Multilingual decision makers: How does their language biography impact on language awareness among employees and knowledge sharing in multilingual organisations?

Activity: Talk or presentationScience to science


Managers and employees in companies – like all other persons as well – dispose not only over diverse linguistic competences, but also over different stories where, how, when and why they acquired these competencies. Processes of individual language acquisition and other linguistic experiences in private and professional life, which have been emerging in linguistic contact situations, shape language biographies. The latter find expression in individual conceptions of identity and language awareness, i.e. knowledge about languages and language learning, which is prone to influence decision processes in companies. For instance, one can assume that recruiters notice applicants with comparable linguistic backgrounds more easily than those with other backgrounds and identify the respective candidates as similar to themselves. This paper tries to unveil, to which extent language-related decisions in organisations are influenced by the linguistic autobiographies of decision makers. First results show language aware managers and recruiters are influenced by their own language biography with regard to their attitude towards (new) employees with diverse linguistic backgrounds and with regard to the future implementation of measures raising language awareness among employees. The impact on the actual decision making behaviour seems to be less clear, as other factors than language (e.g. the job requirements on expertise) often have a greater relevance.
Period22 May 201823 May 2018
Event title12th International GEM&L Conference
Event typeUnknown
Degree of RecognitionInternational

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 506009 Organisation theory
  • 502026 Human resource management
  • 602004 General linguistics
  • 602048 Sociolinguistics