Bilingual communication use in a Puerto Rico daily business environment

Dora Barnes, Fordham University


Organizational communication in two languages--English and Spanish--was studied in a pharmaceutical manufacturer in Puerto Rico. The study was conducted among three levels of management--staff, line managers, and supervisors--the majority of which have Spanish as their first language and work in plants that are part of an English-based enterprise. The subjects' perception on the issue of organizational communication was probed through a questionnaire entitled Bilingual Communication Use in a Puerto Rico Daily Business Environment specifically designed for this study. Bilingual communication through the variables of reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills in English and Spanish were evaluated for the three levels of supervision. The research questions for the study had to do with the variable of organizational communication in Spanish and English. The demographic variables of gender, number of persons directly supervised, age, education, and their relationship to organizational communication were also studied. In addition, the importance of English for career growth was also included as part of the study. Data were analyzed using analysis of variance for the questions on organizational communication in Spanish and English, as well as the perceptions related to the need of English for career growth. Organizational communication in English and Spanish and the different demographic characteristics were analyzed using partial correlation analysis. Organizational communication and the combined contribution of selected demographic characteristics were analyzed using multiple regression analysis. The results of the study indicated that reading is done mostly in English; English is used for most of the official writing of work-related documents; most of the informal and formal oral communication is done in spanish; English was seen as a necessity for career growth. A need to improve specific skills of the English language was identified in this study. Further research is necessary to verify if the English skills needing improvement in other pharmaceutical plants throughout the island are similar to those of this study.

Subject Area

Management|Business education|Bilingual education|Multicultural education|Communication

Recommended Citation

Barnes, Dora, "Bilingual communication use in a Puerto Rico daily business environment" (1993). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9328406.