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

Farhan Ahmad*, Gunilla Widén

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    20 Citations (Scopus)


    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
    Number of pages23
    JournalEuropean Journal of International Management
    Issue number4
    Early online date30 Apr 2018
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


    • Code switching
    • Corporate language
    • Knowledge management
    • Knowledge sharing
    • Language diversity
    • Multilingual organisations
    • Multinational organisations
    • Sociolinguistics

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Business and International Management
    • Education
    • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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