A1 Journal article (refereed)
Policing language in the world of new work : the commodification of workplace communication in organizational consulting (2021)

Nissi, R., & Hirsto, H. (2021). Policing language in the world of new work : the commodification of workplace communication in organizational consulting. Applied Linguistics Review, Early online. https://doi.org/10.1515/applirev-2021-0057

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Nissi, Riikka; Hirsto, Heidi

Journal or series: Applied Linguistics Review

ISSN: 1868-6303

eISSN: 1868-6311

Publication year: 2021

Volume: Early online

Publisher: Walter de Gruyter GmbH

Publication country: Germany

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/applirev-2021-0057

Persistent website address: http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/applirev-2021-0057

Publication open access: Not open

Publication channel open access:

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/75872


This paper examines how the shift to knowledge and innovation economy has created new sites for the commodification of language and communication in the context of organizational consulting. The data come from a consultant-led development and training program of the management teams of a Finnish educational organization. In the study, the year-long training was videotaped (45 h) and followed ethnographically. By using rhetorical discourse analysis as a method, we examine how the consultant-led training activities present the role of language and communication in changing working life. The results show how the activities factualize the transformation of work and the centrality of language in this transformation. They conceptualize language and communication as key elements of professional competence and resources for organizational improvement. Moreover, they construct causal relations between organizational success and the ability to assess and modify one’s own communicative behavior. With its focus on language awareness and contextual variation the training differs from settings examined in previous studies where the mechanisms of commodification are based on standardization practices. In conclusion, we reflect the training programs both as indicators and vehicles for social change and discuss how they act as spaces where the new worlds of work are discursively construed.

Keywords: working life; organisations (systems); communication; interaction; use of language; consultants; discourse; discourse research; discourse analysis; innovation (activity); knowledge economy; training programmes; social change; change management communication

Free keywords: commodification of language; factualization; innovation economy; management training; organizational consulting; rhetorical discourse analysis

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: No, publication in press

Preliminary JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2021-02-08 at 10:25