Multicultural organizations are often argued to hold potential knowledge resources that can be used to increase performance. However, while only a few studies have been undertaken on the subject, linguistic differences are argued to make the use of knowledge and the sharing of knowledge a challenge in multicultural organizations. This study seeks to explore the relationships between language, knowledge sharing and performance.
A questionnaire was directed electronically to members of academic multicultural departments in Denmark.
Results showed that consistency in English management communication was the dominating factor with strong relationships with all of the investigated knowledge sharing and performance variables. English communication consistently had an association with some of the knowledge sharing and performance variables but not with all of them. The number of languages and the communication frequency were generally positively associated with the outcome variables.
This study targeted multicultural academic organizations. The findings may not be generalizable to other organizations.
Results indicate that multicultural organizations should support consistent English communication in general and English management communication in particular.
Since there are no similar large‐scale studies on the intra‐unit management of language diversity, the findings may be of considerable theoretical and practical importance.
Lauring, J. and Selmer, J. (2011), "Multicultural organizations: common language, knowledge sharing and performance", Personnel Review, Vol. 40 No. 3, pp. 324-343. https://doi.org/10.1108/00483481111118649Download as .RIS
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