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Language as a window into culture


Culture is assumed to play a pivotal role in organizational success and failure. In contrast to prevailing top-down perspectives, this article proposes an approach to studying culture that accounts for myriad organizational subcultures, how individuals fit into those subcultures, and the causes and consequences of shifts in culture and cultural fit. The language through which people communicate with colleagues offers a powerful lens for studying cultural dynamics and its relationship to individual, group, and organizational success. This article describes a burgeoning stream of research that uses language as a window into culture and discusses its implications for managerial practice.

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