A graphic on the defintion of code switching

What is Code Switching and how does it impact the workplace?

Code Switching relates to the adjustments that individuals do to appease others and avoid discrimination. It includes altering the way one speaks, looks and behaves in certain situations, including in the workplace. Research  suggests that people of colour often Code Switch in environments where biases can be perpetuated if they don’t behave or perform in a certain way.  

In the workplace, as explained in The Fawcett Society and The Runnymede Trust  report: “A person of colour might switch the way in which they speak, express themselves in meetings and interact with colleagues in order to appear more palatable.” Code Switching involves Mental Gymnastics – exhausting and rapid thought processes that are performed almost without thinking.  

Related Concepts

Marzipan Layer 

Related Research

To find out more about the barriers women face read ECC’s summary of the Government Equalities Office paper ‘Women’s Progression in the Workplace‘ and The Fawcett Society and The Runnymede Trust  report.

Related Resources

Click here to learn more about Women’s Development Programmes: 6 Lessons from Designing Women’s Development Programmes

Click here to learn more about Inclusive Leadership: Intro to Developing Inclusive Leaders