Academic journal article Business Education & Accreditation

Developing Communicative Competence in English as a Second Language by Integrating Business Competencies

Academic journal article Business Education & Accreditation

Developing Communicative Competence in English as a Second Language by Integrating Business Competencies

Article excerpt


This paper examines what business competencies a learner of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) can develop while developing communicative competence in English. The analysis is focused on the business competencies undergraduate students at the Administration Faculty of Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo need to develop. The study aims to demonstrate that using a competence formation model enables learners to attain better levels of communicative competence. Moreover, it strengthens their business competencies through classroom practice of real-life communicative activities, without having to study them separately or at different times. Finally, by incorporating self-assessment practices and a learning portfolio as tools to enhance learning by asking students to reflect on their own motivations or needs, we expect to contribute to developing learning autonomy and self-evaluation strategies as an integral approach to both professional and personal formation.

JEL: 12, I23

KEYWORDS: Competences, Communicative Competence, Autonomy, Business Competencies


Traditionally, business professionals are required to be competent in a second language, whether they work abroad or not. Historically, the need to fluently communicate in English has become essential in business and for travel. Besides the communicative function of the language itself, English is essential to the deepening integration of global service-based economies. But even in nonEnglish speaking countries, being communicative competent in English can be considered necessary (sometimes even a must) to get a well-paid job, regardless of the professional area one works in. This is particularly true as the outsourcing business grows, since most of the offshore contracts come from English speaking corporations and global enterprises create their own business process outsourcing centers in other countries to diminish costs.

Up to now, English is the language that facilitates transnational encounters and allows nations, institutions, and individuals in any part of the world, to communicate their world view and identities. This study attempts to provide a tool learners can use to make connections between positive learning outcomes and success experienced in a coursework on learning English, but also designed to specifically use the language to perform tasks required in the professional domain of business administration.

The article concludes with a discussion of the benefits of redirecting the main focus of English as a foreign language (EFL) courses within the curriculum of the Adminstration Faculty at undergraduate level at the Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo where merely mastering the language is not the sole objective. These EFL courses ought to be not only business-content, but should also aim to develop business competencies as well as higher metacognitive strategies, such as learning autonomy.


Many authors have long reviewed and commented on what competences are and how they are categorized since McClelland first introduced the term in 1973 (Martinez & Cannona, 2009). Initially, the study of competences started in the Labor Psychology field, searching to better select and improve human resources in firms and companies. Over time, the concept has broadened and it has reached educational and environmental contexts. Tejada (1999), Pereda y Berrocal (2001), Lévy-Leboyer (2003) and Escobar (2005) cited by Martínez and Cannona (2009) categorize competences as: a) generic, the ones that can occur in any of the positions of an organization and can be easily transferred from one profession to another, which means they are common to different professions. They include knowledge, skills, attitudes and personality traits; and b) specific: the ones that occur to certain professions within the organization, or with particular performance levels. They are non-transferable. …

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