over the years, at thematic and conceptual levels, language and communication researchers have extended their expertise to include a wide range of study sites and modalities. The thematic/conceptual engagements are often matched by researchers opting for rigorous methodological and analytical frameworks. Additionally, in their search for relevance, interdisciplinary partnershipping is increasingly being epitomised as desirable and value-added, i.e. an ‘applied mentality’ combined with an ‘interdisciplinary stance’ is seen as a prerequisite in one’s search for practical solutions to ‘wicked’ societal problems. However, in many instances, especially with regard to dissemination and impact of research, the question concerning practical relevance remains a moot point, with or without interdisciplinary collaboration. In this presentation, I unpack both the notions of ‘applied/practical relevance’ and ‘interdisciplinarity’, with an outline of suggestions targeted at professional practice studies. 




11.30 am – 12.30 pm

Associate Professor Dr. Gina Poncini

Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Khalifa University, Abu Dhabi

Gina Poncini, Ph.D., is Associate Professor, Humanities and Social Sciences, in the College of Arts and Science at Khalifa University, United Arab Emirates, where she teaches Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Engineering Design, and Corporate Leadership. Prior to this, she was Associate Professor of Business Communications in the College of Business at Zayed University (UAE), and tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods, University of Milan, Italy. She also taught Organizational Communication in Its Social Context at New York University in Florence, Italy, and communication courses and seminars at the University of Lugano, Switzerland. Her research interests focus on innovation and meetings; community engagement, sports events and sports tourism; ethnographic methods; multidisciplinary approaches; and discourse and communication. She served 2 four-year elected terms as Association for Business Communication (ABC) Vice President Europe and member of the Board of Directors.

Workshop title: 
Researching Business Communication and Professional Practice: Innovation, Collaboration and Creativity

This workshop focuses on ways to develop and conduct research on business communication and professional practice amidst current trends to foster innovation, collaboration and creativity in businesses and other organizations.

Workshop participants will engage in interactive activities on themes such as mixed methods, ethnographic techniques, ways to develop a more reflective approach to qualitative interviews, interdisciplinary collaboration, and research ethics. We will also incorporate selected themes emerging during the workshop.

In particular, workshop participants will draw on the stages and tools of design thinking to develop creative approaches to problem-solving, for example ways to identify and reframe problems in the research process and generate a range of potential innovative solutions. We will also review some of the ways design thinking has been incorporated into professional practice and research; for example, cases of how businesses have adopted its ethnographic approach for a particular project and how design thinking approaches were then used to make sense of the qualitative data obtained.

Other themes incorporated in discussions and interactive activities include meeting spaces and the physical environment of professional practice, drawing on concepts and insights presented in Doorley & Wittholft (2012) and relating them to collaboration, different configurations of interaction, and professional practice, with a view to fostering innovation, engagement and creative collaboration in professional contexts.

The workshop welcomes researchers at different stages of their research careers, work in progress, and collaborative endeavors.