Adaptation or standardization of corporate narratives: The effects of language (Dutch/English) in corporate narratives on narrative persuasion, attitude towards an organization, and purchase intention.

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Organizations can decide to use narratives in their corporate communication. Narratives are found to have a persuasive effect which can enhance the corporate reputation of an organization and consumers’ purchase intention. Transportation, emotionality, identification, and comprehensibility are found to be underlying mechanisms that have a mediating role for narrative persuasion. In international context, narrative persuasion may have become even more relevant for companies. The number of companies that operate internationally is increasing, due to globalization. As a result, communication has become more complex since organizations have to interact with people from different countries with different linguistic backgrounds. English is often used as lingua franca. It is however unclear to organizations whether to use a native language or a foreign language in their external communications. This study aimed to give insight into the effect of language, in this case Dutch (L1) and English (L2), on narrative persuasion (transportation, emotionality, identification, comprehensibility), attitude towards the company, and purchase intention. Results of this study showed that language (Dutch/English) did not affect transportation, emotionality, identification, and attitude towards the company. However, there was a higher level of comprehensibility and a higher purchase intention after reading the narrative in Dutch compared to English. So, a native language may be more effective in organizations’ communication. The findings of this study seek to contribute to the question whether organizations need to adapt or standardize their communication strategy in order to establish a good reputation and yield more purchase intention.
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