Organisationer og sprogpolitik

Sarah Maria Qureshi

Student thesis: Master thesis


With an eye to uncover whether the structures and cultures of organisations are related to organisations' view on language policy, the financial institution, KommuneKredit, has been taken on as a case. KommuneKredit is a Danish based association, founded in 1899. Membership is restricted to Danish municipalities and regions. Kommuneleasing is subsidiary of KommuneKredit and consists of 15 people of the overall total of 63 people employed in KommuneKredit. There does not exist a written language policy in the association. The only explicit policy with regard to external communication appears to be the Design Manual, which was first published in November 2009. From an analysis of the manual together with four in-depth interviews, conducted on employees from different levels of the association, it appears that KommuneKredit's view on language policy is under influence from two sides. Firstly, KommuneKredit's organisational structure plays a role in the scenario. The structure of the association is characterised by Mintzberg's (1993) simple structure and divisionalized form, respectively. This combination is a result of two of the most influential factors in KommuneKredit: Age and size. Despite the fact that older organisations often tend to be more formalised than younger organisations, KommuneKredit has so far managed to stay rather simple with regard to structure. In the wake of the increase in new employees during the last approximately 20 years, structural changes have appeared, though. The combination of a larger work force and new cultural members has resulted in a combined structure, where both parts of the simple structure and the divisionalized form remain. Secondly, the cultural factor is essential with regard to KommuneKredit's view on language policy. Both Edgar H. Schein (1992) and those in favour af hermeneutics, argue that culture is of great importance in respect to many parts of an organisation. Schein speaks of the so-called basic assumptions, which are rooted so deeply in the members of a culture that they are taken for granted and therefore very hard to both identify and change. Until now, KommuneKredit's culture has not involved or been in need of a language policy - and hence it, according to Schein, can be difficult to convince the cultural members of the introduction of such policy. Hermeneuts point to the interpreter. According to them, the interpretation of something depends on the eyes that see. The process of interpretation is, thus, infinite, and consists of the knowledge and experience of the individual interpreter. The view on language policy then rests with the individual employee. Their opinions are influenced by how long they have been employed, which department they are employed in, which background they bring into KommuneKredit, and so on. Alongside of this, we must assume that they are all, to some extent, coloured by the culture of the association of which they are all members. The conclusion to this analysis is that an organisation's view on language policy is influenced by both organisational structure and organisational culture, and so cannot be approached without an eye to the context in which it exists. KommuneKredit's approach to language policy is, without a doubt, influenced by both factors. The structural development and the cultural identity of the association play great parts in relation to the view on languages and language policy.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2010
Number of pages106