Volume 12, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0142-5471
  • E-ISSN: 1569-979X
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This article explores the complex relationship between enterprise and discourse from a sociolinguistic viewpoint. A model of communication is presented which depicts the multilayered framework of texts within organizations. With this model as a background, results from two studies on enterprise discourse are discussed. The first study analyzed communication within banks and structural engineering companies in Sweden, Germany and Great Britain. Interviews were held with staff at different levels, and written documents were analyzed. Though of course the discourse within the studied companies had much in common, differences were found as well, which can be explained by variation in sector, the organizational culture and the national culture. The second study focused on the multilingual production of texts in a Swedish based international company. An analysis of company brochures produced in different European branches showed considerable variation in relation to content, arguments and style. Though the headquarters steered the sales companies by means of a common text base, the various brochures also revealed differences that reflected ideas from the local level. Both studies thus show how the creation of uniqueness and attractiveness on the one hand takes place within the limits set by the sector concerned and on the other is determined by the relevant national culture(s). The company is part of a wider sectoral network that frequently has well-established discourse traditions. Moreover, a company also operates within a national culture, or several cultures, forcing it to adapt to national discourse patterns as well.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): culture; discourse analysis; organization
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