Global business communication journal hosted by Eastern Michigan University takes a timely and prescient look at the role of communication across cultures during a pandemic

YPSILANTI –  Eastern Michigan University has taken a deep look at the rapidly changing nature of global business communication amid the global pandemic in its eighth annual Global Advances in Business Communication (GABC) Journal.

David A. Victor, a professor of Management and International Business, is editor-in-chief of the GABC Journal, which is housed at EMU and co-hosted with the University of Antwerp (Belgium), the Technological University of Malaysia and the Delhi College of Business in India.

“In this issue, we have an amazingly prescient group of articles, almost all anticipating what is happening right now,” Victor says. “The global pandemic of the novel coronavirus has no counterpart as a challenge, not only to global business or business communication but – quite literally – to every aspect of the way we live.

“Nothing in living memory has had so universal an effect, and yet very few in any field had anticipated -- let alone researched – the role of communication across cultures during a major pandemic.”

Included in the latest issue is a piece by Diana Wong-MingJi, a professor in the EMU Department of Management. The current issue of the GABC Journal also includes the following articles, with comments by Victor following the title:

Betweenness: Global Business Communication in a Time of Change and Questioning by David A. Victor. A brief introductory editor's statement.

“All of the articles in this issue deal with how current events are challenging concepts that were previously presumed as givens,” Victor writes. “This is evident in the questioning of globalization and its presumptions in areas as diverse as international management in the face the rise of anti-globalization forces in the politically changing landscape, the impact of pandemic on the accuracy and framing of health communication, or the challenges to reorganizing and revising language instruction for specific purposes.”

Magnitude Matters: The Impact of Pandemic Threat Perceptions on the Effectiveness of Health Message Framing Across Countries: by Anthony Asare, Tilottama Ghosh Chowdhury and Patricia Norberg (all of Quinnipiac University), Jun Kang (Hunan University PRC), and Richard Bannor (University of Ghana Legon).

“This article could not be more current,” Victor notes, “as it addresses cross-cultural differences in communicating pandemic threats (based on empirical research done before the current pandemic), covering China, the United States and Ghana.

“COVID-19 was far from its first appearance when the GABC Journal first received the manuscript for (this piece),” Victor says. “Even without the impact of the global pandemic that followed, it was evident to our reviewers that this article addressed a mostly overlooked but important area for applied cross-cultural communication.”

A Heuristic Model of Organizational Boundaries as Contesting Spaces of Betweenness in International Management by Diana J. Wong-MingJi (Eastern Michigan University).]

 "Rethinking organizational boundaries is necessary at this time if we want to engage with the complexity of multiple perspectives," Wong-MingJi says. "We have to move away from considering boundaries that separate us versus them, or in versus out.

"Boundaries as a space in-between provides us with a choice to enter into messy dialogue for organizational learning, adapting to challenges, and building trust for collaboration. 

"The COVID-19 pandemic, #Black Lives Matter, environmental sustainability, and more require us to enter into an uncomfortable messy space in between our own edges and boundaries, for awkward dialogue in working out our tomorrows."

LSP in Canadian Higher Education: What We Can Learn from Program Reviews by Judith A. Ainsworth (Temple University).

“This article is important in two ways,” Victor says of the study of LSP, or Language for Specific Purposes. “It’s crucial both for its methodology, which is a quantitative and qualitative mixed-method approach to data analysis, along with its findings of increased market demand for interdisciplinary cooperation in LSP (especially in pluringual countries) at a time when institutions have not responded to these changing needs.”

Spanish for Business: Past, Present and Future   by Carlos M. Coria-Sánchez (University of North Carolina – Charlotte). 

“This opinion essay is positioned well with the theme of changing times – that is, that foreign language for business is declining just as the e-based communication system has made the need for it all the more central for business,” Victor says.

The GABC Journal published its first annual journal in late 2012. As of this month, the journal had had more than 64,000 downloads by more than 4,000 different institutions.

Along with the GABC Journal is an annual GABC Conference, which Eastern first hosted on its campus in 2008. The annual conference hosting duties rotate among the four university sites. The 2020 GABC Conference was planned to take place at EMU, but had to be cancelled.

“Even though this year’s conference could not take place as planned, the GABC initiatives continue to go forward with the publication of the GABC Journal’s current issue,” Victor said. “It is really noteworthy that the GABC Conference first began right here at Eastern Michigan University.

“The support of EMU's administrators and faculty in supporting both the GABC Journal and GABC Conference has truly helped raise the visibility of the University internationally."

About Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves nearly 18,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and, its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.

June 24, 2020

Written by:
Geoff Larcom

Geoff Larcom