Focus Lecture 2

The many faces of business communication: Asian profiles

Jane Lockwood
City University of Hong Kong


The ability to communicate effectively in English in business situations is a highly valued commodity in our globalized world. But what does ‘effectively’ really mean? In Asian business contexts for example, it is the case that the majority of business interactions are between non-native speakers of English where the lingua franca is English. So what are these new norms and challenges how can they be effectively trained for, appraised and supported?

This plenary talk will synthesize some of the key directions for business communication in the Asian context and the challenges therein. It will include a discussion of the role of technology and the rise social media in virtual business communication exchanges at work and with customers; the specific requirements of the business processing outsourcing (BPO) industry in Manila and India in call centres using voice and CHAT; and the new and changing nature of English when it is used as a lingua franca with both native and non-native speakers.
Given the dynamic nature of this situation, the question arises as to how training, material development and assessment requirements can be crafted to meet the needs of young employees working in this context. How are schools, universities and workplaces coping with these new and diverse norms, and how are commercial publishers and assessment bodies reacting to these new complexities?

Jane Lockwood is Associate Professor in the Department of English at the City University of Hong Kong. She has worked in the UK, Australia, the Phillipines and Hong Kong in the areas of English language training, teacher training and materials and assessment development. She completed her doctorate studies in the area of workplace curriculum and evaluation in the Hong Kong context and has published widely in the areas of business communication training and assessment in the business processing outsourcing (BPO) industry in Asia.

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