Business Meetings

Janet Holmes, Meredith Marra and Bernadette Vine

in Leadership, Discourse, and Ethnicity

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199730759
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918454 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Sociolinguistics

Business Meetings

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This chapter is mainly concerned with formal business meetings, defined as interactions that focus directly on workplace business, prearranged for a specific and typically regular time, with an agreed agenda, and attended by all relevant, available members of a team. The primary focus is the transactional dimension of meeting discourse. It first identifies a number of features that can be considered the unmarked norm for New Zealand business meetings: that is, the basic structure of meetings, as well as the turn-taking norms and strategies used by the chair to manage the meeting. Over the lifetime of the Language in the Workplace Project (LWP), a robust meeting pattern has emerged, and in each of the four workplaces in the current dataset this basic meeting format is again evident. Departures from this pattern, then, become salient and of particular interest. Notable differences from the standard (Pākehā) norm are found in the Māori team meetings, providing a useful warrant for the influence of ethnically distinctive discourse. To demonstrate this, the chapter considers meeting openings and closings as well as norms for contributions to the floor; in both cases the focus is the role of leaders in meetings and the leadership privileges afforded to the meeting chair.

Keywords: transactional-oriented talk; meeting discourse; New Zealand business meetings; Language in the Workplace Project; Māori team meetings; leadership; Pākehā

Chapter.  9539 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Sociolinguistics

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