Chapter 3. Multilingualism and diversity management in companies in the Upper Rhine Region

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The world&#8217;s increasing globalisation requires more interaction among people from diverse settings. Maximising on workplace diversity has become an important issue for management today. Many empirical studies clearly show that the management of linguistic diversity is of central importance to both strategic and operational processes. An important part of the preceding research concentrated on a shift of companies&#8217; language to English as a <i>lingua franca</i>, being advised as a constructive source of mutual intelligibility, allowing for more effective communication. Our work is based on a &#8220;multilingual mentality&#8221;. The basic questions are how, and under what conditions, &#8220;multilingual solutions&#8221; are a genuine advantage for businesses. The aim is to understand, on the one hand, to what extent companies in the Upper Rhine Region conceive their corporate identity and organise their patterns of language use, but also the impact of their language management measures and, on the other hand, in what way individuals&#8217; multilingual repertoires evolve into a communicative and strategic resource in organisational and professional interactions in mixed teams. The observed practices lead to a fresh view on multilingualism, based on two complementary conceptions: &#8220;institutional multilingualism&#8221; (largely additive) and &#8220;multilanguaging&#8221; (exploiting integrated individual plurilingual repertoires).


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