Language and communication for professional purposes needs analysis methods in industry and business and their yield to stakeholders

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Aalto-yliopiston teknillinen korkeakoulu | Doctoral thesis (monograph)
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Verkkokirja (2026 KB, 276 s.)
Helsinki University of Technology, Department of Industrial Engineering and Management doctoral dissertation series 2010/2
Globalization requires more effective communication competences of professionals, and therefore education - be it higher education or corporate training - takes an interest in efficient competence building. The study examines the construct of Language and Communication for Professional Purposes (LCPP) as appears through the language needs analyses in industry and business. The nature and content of discursive practice in organizations, domains and cultures interlinked in the professional setting is the focus of this study. The study seeks to define the construct of LCPP for higher education as it emerges inductively from the research material. The study also analyses the methods of language needs analysis to see their applicability for purposes of key stakeholders. The study uses evaluation research to examine the utilization of LCPP from four stakeholder perspectives, language training organizers, teachers and trainers, learners and national policy makers, using the research material of the seven needs analyses of 1989-2008. The findings support evidence-based language needs analysis, and the use a variety of methods. The education stakeholder groups agree on five principles of LCPP: narrow scoping, tailored grouping, trainer professionalism, learner empowerment and authenticity of material and activity. European and national language program policy making have their stake in LCPP. This study observes that Finnish language program policy from 1978 is based on a model where society takes the role of the organizer of education, not itself as a requirer of language resources. Neither are the language and communication needs requested by business and industry taken into account in language policy making, such as the request for a wider variety of languages. The study recommends a restructured model of language program policy making, to include societal language needs of social stakeholders. The study proposes that the newest language needs analysis methods should be applied to include the dynamic, social and institutional aspects of discursive practice and the social action perspectives of socially situated discourse practice, in addition to the widely researched static text perspective. As for disciplinary inferences the study calls for more macro level research of discourse community practice, to complement the applied linguistics micro level research. As for language education, the study finds that positive markers of good language education are often related with sociocultural and experiential learning, intercultural competence building and learner agency and autonomy.
Supervising professor
Järvenpää, Eila, Prof.
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Järvenpää, Eila, Prof.
LCPP (Language and Communication for Professional Purposes), ESP, language needs analysis methods, language program policy, stakeholder perspective
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