The language of business: discourse patterns in British and Italian meetings

Bargiela, F., 1993. The language of business: discourse patterns in British and Italian meetings. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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Couched in a phenomenological epistemology of the social world, this thesis regards coherence-building, or sense-making, as the aim of the process in which individuals engage in their daily lives.

In a business context, the fundamental form of coherence-building activity is the Meeting. Through it, individuals seek to make sense of the contradictions that inform the social world in the pursuit of a more coherent, i.e. comprehensible, order.

This process is visible in meetings at the levels of discourse and text-context interaction, and at the structural level. For this reason, a multi-layered interpretative framework has been proposed in order to investigate the three dimensions of meetings through which coherence is realised: the textual, the social and the structural dimension.

At the textual level, coherence is achieved through connectedness, i.e. intra- and inter-textual thematic continuity realised by semantically related pointers.

Under the social dimension, the conceptual framework investigates coherence as sense-making through discourse. Unlike connectedness, which relies on the presence of surface linguistic features such as 'theme', coherence as sense-making looks at the deeper, and therefore less immediately visible, realisation of text-context dependency. Pronominalisation, metaphorical expressions and phatic language are shown to be powerful indicators of this activity.

Finally, coherence in the organisation of the interaction emerges from the investigation of common structural features of meetings in a generic sense.

The originality of this thesis lies not only in the analysis of business meetings as a subject rather than a tool of research, but especially in placing meetings within a phenomenological perspective as the major sense- making activity taking place in the business environment. Unlike most work in spoken business interaction, the thesis is based empirically on a set of recordings of natural language data in two large multi-national companies, during which the author was present.

The second element of originality of this research is its cross-cultural nature: for the first time English and Italian business interactions have been compared and contrasted, and the influence of organisational and national culture highlighted in the process.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Bargiela, F.
Date: 1993
ISBN: 9781369323153
Rights: This copy has been supplied on the understanding that it is copyright material and that no quotation form the thesis may be published without proper acknowledgement.
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 16 Jun 2021 11:42
Last Modified: 22 Sep 2023 13:46

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