Hong Kong 2013

For full details of the conference please visit the conference website

Language and Intercultural Communication in the Workplace: Critical Approaches to Theory and Practice


The 12thAnnual Conference of the International Association for Languages and Intercultural Communication 

29 November – 1 December 2013, Lam Woo International Conference Centre, Hong Kong Baptist University

Conference overview:

From language classrooms to outdoor markets, the workplace is fundamental to socialisation. The workplace is not only a site of employment where, for example, money is made and institutional roles are enacted through various forms of discourse; it is also a location where interactants engage in social actions and practices, from befriending or bullying a colleague to complimenting or gossiping about the boss. In other words, the workplace possesses cultural and linguistic norms and conventions for engaging in work and non-work related activities. 

Recently, the workplace has begun to attract the attention of scholars because of advances in communication technology, cheaper and greater options for travel, and global migration and immigration. Work is no longer confined to a single space.  It now requires people to travel over great geographical distances, communicate with cultural ‘others’ located in different time zones, relocate to different regions or countries, and conduct business in online settings. The workplace is thus changing and evolving, creating new and emerging communicative contexts. Intercultural communication researchers have a long tradition of investigating the language and communication of such activities. 

The aim of the conference is to promote greater understanding of workplace cultures, particularly the ways in which working in highly interconnected and multicultural societies shape language and intercultural communication. The conference aims to encourage greater dialogue between researchers studying workplace issues with different theoretical and methodological frameworks, and between researchers and practitioners. Abstracts are welcome in any area related to the workplace, including pedagogical settings. The conference focuses on critical approaches to theory and practice, and we are particularly interested in studies that use practice to shape theory, and studies that question the validity and universality of existing models. Many Asian scholars, for example, have criticised some of the predominant models in intercultural communication for being Eurocentric/­Anglocentric, and the conference welcomes papers proposing alternative frameworks for analysing intercultural communication in the workplace.


Conference objectives:

The conference objectives are to:

  1. Provide a forum for the discussion of language and intercultural communication in the workplace
  1. Provide a forum for the discussion of critical approaches to language and intercultural communication research
  1. Provide a critique of existing models and propose alternative approaches to analysing language and intercultural communication in the workplace
  1. Promote the International Association for Languages and Intercultural Communication
  1. Disseminate research on (critical approaches to) language and intercultural communication
  1. Compile a special issue of Language and Intercultural Communication, a tier-one journal published by Routledge, by selecting papers that make an important contribution to the study of language and intercultural communication in the workplace.


Conference sub-themes include (but are not limited to):

– Eurocentric/Anglocentric bias in intercultural (competency) models

– Multilingualism and multiculturalism in the workplace

– New approaches to analysing language and intercultural communication in the workplace

– Race, gender and class in the workplace

– Language and discrimination in the workplace

– Forced and unforced labour

– Mobility and forms of transportation of labour

– Security and insecurity in labour

– Competency models and their limitations

– Occupation standards and intercultural competence

– The validity and generalisability of  intercultural training

– Workplace ethics and occupational standards

– Empathy in intercultural communication

– Competency and creativity in the intercultural workplace

– Interfaith/intercultural dialogue in the workplace

– Stereotypes and prejudice in the workplace

– The ethics of intercultural working

– Intercultural attitudes to risk in the workplace

– Technology and the intercultural workplace

– Translation/interpretation in the intercultural workplace

– Multimodality and intertextuality in the workplace



See you in Hong Kong!


 Hans Ladegaard (Hong Kong Baptist University)

Christopher Jenks (City University of Hong Kong)

Co-Conveners of IALIC-12

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