The Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium

The Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium

23-24 May 2017
University of Gothenburg, Sweden

The emerging field of meeting science (or meeting research) has been flourishing in recent years, as evidenced several edited volumes and special issues (Allen et al. 2015; de l’Estoile 2015; Brown, Reed & Yarrow [forthcoming]; Clarke, Wodak & Kwon [forthcoming]; Sandler & Thedvall [forthcoming], Svennevig 2012). The aim of this symposium is to foster dialogue in this highly interdisciplinary field and to build a network of scholars with a shared interest in face-to-face meetings.

This symposium is the first attempt ever to bring together meeting researchers from all social sciences to create synergies and cross-fertilization between meetings related research that has so far taken place in relative isolation from each other. Participants come from disciplines such as social anthropology, organizational communication, sociology, workplace studies, linguistics, political science, psychology, management, and even applied IT (Group Support Systems).

References

Allen, J. A., Lehmann-Willenbrock, N., & Rogelberg, S. G. (Eds.). (2015). The Cambridge handbook of meeting science. Cambridge Handbooks in Psychology. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

Brown, H., Reed, A., & Yarrow, T. (Eds.). (forthcoming). Meetings: Ethnographies of Organisational Procedure, Bureaucracy and Assembly. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

Clarke, I., Wodak, R., & Kwon, W. (forthcoming). The Discourse of Strategy: Meetings Matter. Edinburgh: Edinburgh Univ. Press.

de l’Estoile, B. (Ed.). (2015). Observer en réunion. Genèses, No. 98. URL:
http://www.cairn.info/revue-geneses-2015-1.htm

Sandler, J., & Thedvall, R. (Eds.). (forthcoming). Meeting Ethnography: Meetings as Key Technologies of Contemporary Governance, Development, and Resistance. Abingdon: Routledge.

Schwartzman, H. B. (1989). The meeting: Gatherings in organizations and communities. New York: Plenum Press.

Svennevig, J. (Ed.). (2012). Special Issue on Interaction in Workplace Meetings. Discourse Studies, 14(1).

Location and Organizer

The symposium will take place at the University of Gothenburg, Campus Haga, Sprängkullsgatan 23 (see map below) in room D205.

Participants will be hosted at Hotel Scandic Rubinen located on Kungsportsavenyn.

The symposium is organized by Christoph Haug (Senior Lecturer and Marie-Curie Fellow at the University of Gothenburg) with the assistance of an international advisory committee and with the financial support of Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, the Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences and a Research Grant from the European Union’s 7th Framework Program (Marie Curie Actions).

Christoph Haug
Senior Lecturer
University of Gothenburg
EmailLinkedInAcademia

Preliminary program

Click on the sessions in the schedule below for more details.

Papers for the thematic sessions will be circulated in late April (deadline for submitting your paper is 24 April 2017). Please read them beforehand as they will not be presented).

08:00
09:00
10:00
11:00
12:00
13:00
14:00
15:00
16:00
17:00
18:00
19:00
20:00
21:00
Monday
22 May 2017
22 May 2017
Reception and welcome dinner
18:00 – 21:00
Start time
18:00

The reception and dinner will take place at Hotel Scandic Rubinen, Kungsportsavenyn 24. Reception starts at 18:00, dinner will be at 19:00.

Tuesday
23 May 2017
23 May 2017
Registration/ check-in
Start time
08:30
End time
09:00

Pick up your badge and sign-in

Opening Session
09:00 – 12:00
(incl. break)
Start time
09:00
End time
12:00

The opening session is about getting to know each other and “mapping the field” based on the participants’ previous input on the MeetingSphere platform.

Lunch
12:00 – 13:30
Start time
12:00
End time
13:30

Thematic session 1
13:30 – 15:00
Types of meetings and approaches to meetings
Session topic
Types of meetings and approaches to meetings
Start time
13:30
End time
15:00
Papers for this sesstion

Break
Start time
15:00
End time
15:30

(coffee/tea)

Open session 1
15:30 – 17:00
Start time
15:30
End time
17:00
Papers for this sesstion

The papers in this session will be given as PechaKucha presentations (20 x 20 seconds) so there will be ample time for discussion.

End of day discussion
Start time
17:00
End time
17:30

Rounding up the day, logistical questions, feedback

Dinner
19:00 – 21:00
Start time
19:00

Wednesday
24 May 2017
24 May 2017
Open session 2
09:00 – 10:00
Start time
09:00
End time
10:00
Papers for this sesstion

The papers in this session will be given as PechaKucha presentations (20 x 20 seconds) so there will be ample time for discussion.

Open session 2
09:00 – 10:00
Start time
09:00
End time
10:00
Papers for this sesstion

The papers in this session will be given as PechaKucha presentations (20 x 20 seconds) so there will be ample time for discussion.

Break

Coffee/tea

Thematic session 2
10:30 – 12:00
Meetings and their contexts – contexts and their meetings
Session topic
Meetings and their contexts
Start time
10:30
End time
12:00
Papers for this sesstion

Lunch
12:00 – 13:30

Thematic session 3
13:30 – 15:00
Meeting design and meeting practice(s)
Session topic
Meeting design and meeting practice(s)
Start time
13:30
End time
15:00
Papers for this sesstion

Break

(coffee/tea)

Concluding panel discussion
15:30 – 17:00
Start time
15:30
End time
17:00

In this session we will have some short inputs from both junior and senior scholars about their observations during the symposium, followed by a general discussion.

Dinner
17:30 – 19:30
Start time
17:30

Thursday
25 May 2017
25 May 2017
Joint breakfast
09:00 – 11:00

The breakfast will be at Hotel Scandic Rubinen. Participants who are not staying at the hotel can join the breakfast by paying for it.

Advisory Committee

François Cooren
Professor of Communication

Université de Montréal

Former president of the International Communication Association

Steven G. Rogelberg
Chancellor’s Professor and Professor of Management
University of North Carolina
Helen B. Schwartzman
Professor Emerita in Anthropology
Northwestern University
David Seidl
Professor of Organization and Management
University of Zurich
Karen Tracy
Professor of Communication and Department Chair
University of Colorado at Boulder
Wilbert van Vree
Consultant and Lecturer

Vergaderwijzer.nl

University of Amsterdam

Ruth Wodak
Distinguished Professor Emerita in Linguistics and English Language
Lancaster University

Background

Since Schwartzman’s seminal book on The Meeting, scholars have increasingly attended to meetings as a topic of research in its own right. Criticizing common sense approaches that either ignore meetings or treat them as a tool to study other things (decision-making, problem solving, conflict etc.) Schwartzman managed to turn the familiar (and hence trivial) phenomenon of meetings into something interesting and worth studying.

Today, meeting research includes studies of both kinds: while some are primarily interested in understanding and theorizing meetings, others are less focussed on the meeting itself but on various processes that include meetings such as collaboration, governance, or workplace communication. This symposium welcomes contributions from both strands of research and aims to foster the emerging interdisciplinary dialogue among researchers with a specific interest in meetings.

Questions to be Discussed

Apart from raising awareness of the multitude of existing approaches to meetings, the symposium provides an opportunity for collective reflection on the concept and phenomenon of meetings as well as on the emerging field of meeting science1. The following list of questions that might be discussed during the symposium is neither exhaustive nor compulsory. It is a tentative list to provide some orientation about the nature of discussions to be expected.

The concept and phenomenon of meetings

  • What makes “the meeting” a useful concept (and how does it differ from neighbouring concepts?)
  • What are those neighbouring concepts from which the meeting needs to be distinguished?
  • Is there a consensus on the definition of the meeting? What definition do you use and why?
  • How does the term meeting translate in other languages and what can be learned from the nuances of meaning?
  • Is the notion of meetings a universal one (i.e., all meetings around the world have something in common) or are there different phenomena that look like meetings but don’t really have any core common features?

Meeting science

  • What is/could/should be the role of meeting science (a) as an academic field of study (b) in relation to practitioners (such as meeting organizers and participants)?
  • How is the study of meetings received in various established disciplines and fields of study?
  • What difficulties are meeting researchers faced with when publishing their work or when applying for funding?
  • What are the main questions that meeting scientists are trying to tackle – both in terms of “problematizing” and in terms of “gap spotting” (Sandberg & Alvesson 2011)?
  • What do we already know about meetings? What common sense knowledge about meetings needs to be rectified?
  • Which are the most underexplored areas of meeting science?
  • Should meeting theory be seen as a theory about a specific empirical phenomenon or as a transversal perspective that can guide the study of virtually any social phenomenon (like, for instance, feminist theory)?
  • How do you teach meeting science? How can meeting science enhance the teaching of “traditional” subjects?
  • How does meeting science relate to the ubiquitous popular literature on “How to have better meetings”?
  • How to identify suitable publication outlets for studies on meetings?
References

Sandberg, J., & Alvesson, M. (2011). Ways of constructing research questions: gap-spotting or problematization? Organization, 18(1), 23–44.

Schwartzman, H.B., 1989. The Meeting, Plenum Press.

Notable Replies

  1. And this interview which came out today in the Swedish daily Göteborgs Posten was also triggered by the press release about the symposium (even though the symposium isn't mentioned in the final text):

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