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Language, power and politics at work


Convenors: Jo Angouri (University of Warwick) and Rebecca Piekkari (Aalto University)


Employees in the modern workplace are often required to cross linguistic, national, professional and organizational boundaries as part of their daily work routine. These boundaries can reinforce inequalities, conflict and accentuate power differentials. Inclusion/exclusion is negotiated in interaction and has direct consequences for the development of employees but also for organizations as a whole.

Management and organization research as well as sociolinguistic studies of the workplace have clearly shown that the global workplace is a rich and diverse linguistic ecosystem; employees strategically use a range of global/local languages in different contexts and it is through language that professional identities are constructed and maintained. Past research has also addressed issues such as the relationship between global and local languages, the strategies that public and private organizations put in place to meet their linguistic needs as well as the implications for employees’ integration and job satisfaction. There is however less research on the multilayered relationship between language and power at work particularly from an interdisciplinary perspective.

The ‘language, power and politics at work’ colloquium brings together scholars from different fields of study and aims to address the following themes:

  • Power and the political in policy and practice in different settings
  • Language and professional identity

  • Language and access to decision making

  • The role of the ‘interpreter’ in the workplace

  • Processes of integration in new settings

  • Work satisfaction and language policy

  • Negotiating conflict in organisational change

  • Cognitive and psychological burden of operating in a non-native language

  • Methods and philosophical traditions for analysing discourse in the workplace

 Invited Contributors:


  • Jason Glynos (University of Essex), Robin Klimecki (University of Bristol) and Hugh Willmott (University of Cardiff),
  • Brian King (City University, Hong Kong),
  • Dorte Lønsmann (Copenhagen Business school) and Janus Mortensen (Roskilde University),
  • Georges Lüdi (Basel University, Switzerland) and Patchaarerat Yanaprasart (Université de Lausanne, Suisse),
  • Meredith Marra, (Victoria University, NZ),
  • Angelique Petrits, (European Commission Representation in the UK),
  • Susanne Tietze (Keele University),
  • Eero Vaara (Aalto University),
  • Mirjam Werner (Rotterdam School of Management).