Knowledge Management in Multilingual Areas: Practical Recommendations for SMEs

  • Elena Chiocchetti
Part of the Communicating in Professions and Organizations book series (PSPOD)


This chapter addresses multilingual communication and knowledge management, focusing on small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) rather than on large international corporations. We study SMEs located in a historically bilingual region, in this case the Province of Bolzano (South Tyrol) in Northern Italy, and observe how the language competences of the population and the bilingual environment affect the strategies adopted by local SMEs for their internal knowledge management and external communication. In addition, we assess whether the SMEs fully exploit the potential competitive advantage of mastering two or more languages (Lechner & Moroder, 2010, 25) in the era of globalized markets. Based on our research results, we then propose a set of practical strategies, requiring limited financial investments, that can be implemented by South Tyrolean SMEs — but also by enterprises in other bilingual areas – to address current challenges. Several of these strategies are also useful for SMEs located in monolingual regions, particularly if they employ multilingual staff.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alto Adige (2014). Reti d’impresa, la regione “fanalino di coda” in Italia. In Alto Adige, 23.11. 2014, 7.Google Scholar
  2. ASTAT (2014). Annuario statistico della Provincia di Bolzano. Istituto Provinciale di Statistica. Bolzano: ASTAT.Google Scholar
  3. Charte du Rhin (2013). Charte du Rhin supérieur pour la promotion du plurilinguisme, signed in Rastatt on 10 June 2013.Google Scholar
  4. Chiocchetti, E. & Ralli, N. (2013). Fabbisogno professionale e formativo dei servizi linguistici nelle imprese. Bolzano: EURAC.Google Scholar
  5. Chiocchetti, E. (2011). Resoconto progetto di ricerca “Terminologia e gestione della conoscenza nelle aziende”. Bolzano: EURAC.Google Scholar
  6. Chiocchetti, E., Farina, R., Ralli, N., & Zanasi, L. (2013). CONOSCERE–COMUNICARE–CRESCERE: 9 strategie di knowledge management per le imprese altoatesine. Bolzano: EURAC.Google Scholar
  7. CILT (2006). ELAN: Effects on the European Economy of Shortages of Foreign Language Skills in Enterprise, Final report. National Centre for Languages. Brussels: European Commission.Google Scholar
  8. Grin, F. (2010). Multilinguisme et valeur ajoutée. élf Working Paper #5. Geneva: Université de Genève–Observatoire élf.Google Scholar
  9. Grin, F., Sfreddo, C., & Vaillancourt, F. (2010). The Economics of the Multilingual Workplace. New York/London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  10. Gudauner, K. (2011). The effects of language skills on the job market and on firms in South Tyrol. In Draft Proceedings of the 4th EUNoM Symposium Multilingualism in the Knowledge Economy: Labour Markets Revisited, and Corporate Social Responsibility. 14–15 (November, 2011). Belfast, Northern Ireland: EUNoM, 39–63. Accessed from rojectes/EUNOM/_resources/documents/BELFAST_ABSTRACTS_AND_ PAPERS_7.rtfGoogle Scholar
  11. Gust, D. (2007). Wirtschaftlichkeit von Terminologiearbeit. Terminologie–(k) eine Kostenfrage? In Produkt Global 6/2007. Heidelberg: Hütig, 32–34.Google Scholar
  12. IRE (2012). Ritratto economico dell’Alto Adige. Bolzano: Istituto di ricerca economica della Camera di Commercio, Industria, Artigianato e Agricoltura di Bolzano.Google Scholar
  13. IRE (2014). Impulsi per il plurilinguismo in Alto Adige. Bolzano: Istituto di ricerca economica della Camera di Commercio, Industria, Artigianato e Agricoltura di Bolzano.Google Scholar
  14. Jungunternehmer/Gruppo Giovani Imprenditori (2014). Bildungskonzept/Programma per l’Education. Bolzano: Assoimprenditori Alto Adige.Google Scholar
  15. Lavric, E. (2008). Fifteen Theses About Business language Choices. Plurilingual Strategies of Companies and of Individuals Within Companies. In Fachsprache 3–4/2008, Vienna: Braumüller, 156–168.Google Scholar
  16. Lavric, E. (Ed) (2009). Sprachwahl im Unternehmen: Tiroler Fallstudien. Ergebnisse eines Projektseminars an der Leopold-Franzens-Universität Innsbruck. Innsbruck: Innsbruck University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Lechner, O. & Moroder, B. (2010). Wirtschaftsporträt Südtirol, Bolzano: Istituto di Ricerca Economica della Camera di Commercio di Bolzano.Google Scholar
  18. Loi, M. (2009). Competenze linguistiche in Alto Adige: una lettura dei risultati alla luce della teoria del capitale umano. In Competenze linguistiche sul mercato del lavoro in Alto Adige, Ripartizione Lavoro della Provincia Autonoma di Bolzano et al. (Ed). Bolzano: Provincia Autonoma di Bolzano, 49–56.Google Scholar
  19. M (2014). Un tesoro da scoprire. Il plurilinguismo è la chiave per girare il mondo e assicurarsi il successo imprenditoriale. In M — Magazine per il Destination Marketing in Alto Adige 1 /2014. Bolzano: SMG.Google Scholar
  20. Partacini, L. (2012). Le competenze linguistiche nell’economia altoatesina: situazione ed obiettivi. Presentation held at the event Laboratorio sul futuro dell’Alto Adige–Lingue at the Bolzano Chamber of Commerce. Bolzano. Accessed fromäsentation-bozen.pdf
  21. Pörnbacher, H. (2009). Le competenze linguistiche come fattore di competitività per le aziende altoatesine. In Ripartizione Lavoro della Provincia Autonoma di Bolzano et al. (Eds), Competenze linguistiche sul mercato del lavoro in Alto Adige. Bolzano: Provincia Autonoma di Bolzano, 35–42.Google Scholar
  22. Québec Multilingual Committee (2010). The Linguistic Audit: A Strategic Tool–A Guide to Optimal Language Practices for Managers of Companies in the Québec and Chaudière -Appalaches Regions. Québec City: Québec Multilingual Committee of the Québec Chamber of Commerce.Google Scholar
  23. Reeves, N. & Wright, C. (1996). Linguistic auditing: A guide to identifying foreign language communication needs. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
  24. Vandermeeren, S. (1998). Fremdsprachen im Europäischen Unternehmen. Untersuchungen zu Bestand und Bedarf im Geschäftsalltag mit Empfehlungen für Sprachenpolitik und Sprachunterricht. Waldsteinberg: Popp.Google Scholar
  25. Vinatzer, I.M. (2009). Competenze linguistiche nel complesso tessuto economico delle aziende. In Ripartizione Lavoro della Provincia Autonoma di Bolzano et al. (Eds), Competenze linguistiche sul mercato del lavoro in Alto Adig. Bolzano: Provincia Autonoma di Bolzano, 19–21.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Elena Chiocchetti 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elena Chiocchetti

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations