Date of Conferral
Effective communication is important, particularly for the over 26 million immigrant workers with non-English speaking backgrounds who have entered the U.S. workforce. The research problem addressed the disillusion of non-English speakers in the workplace because of the communication gap. The purpose of this study was to explore and describe the experiences of non-English speaking immigrant workers in overcoming language and cultural communication challenges at work. The research question focused on how non-English speakers or English as a Second Language (ESL) speakers describe their communication experiences in the workplace. The theoretical framework was based on the cultural approach to organizations and the transactional model of communication. A qualitative narrative inquiry design was used that employed sources of information including an interview questionnaire and existing literature. The target population was immigrant employees who are managers, assistant managers, and supervisors in New York City and Long Island who work in accounting, banking, finance, information technology, and marketing with at least 5 years' experience. A purposive sampling procedure was used to select 20 participants for semistructured interviews. The qualitative data were subjectively analyzed by using member checking and triangulation. Key findings indicated 6 themes: miscommunication, lack of appropriate terms, delays in work completion, loss of respect, inability to express oneself clearly, and the need to use alternative means of communication. Opportunity for contributions to social change can include increased understanding and utilization of effective management and communication strategies for dealing with non-English-speaking and ESL workers. This can also help to bridge cultural and language gaps.