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

Authors: Farhan Ahmad; Gunilla Widén

Addresses: Information Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Business & Economics, Åbo Akademi University, Fänriksgatan 3B, 20500, Turku, Finland ' Information Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Business & Economics, Åbo Akademi University, Fänriksgatan 3B, 20500, Turku, Finland

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.

Keywords: knowledge sharing; language diversity; sociolinguistics; multilingual organisations; multinational organisations; knowledge management; corporate language; code switching.

DOI: 10.1504/EJIM.2018.092839

European Journal of International Management, 2018 Vol.12 No.4, pp.351 - 373

Available online: 30 Apr 2018 *

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