Linguistic capital and status: The interaction between language skills, personal reputation, and perceived collaboration performance

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review



Although language has become a central theme in international business and management research, this stream still holds many unexplored research avenues. One area that has attracted some attention, but lacks extensive systematic assessment, is the connection between language and personal reputation. Qualitative research has offered tentative insights suggesting that proficiency in key organizational languages increases the status of individuals over and above their functional abilities. In this study, we use data from 171 pairs of expatriate academics and their local academic collaboration partners. We asked the local academic peers to rate expatriate academics' reputation, their local and English language skills, and collaboration performance. As expected, we found a positive association between academic reputation and collaboration performance. In line with analyses from qualitative research, we show a moderation effect of language skills, where high common organizational language (English) proficiency compensates for a weaker perceived reputation in predicting collaboration performance. Surprisingly, however, there was no moderating effect of local language skills.


Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Management Review
Early online date19 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022

External IDs

Scopus 85128265507
unpaywall 10.1111/emre.12519
Mendeley c7ce6834-3bde-3568-a6a9-378e0dcef616



  • academics, expatriates, language, performance, status

Library keywords