Multilingual organisations and staff linguistic identities: Challenging or facilitating performances of employees? A language-needs perspective

Activity: Talk or presentationScience to science


Drawing on literature from applied (socio)linguistics and management studies, this paper looks at identity constructions in multilingual organisations. Processes of identification in organisations are linked to concepts of employee retention and organisational commitment. This is also true for construction processes of linguistic identity in organisations. Focusing on the identity-building function of languages for their speakers, this presentation examines and reconstructs the linguistic identities of employees and managers in a multilingual setting. First, the notion of the “multilingual organisation” is defined, which is then linked to linguistic identity by introducing a needs perspective. Individual and social parts of linguistic identity are discussed with both individual and organisational needs taken into account. More specifically, it is asked what impact multilingual working environments have on employees’ constructions of linguistic identity. The nature of the chosen research question implies a qualitative design. The study is explorative in character: a case study in a small multilingual enterprise based in a bilingual region in Italy (South Tyrol) has been conducted. The study makes use of multiple sources and methods (linguistic autobiographies of managers and employees, in-depth interviews and observations). In this presentation first results to capture linguistic identities in organisations and their impact on individual and organisational outcomes are shown.
Period4 Jul 20175 Jul 2017
Event title11th 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
  • 602042 Romance studies