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Title: Languaging at Work: Cross-Lingual Communication in a Multilingual Team
Authors: Harris, Hayley Elizabeth
Supervisors: Brewis, Jo
Jack, Gavin
Award date: 30-Jun-2016
Presented at: University of Leicester
Abstract: Academic literature pays little attention to languages at work, regarding them largely as communication tools. Language difference is viewed as a mechanical translation problem to be solved with a range of mechanical solutions, taking little account of the people involved. Language is thus largely considered as code. This thesis argues that language is a means of communicating and maintaining relationships. It takes a person-centred view of language, exploring how cross-lingual communication is experienced in face-to-face interactions. It also explores culture’s involvement, arguing that language and culture should be decoupled, whilst acknowledging their interrelatedness. This thesis draws on a conceptual combination of work by Alison Phipps (2007), Pierre Bourdieu (1977a; 1991) and Michel de Certeau (2011) alongside intercultural pragmatics theory, organisation studies, international business and management and diversity management. In so doing, it argues that problems of linguistic diversity experienced in the moment of interaction are resolved through social practices involving the interplay between different forms of cultural and linguistic capital. Drawing on a series of interviews and observations, this thesis analyses how members of a multilingual team in a UK public sector organisation practise and experience language and cross-lingual communication at work. Given increasing linguistic diversity in domestic organisations, this thesis contributes primarily to organisation studies, arguing that organisations are constructed through language and hence through cross-lingual communication between their linguistically diverse employees. It also contributes to international and business management and diversity management, arguing that, although inextricably linked, language and culture should be decoupled, since they are both distinct elements of diversity. Furthermore, it extends Phipps’ concept of languaging from the field of tourism into organisation studies. In so doing, it is indicative of more subtle workings of Bourdieu’s concept of capital and expands de Certeau’s concept of space to the cross-lingual communication phenomenon, thereby also contributing to theory.
Type: Thesis
Level: Doctoral
Qualification: PhD
Rights: Copyright © the author. All rights reserved.
Appears in Collections:Theses, School of Management
Leicester Theses

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