Limits of Language? Stylistic, Linguistic and Modal Convergence in HQ – Blue-Collar Communication

Guro Refsum Sanden

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


    The present study examines how two Danish manufacturing companies – Grundfos and ECCO – communicate corporate information to blue-collar employees located in foreign production units. Blue-collar employees have been found to have lower foreign language skills than white-collar employees (e.g. Barner-Rasmussen & Aarnio, 2011), and by drawing on interview and document data from the companies’ communication departments, this study investigates whether headquarters staff make any particular considerations in their blue-collar communication. The findings – which are discussed on the basis of communication accommodation theory (CAT) (Giles & Wiemann, 1987) – reveal that communication professionals at headquarters converge towards blue-collar employees in three distinct ways: in the form of stylistic, linguistic, and modal convergence. The findings also suggest that the need for convergence arises due to three sector-specific factors, namely the economic geography of manufacturing, the physical work environment of production units, as well as the educational level of blue-collar employees.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2016
    Number of pages32
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    EventThe 32nd EGOS Colloquium 2016: Organizing in the Shadow of Power - Napoli, Italy
    Duration: 7 Jul 20169 Jul 2016
    Conference number: 32


    ConferenceThe 32nd EGOS Colloquium 2016
    Internet address


    • Blue-collar employees
    • Corporate Communication
    • Vertical communication
    • Multinational corporations
    • Communication accommodation theory

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