Title

The language at work scale: The effects of language ostracism on workplace behaviors

Publication Type

Conference Proceeding Article

Publication Date

8-2016

Abstract

Business and demographic trends are conflating to bring language issues at work to the forefront. Although language has an inherent capacity for creating bonds, it can also serve as a means of ostracism. We clarify the construct of language ostracism, and define it as any instance where others reject, exclude, or ignore individuals or groups by means of a language (or terminology) that is not understood by focal employee(s). To spur research on language issues, we develop the language at work scale (LAWS)-a measure that demonstrates robust psychometric properties. Across three samples from two countries, we identify two distinct dimensions of the LAWS: linguistic and terminological ostracism. Next, we explored the relationship between language ostracism and two interpersonally-directed workplace behaviors. Our results indicate that language ostracism was associated with higher interpersonal deviance and lower enactment of interpersonal citizenship behaviors. The potential implications for managers of linguistically diverse organizations and workplace diversity scholars are highlighted and discussed.

Keywords

Language, measurement, ostracism

Discipline

Business and Corporate Communications | Organizational Behavior and Theory

Research Areas

Organisational Behaviour and Human Resources

Publication

Academy of Management Proceedings: 2016 August 10-14, Anaheim, CA

Identifier

10.5465/AMBPP.2016.12370abstract

Publisher

Academy of Management

City or Country

Briarcliff, NY

Additional URL

http://doi.org/10.5465/AMBPP.2016.12370abstract

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