Workplace interaction

Meredith Marra, Bernadette VineJanet Holmes
Table of contents

The interests of those researchers in the field of pragmatics have always been diverse; interaction and meaning making is filled with fascinating intricacies. It is surprising, therefore, that despite foundational work by Gumperz (1982a, 1982b), a dedicated focus on interaction at work took so long to emerge as a recognised research cluster within the wide scope of activity, and that workplace literature only began to appear in noticeable volume in the 1990s. We spend a significant proportion of our lives at work and the people we interact with are an important part of our social worlds. The way in which we navigate our professional identities, our workplace teams and our industries was ripe for investigation. In this chapter we cover the now burgeoning area of (socio)pragmatics dedicated to the study of institutional and workplace talk, from a traditional focus on speech acts through team norms to societal values, and from elicitation techniques that report practices through the use of naturalistic recordings to the metapragmatic understandings evidenced in interviews. The synthesis enables us to demonstrate the developing research interests of workplace scholars.

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