Inclusive and Exclusive Identity Construction in Business Communication: The Case of Multimodal Signs in the Linguistic Landscape of a Danish University

Margrethe Petersen*, Carmen Daniela Maier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/proceedingConference abstract in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


This contribution springs from a larger project aimed at investigating communication in organisations as evidenced through multimodal means in their linguistic landscapes (Gorter 2019). For present purposes, the focus is on communication by organisations and ways in which such communication is exclusionary, inclusive and/or exclusive and, as such, contributing to or excluding diversity.
Methodology and Data
Adopted from the multidisciplinary perspective, this contribution reports on the
qualitative study of a site at a Danish university, specifically a refectory and its
immediate environs. The paper investigates multimodal signage targeting students as a non-integral part of their studies in order to identify how inclusion and exclusion are discursively constructed in internal and external business communication.
Through multimodal and linguistic landscape analysis, the paper investigates the
strategies of stance-taking identifiable in the signage at the site and their contribution to the inclusive or exclusive construction of identities. The stance-taking exploration was centred on the strategies of engagement enhancement, while the identity construction strategies were examined from the perspective of the interplay between community and individuality. The impact of the meaning-making interaction of several semiotic resources – from language to images and materiality – upon these strategies is discussed from a social semiotic perspective
(Höllerer et al. 2019).
This analytical work provides a nuanced understanding of business signage by
systematically explaining how the discursive and multimodal character of the
signage contributes to identity construction, and hence potentially diversity, by
providing new sources of meaning-making that cannot be found at the level of a
single semiotic resource.
Gorter, D. (2019): Methods and techniques for linguistic landscape research:
About definitions, core issues and technological innovations, in: Pütz,
M. / Mundt, N. (Hrsg.): Expanding the linguistic landscape: Linguistic diversity, multimodality and the use of space as a semiotic resource, Bristol: Multilingual Matters, S. 39‒57.
Höllerer, M. A. / Van Leeuwen, T. / Janksary D. / Meyer, R. E. / Andersen, H.
T. / Vaara, E. (2019): Visual and multimodal research in organization and
management studies, London: Routledge.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEUKO 2022 – Diversity in der Wirtschaftskommunikation : Proceedings zur 22. interdisziplinären Tagung des Forschungsnetzwerkes Europäische Kulturen in der Wirtschaftskommunikation – European Cultures in Business and Corporate Communication (EUKO)
EditorsSilvia Boßow-Thies, Marcus Stumpf
Number of pages2
Place of publicationEssen
PublisherAkademie Verlag
Publication dateJun 2023
ChapterTrack 7
ISBN (Print)978-3-89275-288-2
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-89275-289-9
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023
EventEUKO 2022 - Diversity in der Wirtschaftskommunikation - FOM Hochschule für Oekonomie & Management, Hamborg, Germany
Duration: 6 Oct 20228 Oct 2022!acc=programm/accid=23297


ConferenceEUKO 2022 - Diversity in der Wirtschaftskommunikation
LocationFOM Hochschule für Oekonomie & Management
Internet address
SeriesKCMS Schriftenreihe der FOM


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