We examine the role of cultural and language skills as resources for individuals' boundary spanning ability in multinational corporations. Our combined qualitative and quantitative analysis shows that cultural and language skills influence the extent to which individual boundary spanners perform four functions: exchanging, linking, facilitating, and intervening. Boundary spanners with both cultural and language skills perform more functions than those with only cultural skills, and language skills are critical for performing the most demanding functions. Key boundary spanners have properties that potentially make them not only valuable organizational human capital, but also rare and difficult to imitate. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
- language skills
- cultural skills
- multinational corporations (MNCs)
- language (language design, silent language, translation)
- Boundary spanners