Vocabularies of Organizing: How Language Links Culture, Cognition, and Action in Organizations

Research output: Working paper

Abstract

Linking sociological theories of vocabularies and institutions with Neo-Whorfian perspectives from cognitive science, this paper develops a theoretical framework and propositions on how specialized vocabularies structure cognition and action in organizations. We propose that vocabularies of organizing are socially constructed systems of linguistic categories that provide organizational members with cultural systems to classify organizational practices. We identify five principles to capture vocabularies' effects: social construction, embodiment in organizational practices, modularity, theorization, and attentional selectivity. This perspective highlights the interrelationships between words and how cultural systems generate logics of action at the individual level and institutional logics at the macro-social level.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages48
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 9 2005

Publication series

NameMcCombs Working Paper
No.OSSM-03-05

Keywords

  • language
  • cognition
  • culture
  • organizing

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