Title: 'It crosses all the boundaries': hybrid language use as empowering resource

Authors: Claudine Gaibrois

Addresses: Research Institute for Organizational Psychology, University of St. Gallen, Girtannerstrasse 6, CH-9010 St. Gallen, Switzerland

Abstract: This study contributes to language-sensitive International Business research by examining forms of language use other than monolingual conversations in national languages. It focuses on hybrid languages that are derived from heterogeneous language sources. Based on modern linguistic research, the study conceptualises multilingualism as joint mobilisation of linguistic resources. Adopting a discursive approach, it empirically investigates the positive and negative effects of hybrid language use for individuals and teams in two companies in Switzerland. The findings show that users of hybrid language are positioned as being able to exchange information more effectively, feeling more comfortable in interactions as well as having more possibilities to express voice and participate. At the same time, hybrid language use is described as having limiting effects in certain contexts. The study therefore suggests to integrate hybrid languages in definitions of individual and organisational language capital, and to strategically address it on the top management and human resources management level.

Keywords: multilingual organisations; hybrid language use; multilingualism as joint linguistic resources mobilisation; linguistic research; participation; expressing voice; improved communication; efficiency; information exchange; knowledge transfer; individual and organisational language capital; translingual communicative competence; discursive study; Switzerland.

DOI: 10.1504/EJIM.2018.089045

European Journal of International Management, 2018 Vol.12 No.1/2, pp.82 - 110

Received: 23 Jun 2016
Accepted: 11 May 2017

Published online: 04 Jan 2018 *

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