Chapter 4. Representations of multilingualism and management of linguistic diversity in companies
Thematic interviews with some twenty executives working in five multinational companies located in the French region of Alsace have allowed us to reveal their representations and perceptions of their linguistic practices at work, of their multilingual skills and, finally, of the actions or measures that the companies (implicitly or explicitly) advocate on language management. Discourse analysis has highlighted certain widely-shared representations, both within a company or among different companies, which indicate support for or submission to a dominant ideology that underlies group identity. However, during interactions, this collective monophony contrasts with more personal positions (individual representations) which alter the interviewees’ attitudes to established representations (support, detachment or rejection). We therefore focus on these differences or tensions, in order to identify more accurately the problematic aspects of multilingualism and of linguistic and cultural diversity management in companies.