A linguistic and cultural analysis of localisation practices on oil and gas company websites.
Umoh, Idara Enobong
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Oil and Gas companies have the inevitable need to operate in a global environment and therefore have a global reach. This thesis seeks to understand the nature and degree of localisation of the websites in this industry. This thesis introduces two notions of ‘global’, and seeks to examine the relationship between them: the first of which is the Global reach or operations of companies and the second is where a company’s communication is localised in language and cultural terms. A company can be seen to be ‘global’ in one of these two notions and it is this relationship that this thesis seeks to explore. The contribution of this thesis firstly, is that it adds to previous studies of website localisation, which have focused primarily on consumer goods and the retail industry, by examining a different kind of industry. Secondly, it takes into account the important semiotic and symbolic dimensions of language and culture when looking at localisation practices. The thesis thus contributes to the growing literature on website localisation and practices in Multinational companies. This study was carried out on 387 corporate and country specific websites of 16 Oil and Gas Companies to understand the extent and nature of their localisation practises particularly the way that language and culture are presented. The websites were studied using a qualitative and quantitative research design which involved carrying out a linguistic/semiotic analysis and a cultural analysis to give a balanced perspective of localisation practices. The conclusions of the study were that the companies operated a ‘glocal’ strategy, a combination of both a localised and a globalised (standardised) strategy. The companies had a combination of globally standardised features such as the website layouts, images, colour schemes, logos and the use of global celebrities on their websites and a limited degree of localisation where the ‘local’ is signified by local country websites, local news stories, local languages, local celebrities, images of local sights, images of company’s local office buildings and local petrol stations.