L2 Business Letter Learning Motivation: An International Business Student Case Study in Taiwan

Hui-Tzu Hsu

Special Issue 11卷2期 (2020/12/01); p89-110

DOI: 10.6706/TIESPJ.202012_11(2).0006


Research on English for Specific Purposes has exclusively highlighted business letter teaching. However, studies on second language (L2) learners’ motivations for business letter writing are limited. This study adopted the self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985) to comprehensively explore L2 learners’ motivations for business letter writing. From a qualitative research orientation, interview data, emails, and collected drawing interpretations from the pre-course, mid-course, and post-course stages were analyzed considering three assumed basic needs (autonomy, competence, and relatedness) and three motivation orientations (amotivation, extrinsic motivation, and intrinsic motivation). A Taiwanese EFL sophomore majoring in international business at the National University of Technology participated in the study. In addition to being a university student, the participant was an international sales assistant at a fastener company. Considering her practical experience, her learning motivation for business letter writing differed from that of an ordinary university student. The study findings unveiled that self-professional image, professional enhancement, fluent communication ability, and sales performance augmented the L2 learner’s motivation for and effectiveness in business letter writing. The results further revealed that the learner gradually became more self-determined as she considered business letter writing to be relevant to her job in the mid-course stage. In the post-course stage, she became independent and inherently motivated because she believed that some methods enhanced her business letter writing skills. Finally, the participant became skilled at formal business letter expressions and applied them to her emails for her job. Accordingly, this study provides pedagogical implications for enhancing learners’ motivation and effectiveness in English business letter writing.

Click here to view the full article.