Language as a Source of Epistemic Injustice in Organisations

Natalie V. Wilmot

Journal of Business Ethics, 2024


Although there is now a substantial body of literature exploring the efects of language diversity in international management
contexts, little attention has been paid to the ethical dimensions of language diversity at work. This conceptual paper draws
on the concept of epistemic injustice in order to explore how language, and in particular corporate language policies, may
act as a source of epistemic injustice within the workplace. It demonstrates how language competence afects credibility
judgements about a speaker, and also considers how corporate language policies can create situations of hermeneutic injustice, in which marginalised groups are denied the vocabularies to understand their own experiences. Finally, ways in which
such epistemic harms can be reduced are discussed, and the possibilities for management education to create epistemically
responsible managers are highlighted.