Material and embodied resources in the accomplishment of closings in technology-mediated business meetings
University of Oulu
This study uses conversation analysis (CA) and video-recorded data from an international company to investigate closings in technology-mediated (i.e. distant) meetings. The focus is on the situated affordances and multimodal resources that the chair and participants deploy to transition from meeting talk to a coordinated exit. Due to restricted access to bodily-visual leave-taking behaviours, other mutually recognized practices need to be implemented to initiate and advance closings: (1) when closing is made relevant as the next step, (2) when opportunity spaces to move out of the closing emerge, and (3) when departure from the meeting needs to be negotiated. This progression requires the close coordination of co-participants’ vocal and embodied conduct in the physical setting and rendering actions publicly intelligible via the screen at specific moments. The analysis portrays closings as emergent, collaborative accomplishments, in which the import of multimodal turn constructions and (dis)aligning behaviours must be negotiated in situ.
Business meetings today are frequently organized between people in different geographical locations. Previous studies show that engagement by participants in multiple interactional spaces (see e.g. Mondada 2013) affects the ways in which participation frameworks are organized at the beginning of meetings (Heath and Luff 2000; Muñoz 2016; Markman 2009; Oittinen and Piirainen-Marsh 2015; Rintel 2013) and become reshaped at other junctures in meetings, e.g. in moments of interactional trouble (Oittinen 2018). However, findings on the ways distributed work groups end their encounters are scarce. In face-to-face meetings closings include initiating and traveling through a “closing track” (Button 1991), shifting from one turn-taking format to another, i.e. from meeting talk to multiparty talk (e.g. Boden 1994; Nielsen 2013), and doing the actual leave-taking. All these stages require the mutual coordination of talk and embodied actions that are produced in conjunction with each other and the ongoing activity (see LeBaron and Jones 2002). In technology-mediated settings, where the participants have limited or no visual access to each other’s environments and conduct, the joint utilization of interactional resources and bodily configurations for the sequential work of closing is more challenging. The present study investigates the situated affordances and multimodal resources that the chair and participants draw on to manage this practical problem when ending audio-based multiparty meetings.
Arminen, Ilkka, Christian Licoppe, and Anna Spagnolli
2016 ”Respecifying Mediated Interaction.” Research on Language and Social Interaction 49 (4): 290–309.
Asmuß, Birte, and Jan Svennevig
2009 “Meeting Talk: An Introduction.” Journal of Business Communication 45 (4): 408–429.
1994The Business of Talk: Organizations in Action. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Broth, Mathias, and Lorenza Mondada
2012 “Walking Away: The Embodied Achievement of Activity Closings in Mobile Interaction.” Journal of Pragmatics 47: 41–58.
1991 “Conversation-in-a-Series.” In Talk & Social Structure. Studies in Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis, ed. by Deirdre Boden, and Don Zimmermann, 251–277. Cambridge: Polity Press.
1987 “Moving out of Closings.” In Talk and Social Organization, ed. by Graham Button, and John R. E. Lee, 101–151. Clevedon, Avon: Multilingual Matters.
Deppermann, Arnold, Reinhold Schmitt, and Lorenza Mondada
2010 “Agenda and Emergence: Contingent and Planned Activities in a Meeting.” Journal of Pragmatics 42 (6): 1700–1718.
DiDomenico, Stephen M., and Jeffrey Boase
2013 “Bringing Mobiles into the Conversation. Applying a Conversational Analytic Approach to the Study of Mobiles in Co-Present Interaction.” In Discourse 2.0 Language and New Media, ed. by Deborah Tannen, and Anna M. Trester, 119–132. Georgetown University Press.
Due, Brian, and Christian Licoppe
2020 “Video-Mediated Interaction (VMI): Introduction to a Special Issue on the Multimodal Accomplishment of VMI Institutional Activities.” Social Interaction. Video-Based Studies of Human Sociality 3 (3).
2006 “Participants’ Online Analysis and Multimodal Practices: Projecting the End of the Turn and the Closing of the Sequence.” Discourse Studies 8 (1): 117–29.
2011 “Interactional Space and the Study of Embodied Talk-in-Interaction.” In Space in Language and Linguistics: Geographical, Interactional, and Cognitive Perspectives, ed. by Peter Auer, Martin Hilpert, Anja Stukenbrock, and Benedikt Szmrecsanyi, 247–275. Boston: De Gruyter.
2013 “Embodied and Spatial Resources for Turn-Taking in Institutional Multi-Party Interactions: Participatory Democracy Debates.” Journal of Pragmatics 46 (1): 39–68.
Muñoz, Arantxa S.
2016 “Attending Multi-Party Videoconference Meetings: The Initial Problem.” Language@Internet 13.
Nevile, Maurice, Pentti Haddington, Trine Heinemann, and Mirka Rauniomaa
2014Interacting with Objects: Language, Materiality, and Social Activity. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Nielsen, Mie F.
2012 “Using Artifacts in Brainstorming Sessions to Secure Participation and Decouple Sequentiality.” Discourse Studies 14 (1): 87–109.
Nielsen, Mie F.
2013 “ ‘Stepping Stones’ in Opening and Closing Department Meetings.” Journal of Business Communication 50 (1): 34–67.
2018 “Multimodal Accomplishment of Alignment and Affiliation in the Local Space of Distant Meetings.” Culture and Organization 24 (1): 35–53.