Business and Governance (Organizational) Linguistics: a Synergic Cross-Discipline


СЕКЦИЯ 22. Филологические науки / Языковедение и иностранные языки

Yulia V. Danyushina  (PhD, Doctor in Linguistics, Professor,

State University of Management, Moscow, Russia)


Business and Governance (Organizational) Linguistics:

a Synergic Cross-Discipline


The recent accelerated informational and technological development of society has caused a greater interdisciplinary interaction of separate fields of knowledge and has stimulated a new perspective of cross-border disciplines appearing in these zones of contact. In the linguistic sphere, examples of such cross-border disciplines are Media Linguistics, Health Linguistics, Ethnolinguistics etc. Meanwhile, governance (in the broad meaning of the term, including public, governmental, business administrating) is a most important a sphere of human activity. And its sublanguages as well as the specifics of communication in the contexts of business, industries and governance have their specific properties that require linguistic examination. That is why we suggest establishing a synergic sub-discipline on the crossroads of Applied Linguistics and Communication studies (regarding the communicating power and influence in business, management, administration and governance), Organization and Management Studies – Business and Governance (Organizational) Linguistics – a complex, interdisciplinary field for researching the use of language in business / governance and verbal specifics of institutional communication. The spectrum of research questions of Business and Governance (B&G) Linguistics encompasses a wide range of issues related to linguistic aspects of business, management, administration, politics discourses, including the following spheres:

- organizational, strategic, corporate and industrial communication, the typology, taxonomy, parameters of the organizational, institutional discourses,  

- the characteristics of the leadership and managerial speech (oral and written), business and governance rhetoric and metaphors,

- the sublanguages of business, management, governance, administration,

- their pragmatic, semantic and stylistic peculiarities, the terminology,

- the lingual basics of PR, advertising and marketing, GR and B(blogger)R,

- the lingual, verbal and para-verbal specifics of meeting, interviewing, appraisal, negotiations, presentation, documentation, official correspondence,

- the verbal influence of official, corporate and new interactive media, etc.).

The most obvious linguistic peculiarity of business and governance (organizational) discourse turns out to be the “verbal and para-verbal essence enlargement” – the meaning intensification in semantics, correlating with phonographic, morphological, syntactic, stylistic, and para-verbal devices typical of this discourse, which are employed to provide its pragmatic purposes realization [1]. The discursive approach, which implies a social orientation of research, is supposed to provide the basis for investigating the promising sphere of B&G Linguistics, and the multi-level critical discourse analysis can be used as its key research method, e.g. based on the integrating the concepts by Wodak et al. [2] .

The objective of our research project in B&G Linguistics is to investigate the specific linguistic means employed in the interrelated sub-spheres of communication – administration, governance, business, management, - i.e. explore and cross-compare (1) how the heads of major national and international organizations and institutions, agencies and bodies, top statespersons (presidents and prime ministers, members of the cabinets and administrations, members of parliaments and local governments,  other politicians and legislators) - speak on socio-economic and business issues, (2) how business leaders, top managers, business consultants and experts speak on socio-political issues, verbalizing “good corporate citizenship”, (3) how the journalists/media verbally display the activity of the organizational and corporate heads – political leaders and business bosses; how the media create (para)verbal images of the social chiefs, identifying their social (ir)responsibility, (4) how common people perceive, discuss, treat and react to their words and acts (those of political leaders, business bosses, and journalists/media) – with a focus on electoral campaigns and crisis periods.

We have investigated some of these aspects and found that social rhetoric and semantics became dominant in the corporate discourses during the first attack of the global crisis (2008-2010). Our exploring the corporate websites and blogs of leading US companies – researching their language (the linguistics and extra-linguistics) of the corporate governance, leadership, internal and external specifics of their corporate communication – has revealed that all the corporate discourses can be classified into 4 key types on the basis of the four types of social implications in their corporate discursive semantics and rhetoric, which are in their turn determined by the lingua-mental specifics of their target customers:

a) IT companies directly related to the development of information and communication technologies, e.g. Google, are aimed at "intellectual" consumers, so the corporate discourse emphasizes "civil society through greater access to information and nation-wide socially relevant discussions",

b) manufacturers of mass market consumer goods, e.g. Coca-Cola, focus on "somatic" mass consumers, so their discursive rhetoric is based on "holiday and pleasure", the philosophy of consumerism,

c) financial sector companies, e.g. Bank of America, target at knowledgeable specialists, individuals belonging to at least the middle class and having a bank account, therefore they stress the need of social (including financial) stability, these companies’ discourses are dominated by the ideas of the anti-crisis changes in the "society – big business" balance, based on the social inter-class cooperation,

d) big oil corporations, e.g. Exxon Mobil, their customers are broad strata of society as a whole, so the key corporate semantics includes «free market, competition, private initiative", as well as the rhetoric of "caring for the environment" and "providing the civilization with energy".


1. Danyushina Y. 2011. The Multi-level analysis of business web discourse. Doctoral dissert. Institute of Linguistisc, Russian Academy of Science. Moscow.

2. Wodak R. and P. Chilton (Eds.) 2005. New Agenda in (Critical) Discourse Analysis. Amsterdam: Benjamins.