Li, H. (Jessica), Yuan, Y. C., Bazarova, N. N., & Bell, B. S. (2019). Talk and Let Talk: The Effects of Language Proficiency on Speaking Up and Competence Perceptions in Multinational Teams. Group & Organization Management, 44(5), 953–989. https://doi.org/10.1177/1059601118756734
As multinational company interactions become more commonplace as the world becomes increasingly interconnected, numerous problems and barriers to effective communication and decision making are popping up.
As English establishes itself as a common language or lingua franca of these multinational companies, differences in language proficiency may ultimately favor the native English speakers. It was found that language proficiency (i.e. how well you can use a language) impacts team-level and individual-level processes of speaking up (i.e. voicing your opinions and ideas in open forum), competence perception (i.e. how competent you appear to colleagues) and recognition, and task completion.
This finding ties in nicely with observations of reduced or minimal board meeting discussions that switch to English or why nonnative English speakres in multinational teams may fail to accurately communicate their professional competence.
This is a huge problem and can sabotage your professional image, talent and skill in the workforce!
That’s why I think it’s important to be passionate about learning, trying new things and iterating on yourself and your professional skills. If English is a huge component of your professional career, it may also be a huge vulnerability if you feel it inhibits your ability to express your professional skill.