Spreading the management gospel – in English
In this paper I argue that in and through the ‘English language’ and the
‘discourse of management’ two powerful forces of (discursive) action combine and reinforce each other in the shaping of an increasingly ‘global rea-
lity’, which is based on the assumptions inherent in these two
communicative sources. The English language itself is seen as the conduit
through which individual agents acquire the knowledge and language, viz.
the discourse, of management and through which they are enabled to con-
struct themselves as ‘appropriate individuals’. However, neither ‘English’
nor the ‘management discourse’ are seen as neutral and empty structural
systems – rather they are expressive as well as constitutive of particular ideologies and situated in specific socio-historical contexts which privilege
particular collectives and agents over others and create a unifying system of
knowledge and action. Together they express, symbolize and encourage the
spread of a particular form of global capitalism. It has been acknowledged
that the global spread of English is bound up with many other cultural,
economic and political forces and the emergence of a particular ‘world
order’ (Pennycook 1994 and 2000; Phillipson 1992). The contribution of
this paper is that it investigates English as a ‘global’ language and its ties to an increasingly powerful discourse – that of ‘management’ and ‘managing’.
Together these two communicative systems form a field of cultural, social
and economic forces, which favours the construction of a global world in
line with their particular assumptions and ideologies.