Language and Identity: Exploring the Dynamics of Linguistic Clustering in Multinational Enterprises

Komal Kalra & Wade Danis

Journal of World Business, 59 (2024)


Research on language diversity in international business has shown that language is a core element of one’s
social identity and employees in MNEs often form homophily-based clusters with those who share their native
language. Such clusters can significantly influence communication and knowledge sharing processes within
MNEs. However, research assumes that language-based clusters are monolithic in nature. In this study of two
MNE headquarters in India, we develop a model to depict the dynamic processes by which language intersects
with other salient identity attributes such as gender, regional dialects, and education to change the composition
of language-based clusters and alter group dynamics and organizational processes.