Language policy, tacit knowledge, and institutional learning
Perrin, Daniel (2011). Language policy, tacit knowledge, and institutional learning: The case of the Swiss national broadcast company. Current Issues in Language Planning, 4, 2. 331-348. Peer reviewed.
Promoting public understanding is what the programming mandate asks the Swiss public broadcasting company SRG SSR1 to do. From a sociolinguistic perspective, this means linking speech communities with other speech communities, both between and within the German-, French-, Italian-, and Romansh-speaking parts of Switzerland. In the IDéE SUISSE project, we investigated whether and how SRG SSR, caught between public service demands and market forces, should and actually does fulfill such language policy requirements. Four research modules were combined: module A focused on language policy expectations; module B on media management’s interpretation; module C on media production; and module D on media reflection in the newsrooms. Methodologically, ethnography of news was extended through grounded theory and transdisciplinary action research. Interviews with policy-makers and media managers were triangulated with in-depth analyses of text production processes and workplace conversations. The overall findings are whereas the managers are usually frustrated by the expectations of media policy-makers, some experienced journalists find emergent solutions to overcome the conflict between the public mandate and the market. This tacit knowledge can be identified and made explicit to the entire organization in systemic knowledge transformation, for example, through empirically grounded recommendations.