Knowledge sharing and language diversity in organisations: Influence of code switching and convergence

Farhan Ahmad, Gunilla Widén

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Individual-level knowledge sharing is an important collaborative activity that is critical for organisational performance. As multilingual workplaces are becoming common, it has become increasingly important to understand the impact of language on knowledge sharing. Although previous research on knowledge management acknowledges the influence of language on knowledge sharing, the language use (practices) that actually conditions this effect remains largely unexamined. In this paper, we introduce two types of language practice, known as code switching and convergence, in sociolinguistics. By using insights on language from sociolinguistics, we attempt to show how code switching and convergence by organisational employees may influence individual-level knowledge sharing in multilingual organisations. We also suggest some new research directions for language and knowledge sharing in both theoretical and methodological terms. Understanding the influence of code switching and convergence on knowledge sharing is one step toward a better understanding of knowledge sharing as a whole in multilingual organisations. It would enhance the odds of developing knowledge management strategies that may neutralise or at least limit the negative influence of language diversity on knowledge sharing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351–373
JournalEuropean Journal of International Management
Volume12
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • language diversity
  • knowledge sharing

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