In the study of linguistics, code switching and style shifting are both forms of communication. Code switching involves interchanging or switching between two or more languages in a communication process. One uses more than one language in the same conversation in order to communicate his/her views more effectively (Swann and Graddol 20). An example in a code switch between English and Kiswahili language is “Mimi nitavote Kwa uchaguzi wa next year ndio niweze kumchagua my fourth president” which means (I will vote in the next year general elections so that I can be able to choose my fourth president). Style switching on the other hand involves alternation of different styles of speech in a conversation but in the same language. It does not involve switching to a new or entirely different language as it is in code switching. It merely involves varying the style of speech in a conversation or communication process to achieve the desired impression.
While Code switching is common to bilingual speakers, style switching is common to monolingual speakers. Style switching will therefore employ alterations in the phonology, semantics, and morphology of the same language to communicate more effectively. Both forms of communication are serving a useful purpose in achieving specific desirable impressions in the communication process. Some of the desired outcomes include suiting the context, communication purpose, audience, identity and the social class or group (Myer-Scotton 5). They are similar in that they employ same cues of language variations to achieve similar results.
Code switching and style switching are important strategic tools that a decision maker can employ at the managerial level. Making effective decisions that affect many people in an organization requires careful planning. The planning has to consider the impact, approach and communication process. As a strategic tool, a decision maker/manager can use code switching or style switching to manage employee relationships, diverge, or converge groups, defining identities and creating solidarity at workplace. A decision maker will apply the tools differently as follows.
In defining the identities in an organization, decision makers can use code switching while communicating to different classes in an organization. A good example is a case in which a manager can use the official formal language when reporting to superiors while switching to the native language in delivering instructions to junior workers in a more understandably way. It defines his role as a manager to superior while also defining his role as a guide to juniors. Switching between different languages when communicating in an organization can also create a division or a union in groups within it. Switching to a common language creates unity while switching to uncommon language that is specific to certain groups will create division.
Myers-Scotton, C., and Ury, W. "Bilingual Strategies: The Social Functions of Codeswitching." ." Journal of the Sociology of Language, 1997.
Swann, Joan. and David, Graddol. Style shifting, code switching. London: UK: Routledge, 2007. Print.