This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium Maarten Vanneste, Meeting Design Institute Abstract There is a significant difference between a real experience and watching it on a small screen alone. Between these two extremes, there lies a whole range of online/virtual and Hybrid meeting formats. Each of these come with an increasing level of engagement which needs to be quantified in the coming years. This paper is an essay putting time and place in a graph that shows the different formats in a qualitative position of lower or higher engagement... Time and place of the real meeting (same time & same place) versus the engagement levels in other formats of ‘presentation consumption’ or ‘people meeting’.
This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium David Gibson, University of Notre Dame (Sociology) Abstract One thing people do in meetings, particularly important meetings, is justify decisions — including those lying in the past, when things have gone sour, and those lying in the future (and perhaps imminent). Particularly weighty are decisions made by political leaders, and arguably most weighty of all are decisions to use violence against foreign or domestic adversaries, if only because it is harder to undo violence than, say, to undo a tariff or a cut in entitlements. This is a paper about how heads of state and their advisors justify violence to one another, drawing on data from several cases: Lyndon Johnson’s phone calls leading up to his decision to retaliate against North Vietnam for the (partly imagined) Gulf of Tonkin incident in August of 1964; Saddam Hussein’s discussions with his top advisers a few days before he ordered the invasion of Iran in September of 1980, setting off the eight-year Iran-Iraq War; the meeting of the Polish Politburo in December of 1981 from which emerged the authorization to impose martial law (a kind of gateweay to violence) in response to the challenge posed by Solidarity; and the deliberations of the Standing Committee of the Chinese Politburo during the student protests in the spring of 1989, which resulted in the imposition of martial law and, soon afterward, the bloody clearing of Tiananmen Square. My goal is to explore justification as an interactional phenomenon. I begin by unpacking the logic of justification, including both its basic components and its syntactic variations. Then I make some observations about the role of justifications in warranting state violence. Next I take up each of my five cases in turn, providing some historical context and then considering the justifications provided and the conversational dynamics surrounding those. The Conclusion briefly lists some things we learn from these cases about how states justify violence, many of them unanticipated by my initial theorization.
Examining Meetings, Context and Initiatives Promoting a Culture of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the United Arab Emirates
This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium Gina Poncini, Khalifa University of Science and Technology (Humanities and Social Sciences) Abstract: This paper examines meetings and their context in the changing landscape of the United Arab Emirates. It explores ways to investigate the social, cultural and economic context of meetings, in particular team meetings, as the country experiences rapid change. Emirati females are entering the labor force in greater numbers and taking on new roles and leadership positions, encouraged by the government. Efforts to diversify the economy and decrease dependence on oil encompass a range of initiatives such as the Khalifa Fund, which aims to foster entrepreneurship among Emirati Nationals, and programs supporting Emirati participation in the private sector to decrease reliance on public sector jobs, considered unsustainable. Additional government initiatives to promote a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation underline the emphasis on changing the mindset and building a knowledge economy. One example is a recent government program developed in conjunction with Stanford University to integrate innovation and entrepreneurship into the curriculum in UAE universities. Also contributing to efforts are competitions bringing together student teams to showcase their work on innovation, design and start-up companies. In this scenario, investigating team meetings, professional interactions, and their contexts takes on significance. Besides the changing composition of the workforce, more Emirati students are collaborating as members of student teams, sometimes in recently developed mixed gender degree programs in engineering and science. The UAE has a high degree of female educational attainment; one government university was founded as an all-women university before admitting men, and other government institutions have male and female colleges. Depending on their background, students as well as new employees and entrepreneurs may have differing levels of experience in mixed gender professional settings. The paper draws on preliminary data, including ethnographic data such as participant-observation at industry events on entrepreneurship; semi-structured and unstructured interviews; and focus groups with students. It also draws on work in progress on a multidisciplinary project on Emirati female entrepreneurship and labor force participation (Ozcan, Poncini and Adnan, in progress) to identify areas of interest for more in-depth investigation. The paper discusses challenges in collecting data and the role of data concerning the external context of meetings. The role of informal and formal interactions in professional contexts and the perceptions of such interactions are explored in terms of how knowledge sharing and collaboration can be enhanced while respecting local culture and individual differences. The paper considers the interplay with local culture in examining the physical context of meetings as well. Newly constructed campus buildings designed with varied spaces and movable furnishings allow different configurations of interaction, for example in the student hub and the library, enhancing collaboration. An additional space typical of the local culture, however, is also worthy of investigation: the Majlis – a “place of sitting” where people can socialize but also discuss issues and events. The paper investigates the way different spaces and furnishings, including the Majlis, which often has floor cushions around the walls, can complement each other as environments for meetings in the context of ongoing initiatives to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. Ozcan, B., Poncini, G. and Adnan, W. In progress. Examining Emirati Female Labor Force Participation and Entrepreneurship in the United Arab Emirates: A Multidisciplinary Approach. Grant at the London School of Economics Middle East Center. http://www.lse.ac.uk/middleEastCentre/research/Collaboration-Projects/2014/Zayed/home.aspx
This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium Hans Jonas Gunzelmann, Scuola Normale Superiore (Institute of Human and Social Sciences) Abstract: Social movement organizations (SMOs) embrace democratic modes of decision-making in their meetings, using either consensus or majority voting. Unlike in bureaucratic organizations, no individual has the power to impose a decision; all members participate in the process. For a long time, it has been common sense in organizational studies that horizontal decision-making leads to endless discussion, fights among participants, and ineffective use of resources. This reflects the long shadow of Max Weber and his claim that bureaucratic organizations produce the most efficient results. This view is not exclusive to organizational studies, though. Research in social movement studies and political sociology sees democratic decision-making as valuable, but inefficient – an assumption encapsulated in the title of Francesca Polletta’s (2002) book Freedom Is an Endless Meeting. However, there is little empirical evidence for this claim. In a recent article, Darcy K. Leach (2016) shows that social movement groups can act quite efficiently: despite using consensus, they make most decisions in under 30 minutes. This paper goes even further and focuses on the relationship between conflict and efficiency. Drawing on ethnographic and audio recorded data I gathered in two housing cooperatives in Madison, WI (USA), I assess the claim that horizontal decision-making is slowed down by conflict. I find that controversial decisions take about 25 percent longer than those free from conflict. However, this difference appears to be marginal given the fact that cooperatives are generally quite efficient organizations. Moreover, they make most of their decisions without any controversies. Even when disagreement arises, it is seldom severe enough to block the decision-making. However, the scope of these findings is somewhat limited, because of the specific character of the organizations and the small number of cases. Still, this paper extends Leach’s work in two ways: First, while Leach only considers consensus, I examine democratic groups using both consensus and majority voting. Second, I use a more precise operationalization of efficiency: The audio recorded data allow to directly measure the necessary time for a decision without asking the participants. Keywords: Decision-making; Efficiency; Meetings; Democracy; Social Movement Organizations References Leach, Darcy K. 2016. “When Freedom is Not an Endless Meeting: A New Look at Efficiency in Consensus-Based Decision Making.” The Sociological Quarterly 57(1):36–70. Polletta, Francesca. 2002. Freedom Is an Endless Meeting: Democracy in American Social Movements. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium Elise Keith, Lucid Meetings Abstract: At Lucid Meetings, we work to solve the “meeting problem” in the US. We sought statistics to help quantify this problem. How many meetings are people holding? How many of them are ineffective? What does all this wasted time cost? We found lots of numbers, but as we dug into the sources, we realized they were out of date. This paper details our attempt to uncover more modern metrics and the conclusions we reached after reviewing the available data from literature, industry surveys, and online demographic data sources.
This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium Mie Femø Nielsen, University of Copenhagen (Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics) Abstract: Sticky notes were invented by mistake by 3M. Dr. Spencer Silver accidentally created a "low-tack," reusable, pressure-sensitive adhesive in 1968 when he was working on developing a super-strong adhesive. He promoted his "solution without a problem" within 3M both informally and through seminars and in 1974 his colleague, Art Fry, came up with the idea of using the adhesive to anchor his bookmark in his hymnbook and then developed the idea further with his team. The original notes' yellow color was also chosen by accident, as the lab had only yellow scrap paper in stock. Today they come in different colours, shapes and sizes, and competing companies sell them under different names. It is the basic physical properties of Post-Its/stickies/sticky notes that makes them interesting for the study of social interaction: It is paper that can be glued to something without getting stuck so that they can be moved and glued to something else. Participants can write on it, draw on it, look at it, read what is on it, point to it, touch it, select it, stick it to something, move it, reapply it to something (else), talk about it, create patterns or pictures with it, store it and throw it away. It has been argued that the visual, moveable, inscribable and tangible qualities of sticky notes make them perspicuous objects for investigations of multimodality, embodiment, text and materiality in interaction (Day and Wagner 2014). But not much research has been done on the use of sticky notes in social interaction. Sticky notes can be used to simulate a lot of the actions we know from other kinds of social interaction, and they can be used to do something else, too. It is equally interesting when postits can be used to do similar things as regular turns at talk, and when they can be used to do something more or different. This paper proposes a review of the most important interactional functions of sticky notes in business meetings and workshops: 1. Contribute to social activities 2. Record contributions 3. Enable and chair participation 4. Orchestrate sequences of actions 5. Secure fluidity and transience 6. Enable collaborative sensemaking 7. Communicate results and identities In this paper I will address the social actions enabled by sticky notes and discuss the impacts of those for social interaction, and present data pertaining to these issues. The focus is on how they are treated in the interaction as objects and as turns-at-talk. I will analyze examples of some of the most fundamental functions. The data for this study are taken from a large pool of video recordings of workshops and business meetings. The analyses draw on conversation analysis and ethnomethodology, and transcripts are made in accordance with the notation system originally developed by Gail Jefferson.
Process push-back: A grounded practical theory for facilitators facing challenges to the meeting design
This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium Leah Sprain, University of Colorado Boulder (Communication) Abstract Within the meetings literature, ‘facilitator challenges’ often references difficult situations that facilitators must navigate, such has dominating participants, minimal participation, disrespect, and conflict. This paper takes on a related type of facilitator challenge: moments when participants challenge the meeting design or group process implemented by the facilitator. In, particular, I consider process push-back within public meetings with deliberative designs where a facilitator guides a small group of six to nine participants in deliberative discussion (Gastil & Black, 2008). Rather than presume that these challenges are inappropriate or out of line, this paper turns to social interaction during actual meetings to develop practical theory for handling process push-back given the potential that such push-back may actually be an important form of furthering democratic values. Following Walmsley (2009), I recognize that sometimes public participants uphold democratic values by questioning how facilitators frame the problem or control the discussion. Sometimes process push-back challenges power in ways that serves democracy. Yet celebrating and inviting process push-back could easily derail meetings and undermine their democratic potential. This paper uses approaches from grounded practical theory (GPT) (Craig & Tracy, 1995) to understand how facilitators should handle participant challenges to the meeting process. GPT starts by considering how people actually act in particular settings and uses that understanding to inform normative theory. The corpus of data comes from three public processes held in in the Rocky Mountain Western United States: a community process to build a new campus stadium, a leadership task force of a regional planning group, and a public meeting on community resilience. Across these three processes, I analyze utterance-level transcripts of 25 small group discussions totaling over 500 pages. I begin by asking about communication practices at the technical level (Craig & Tracy, 1995): how do participants in deliberative forums push-back on meeting design? How do facilitators respond to process push-back? I identify both the discursive forms of process push-back and facilitator responses across these sites. Next I consider the problem level (Craig & Tracy, 1995): how does process push-back uphold and challenge democratic virtues? In turn, I consider: how do facilitator responses further or undermine democratic values? Finally, I use these findings as the basis for normative theorizing, in this case developing principles for deliberative design (Aakhus, 2007; Sprain, Carcasson, & Merolla, 2014) and facilitator practice. In turn, it contributes to the interdisciplinary literature on meeting facilitation, particular how facilitators manage interactional trouble in groups and how close attention to social interaction can illuminate discursive aspects of meeting dynamics. References Aakhus, M. (2001). Technocratic and design stances toward communication expertise: How GDSS facilitators understand their work. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 29, 341–371. doi:10.1080/00909880128113 Craig, R. T. & Tracy, K. (1995). Grounded practical theory: The case of intellectual discussion. Communication Theory, 5, 248-272. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2885.1995.tb00108.x Gastil, J. & Black, L. W. (2008). Public deliberation as the organizing principle for political communication research. Journal of Public Deliberation, 4, article 3. Available at: http://services.bepress.com/jpd/vol4/iss1/art3. Sprain, L., Carcasson, M., & Merolla, A. (2014). Experts in public deliberation: Lessons from a deliberative design on water needs. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 42, 150-167. Walmsley, H. L. (2009). Mad scientists bend the frame of biobank governance in British Columbia. Journal of Public Deliberation, 5(1).
This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium Tuire Oittinen, University of Jyväskylä (Department of language and communication studies) Abstract International business meetings today include the frequent use of modern technologies to enable collaboration between distributed workgroups. Participation in technology-mediated (i.e. distant) meetings involves the management of three interactional spaces: i.e. official meeting space, local space and other (virtual) spaces (Wasson, 2006). This raises a practical problem of how to create and sustain shared orientation to the tasks at hand and specific meeting items (e.g. openings, closings, topic-transitions). In face-to-face meetings embodied resources, like the gaze and gesture, along with material objects are frequently used to secure participation and accomplish alignment with others (e.g. Nevile et al., 2014; Mondada, 2006). My doctoral dissertation depicts how distant meeting participants coordinate and manage their actions in the physical and virtual meeting spaces. This paper provides with an introduction to the verbal, embodied and other resources of interaction that distant meeting participants draw on. The focus is on the interactional order and alignment constructions that contribute to the unfolding of meeting interaction and different types of transitions: i.e. openings and closings, and problematic situations during meeting-related talk. The methodological approach is multimodal conversation analysis (CA) that enables a detailed description of the sequential organization of participants’ verbal and bodily resources along with their orientation to material objects (e.g. screen). The data consists of 14 video-recorded meetings in an office of an international company in Central Europe. In the meetings there are usually two or more participants physically present in the room while others participate via audio connection from different geographical locations. In addition, the software used enables the distribution of agenda on everyone’s screen. The analysis conducted so far shows that the transitions between meeting talk and opening and closing phases contain similar steps as found in face-to-face-meetings (Nielsen, 2013). However, they additionally call for a close coordination of actions within the complex setting of multiple interactional spaces (e.g. the temporal organization of bodily conducts and talk, different chair and participant strategies used, and physical orientations to screen). The unequal division of interactional resources due to restrictions on visual access emphasizes the juxtaposition of local space and meeting space. This can be seen also in problematic situations where the ‘trouble’ is not made public in the meeting space (e.g. technological trouble). Thus, alignments can also be joint accomplishments only between the local participants that concurrently excludes the distant participants who are unable to see all of the embodied conducts. Overall, it would be oversimplified to say that technology is a mere barrier to the interaction, since what is more important, are the ways in which participants themselves display their orientation towards both the constraints and affordances in the multimodal environment. My work contributes to the body of research that attempts to grasp the idea of meeting interaction by relying on the inductive method of the CA. While knowledge about the external context is admittedly significant, I also think that a “bottom-up approach” is relevant, as it provides with deeper understanding on the internal processes of all kinds of meetings.
This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium Willem Standaert, Vlerick Business School & Ghent University (Marketing & Sales) Abstract (not available here)
This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium Simone Kauffeld, TU Braunschweig (Industrial/Organizational and Social Psychology) Abstract Meetings are a prominent activity in organizations and are used for a variety of purposes such as sharing information and decision-making (e.g., Scott, Allen, Rogelberg, & Kello, 2015; Van Vree, 2011). However, team meetings often take a negative turn (e.g., Rogelberg, Leach, Warr, & Burnfield, 2006). In order to reach a better understanding of what constitutes a successful meeting, a growing amount of research has focused on the fine-grained processes that determine more or less functional interaction during meetings (e.g., Kauffeld & Lehmann-Willenbrock, 2012). In particular, more and more research has focused on the observable behavioral conduct of meeting participants and used behavioral coding and subsequent sequential contingency analysis techniques such as lag sequential analysis to detect recurring patterns of team interactions during meetings (see Kauffeld & Meyers, 2009 for complaining and solution patterns or see Lehmann-Willenbrock & Allen, 2014 for humor patterns during meetings). These studies provided important insights into emergent behavioral patterns during organizational meetings and showcased what actually happens during specific meetings. However, it is fairly unclear how these findings can be generalized across different types of meetings, different industries, and even different cultures. Moreover — and even though such studies shed light on the behavioral contingencies during meetings — the “bigger picture” might be missed. Scholars frequently argue that meetings offer an important gateway to dynamic social processes in organizations. Nevertheless, meetings are often studied as isolated events. We argue that future meeting research should take stronger efforts to connect the dots between specific meetings processes and the larger social context that meetings are embedded in. During their meeting interactions, meeting participants do not only exchange information and work towards specific task goals but they also build common ground, manage relationships, and engage in sensemaking (Scott et al., 2015). All of this is influenced by prior experiences, individual characteristic, group norms, leadership influence, and the organizational culture as a whole (just to name a few). Thus, everything that is said or done during a meeting has ties to what has happened before (within and outside the meeting) and will likely influence future team and organizational functioning. In this paper, we want to highlight the potentials and possibilities for gathering meaningful and multimethod data that do not neglect the surrounding social context of meetings. Through the lens of an organizational psychologist, we discuss which types of data can be collected before, during, and after organizational meetings (e.g., video data, social network data, survey data, sensor data, etc.), and we discuss how these different types of data relate to each other. For example, each approach yields data that has a different level of granularity ranging from very fine-grained (such as studying moment-to-moment dynamics of verbal conduct) to more coarse-grained (such as overall meeting satisfaction). Another basis to differentiate types of data would be in terms of their objectivity such as comparing sensor data and participant responses on a questionnaire. These different possibilities in data gathering also produce new challenges. First, gathering meeting data of real groups in their natural context is difficult to obtain, especially if meeting researcher aim for multimethod and multisource data. Second, even if rich data was collected, a number of questions remain or new questions may arise: How can the data be analyzed? How can the data be synchronized? Which type of research questions can be answered? What kind of analytical techniques and methods should be applied? Presumably, we will not be able to answer all of these questions in our ten page paper. Instead, our aim is to provide a fresh perspective on the manifold possibilities to gather rich meeting data and to provide a list of questions that can guide a meaningful discussion. Finally, we will provide an initial outlook and future research questions concerning the social context of organizational meetings (we will be happy to discuss and build on these ideas during the symposium).
This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium Sophie Thunus, University of Liège (Sociology of organisations and institutional systems) Abstract Meetings are brackets in ongoing social processes and traditional contexts of action as organisations and institutions. Meetings oblige people to stop performing activities they feel to be the core of their work and leaving the organisations they work in, to move elsewhere and engage in interactions with different kinds of people. Meetings thus induce movements, displacements and some kind of separations between what happen into the meeting frame (into brackets) and the outside environment. Does it mean that meeting actions and interactions are independent from the meeting’s environment? Does the meeting environment impact on what is going on through the meeting and, conversely, do the meeting actions and interactions impact on the outside environment? Which kinds of empirical data can be used to analyse what is happening inside and outside the brackets? And how observations, interviews and documents can complement one another in exploring the relationship between meetings and their environment (including more or less related meetings occurring in that environment)? In this paper, I propose using the metaphor of “brackets” to explore the relationship between meetings and their environment. Based on qualitative studies of different Belgian health policies I first use the two images of “bracketing out” and “removing brackets” to explore, respectively, how the meeting environment is represented and reflected on through the meeting (into brackets), and how meeting actions and interactions trigger changes in external processes and contexts of action. I argue that direct or participant observation is essential for understanding what is happening into brackets and, particularly, how successive inter-individual alignments support the expression and representation of the meeting environment. Observations of meetings are complemented by semi-structured interviews and document analyses. Meetings produce situated and contingent images of their environment. These images draw from the meeting participants’ individual experience and perception of the environment. In the meantime, they provide them with different and collectively relevant representations of that environment. Following the meeting, collective representations and the related decisions are most of time written down, i.e. inscribed in documents intended to circulate the meeting production outside the brackets. But inscriptions are very partial representations of meeting interactions. Comparing meeting documents with the observed interactions enables to know what the meeting participants refuse or accept circulating in their environment and how and why they express the meeting production. Next to document analyses, semi-structured interviews provide researchers with means to explore the meeting participants’ individual representations and how they change through the meeting. Interviews are conducted both before and after the observed meeting and enable to grasp the transformative capacity of meeting, i.e. how the participants’ ideas, opinions, fears and strategies were changed by passing through the brackets. Following the meeting, semi-structured interviews are particularly helpful to go deeper in the social logic of inscription, by exploring the reasons why the meeting participants struggled to hide or to mention particular aspect of the meeting interactions. Finally, observation, interviews and document analyses are means to access to the formal and informal realities of meetings. The combination of these three methods allows to question the relative closeness and openness of meetings and to explore the relationship between what happens within and outside the brackets.
This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium Kyoungmi Kim, University of Warwick (Centre for Applied Linguistics) Jo Angouri, University of Warwick (Applied Linguistics) Abstract Meetings play a central role in any professional setting, commonly seen as the organisation’s epitome and the context where new knowledge emerges, professional identities are negotiated and practices are brought to scrutiny. The type and function of meetings varies but they are easily recognisable by their participants. In this paper we are particularly interested in meetings employees define as having a primarily problem solving function and we distinguish between formal and informal events. Problem-‐solving is a high stakes organisational activity and as such, it has been studied from a range of non-‐linguistic perspectives. Behaviourist and cognitivist studies are common and aim to model patterns and generalise the problem solving stages. Yet, this work typically does not address the role of interaction in the problem-‐solving practice. The relatively recent discourse turn in business studies has argued for the role of language in (re)constructing knowledge and reality, rather than merely representing it, and thus calls for a close examination of the use of language in researching organisational activities. This allows to capture the complex ways in which meanings are negotiated, reified and become the organisation. Hence, there is a need for further research in the sociolinguistics of problem talk to explore how people ‘do problems’ at work in and through interaction (Angouri and Bargiela-‐Chiappini, 2011). Our paper seeks to contribute to this area of work. We draw on meeting events from different workplaces and compare formal and informal meetings where problem solving activity takes place. We take a critical interactional sociolinguistic approach and we pay special attention to role enactment and negotiation of expertise, particularly in the process of reaching consensus in relevant episodes. We look into instances where marked shifts occur and reflect on the affordances of our methodological tools in unpacking workplace interaction. Our findings confirm that meetings have multiple functions and that problem solving and decision making are iterative processes dependent on the employees’ roles and responsibilities. We close the paper with a discussion of our theoretical approach and suggestions for further research. ANGOURI, J. & BARGIELA-‐CHIAPPINI, F. 2011. ‘So what problems bother you and you are not speeding up your work?’Problem solving talk at work. Discourse & Communication, 5, 209-‐229.
This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium Ib Ravn, Aarhus University (Graduate School of Education) Abstract One may view meetings as occasions for the construction of social order (Berger and Luckman, 1966). Over decades and centuries (cf. van Vree, 1999), business, political and other meetings have sedimented norms, roles and institutions that render them highly ordered and ritualized. Yet, despite being so ordered and regulated by agendas, speakers’ lists, conventional turn taking, etc., meetings continue to frustrate meeting participants and fascinate observers by their multiple, apparent dysfunctions (e.g., Rogelberg et al., 2014; Geimer et al., 2015). Empirical studies of meetings (Ravn, 2007; 2011) allow for the identification of three common types of meeting order or style, as well as a fourth, rarer and emerging type that may be contrasted with them. They may be called the managerial, parliamentary, collective-egalitarian and facilitative types. In extant meetings, these Weberian ideal types mix. • The managerial type of meeting order is well known from meetings in corporations and other formal places of work. Managers chair their meetings by controlling the flow of conversation, inviting people to speak, stopping them again and drawing conclusions as they see fit. • The parliamentary style derives from the formal democratic procedures of parliaments and other political assemblies. Robert’s Rules of Order exemplifies this meeting style, with its emphasis on speaking order, the rights of participants to be heard and formal turn taking regulated by a speakers’ list. The right to be heard has been integrated into most business and organizational meetings, and many modern meetings mix the parliamentary and managerial meeting styles. • The collective-egalitarian meeting style derives from voluntary, grassroots and ideal-based communities and associations, especially of the 1960’s kind. In Northern Europe—and Scandinavia, in particular—this meeting order has percolated into the educational and social welfare sectors and has influenced meeting norms in many public as well as private organizations. Conventional management is frowned upon as un-democratic, and meetings are often leaderless or led by someone uncomfortable with leadership. The flow of conversation is supposed to be free, untrammeled by authority and procedure. The precise mixture of these meeting styles in specific meetings is a challenging empirical question, the answer to which may help understand the dysfunctions of meetings. Given the low level of popular reflection about meetings, these styles and their norms are typically not known to chairpersons or participants. Hence, they are not easily accessible through interviews, which often only yield an undigested kind of meeting knowledge that I have called a “folk theory of meetings” (Ravn, 2013). • The fourth, facilitative type of meeting order is not uncommon, but not well-described in the literature (but see Doyle & Straus, 1976, Ch. 6; Ravn, 2014). It relies on a meeting facilitator (formerly known as the chairperson) who resolutely guides the meeting towards a goal acceptable to all or most participants. The facilitator steers the conversation gently, but firmly in directions s/he perceives to be useful, while helping the participants be focused and brief, giving everyone a chance to speak in small groups, hearing input in measured amounts, articulating conclusions and shared understandings, ensuring everyone is on board, and generally running a brisk and efficient meeting intended to produce meaning for all participants and value for the meeting’s external stakeholders. Discovering the mixture and sub-varieties of meeting styles such as these would constitute an empirical agenda for meeting researchers that may connect with the more normative concerns of meeting practitioners, who may draw inspiration from the facilitative meeting style. This style points to an avenue for thinking about and acting in meetings, such that they increasingly manifest themselves as the well-reasoned product of intentional and successful organizational action that they deserve to be. Berger, P., & Luckmann, T. (1966). The social construction of reality. New York: Doubleday. Doyle, M., & Straus, D. (1976). How to make meetings work. New York: Wyden. Geimer, J. L., Leach, D. J., DeSimone, J. A., Rogelberg, S. G., & Warr, P. B. (2015). Meetings at work: Perceived effectiveness and recommended improvements. Journal of Business Research, 68(9): 2015–2026. Ravn, I. (2007). Meetings in organizations: Do they contribute to stakeholder value and personal meaning? Paper, Academy of Management, Philadelphia, USA, August, 5-8. Ravn, I. (2011). Facilitering: Ledelse af møder der skaber værdi og mening. Hans Reitzel. (“Facilitation: Leading meetings that create value and meaning.” In Danish.) Ravn, I. (2013). A folk theory of meetings – and beyond. European Business Review, 25(2), 163-173. Ravn, I. (2014). Training managers to facilitate their meetings: An intervention study. International Journal of Management Practice, 7(1), 70-87. Rogelberg, S. G., Scott, C. W., Agypt, B., Williams, J., Kello, J. E., McCausland, T., & Olien, J. L. (2014). Lateness to meetings: Examination of an unexplored temporal phenomenon. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 23(3), 323-341. van Vree, W. (1999). Meetings, manners and civilization: The development of modern meeting behavior. London, UK: Leicester University Press.
This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium John Kello, Davidson College (Psychology) Abstract Organizational science is a multi-disciplinary area of research that has obvious relevance to practice. Our area of study is the real world of the organization. We embrace the scientist-practitioner model. And, the reality is that scientist-practitioner often equates to scientist or practitioner, rather than to scientist and practitioner. Our professional conferences commonly offer science/research or practice/applied tracks. Many of the professional surveys we take ask us to self-identify as academic or practitioner, and the subsequent questions branch from there. Organizational scientists who work primarily in academia do their research out of genuine interest, of course, but also out of the need to publish in top academic journals and get extramural funding, and thereby qualify for tenure and promotions. As researchers they largely write for each other, and read and build on each other's research in a sort of academic "echo chamber". Practitioners (and their clients in the organizational world) aren't likely to read the research that academicians publish in academic journals. Most practitioners are busy finding and using the best tools they can in order to make a positive difference with their clients. They may lack the time (and perhaps the statistical sophistication) to access and digest our academic publications. They rarely if ever go to JAP or P-Psych for actionable ideas. As one who actively works to maintain a balanced scientist-and-practitioner career, I want to address the divide. Our shared interest in workplace meetings gives us a powerful starting point for doing so, as the workplace meeting in its many forms is widely perceived as problematic by organization members, and is the focus of much recent and potentially highly relevant and applicable research, in which members of this symposium participate. I will suggest some ways we can make our science more relevant and accessible to those who could use it, and open dialogue with fellow scientists, practitioners, and scientist-practitioners.
This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium Gunnar Wahlström, University of Gothenburg (Gothenburg Research Institute) Abstract Recent financial crises has emphasized Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) in banks. ERM is manifested by risk measurement, in mandatory regulation for banks, as in the near future Basel III, to be fully implemented in 2019. Risk measurement is in line with the idea of centralization as data and models are developed at headquarter making use of risk measurement to contradict the idea of decentralization. This article concentrates on the actual use of the regulation inside a decentralized bank by answer the question: What problems might a bank experience in their usage of Basel III? The question is being answered by documents and semi structured interviews in a decentralized managed bank, one amongst the 100 greatest in the world. Regulation, now latest Basel III, favor a credit handling based on risk measurement centralized to a bank’s headquarter were also appropriate actions are initiated. Thus, in case of problem with a credit, signals from credit risk measurement system characterized by numbers (or hard information), is at headquarter, as well as the responsibility for early actions. However for a decentralized bank the individual credit officer at a local branch is responsible for the credit and actions are made down in the organization. In a decentralized bank the credit officer is close to the borrower and uses a different set of information (soft information) than risk measurement (hard information). Soft information are faster than hard information. Plausible, by using soft information signs of problems arrive earlier to bank managers and decisions become improved as different dimensions of the credit are discussed in meetings. This may, at least partly, explain why the decentralized bank has lower credit losses and higher yield than its competitors in the last forty years. Last, it seems that formalized regulation is not improving credit handling in the decentralized bank but may do so in more centralized banks.
This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium Martin Duffy, Dublin Institute of Technology (College of Business) Brendan O'Rourke, Dublin Institute of Technology (College of Business) Abstract Responding to Schwartzman’s (2015) call for a move away from the individual-centeredness of research on organizational meetings, this paper focuses on meetings collectively rather than as individual events (Duffy, 2016). Thus the study examines meetings collectively as an organizational phenomenon, rather than meetings as discrete objects across multiple organizations. The paper reflects on a bi-focal analysis of discourse data recorded in a longitudinal study of meetings in one organization. Initially grounded in a systemic process perspective (Duffy & O'Rourke, 2012, 2013) the data were analysed through a sensemaking lens (Weick, 1995), providing a ‘zoomed out’ perspective (Nicolini, 2009) on the agency of meetings collectively. The analysis focused on how an organization’s meetings contribute systemically to enactment, selection and retention (ESR) as part of organization-wide sensemaking processes. Retrospective and prehensive discourse in meetings contributed to the emergence of a Systemic Meetings Model (SMM) (Duffy & O'Rourke, 2013), held together through the agency of actors and actants (Taylor & Cooren, 1997) which constitute the primary modes of connection that enable meetings to exhibit agency collectively (Duffy, 2016). Modes of meeting connections identified in the ‘zoomed out’ analysis become the subject of a more fine-grained or ‘zoomed in’ (Nicolini, 2009) analysis using McPhee and Zaug’s (2000) four communication flows of membership negotiation, institutional positioning, reflexive self-structuring and activity coordination. The four flows are respectively combined with immutable mobiles (Cooren, Matte, Taylor, & Vasquez, 2007), ventriloquism (Cooren, 2012), autopoiesis (Luhmann, 2006a) and decision paradox (Luhmann, 2006b), all drawn from the Communicative Constitution of Organizations (CCO) theory, to elaborate how the hybridicity of actors, actants and meetings enable the agency of meetings collectively. Synthesising the outcomes of this bi-focal analysis leads to the creation of a Meetings as Systemic Process framework (MaSP). The MaSP framework highlights actors, material artefacts and shared processes as key modes of meetings connections. Moving beyond the linearity of conventional clock time, temporal structuring (Orlikowski & Yates, 2002) and the metronimic effects of meetings on organizations (Duffy, 2016) represent unexpected findings of agency of meetings collectively and form key components of the MaSP framework. Focusing on how meetings are used and connected (collectively) rather than what (individual) meetings are used for, enables consideration of meeting characteristics such as requisite variety (Weick, 1979) of attendees, meetings as instruments of policy, or managing meeting proliferation, to inform the potential use of meetings in organizations and their future agency collectively. Viewing the agency of meetings collectively rather than summatively is dependent on seeing them as an integrated whole-organization resource, rather than as individual events that occur in apparent isolation of each other. The research findings both challenge and inform how future research on meetings might be conducted if they are conceptualized as a collective organizational phenomenon, contributing to a move away from but remaining parallel to the individual-centered approach to meetings research in the past. Such a collective conceptualization of meetings also has potential significance for the practice of organizational meetings, depending on the orientation practitioners choose to adopt towards their meetings. References Cooren, F. (2012). Communication Theory at the Center: Ventriloquism and the Communicative Constitution of Reality. Journal of Communication, 62(1), 1-20. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-2466.2011.01622.x Cooren, F., Matte, F., Taylor, J. R., & Vasquez, C. (2007). A Humanitarian Organization in Action - Organizational Discourse as an Immutable Mobile. Discourse and Communication, 1(2), 153-190. doi: 10.1177/1750481307075996 Duffy, M. (2016). The Agency of Meetings as Systemic Process in the Constitution of Organizations. (Ph.D.), Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin, Ireland. Retrieved from http://arrow.dit.ie/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1029&context=busdoc Duffy, M., & O'Rourke, B. K. (2012). Strategic Discourse across Organizational Meetings - Towards a Systems Perspective. Paper presented at the Fourth International Symposium on Process Organization Studies, 21-23 June, Kos Greece. Duffy, M., & O'Rourke, B. K. (2013). Systemic contribution of organizational meetings to enhanced collective mind[ing]. Paper presented at the 29th EGOS Colloquium: Bridging Continents, Cultures and Worldviews., July 4-6, Montreal, Canada. Luhmann, N. (2006a). The Autopoiesis of Social Systems. In D. Seidl & K. H. Becker (Eds.), Niklas Luhmann and Organization Studies (pp. 64-82). Frederiksberg, Denmark: CBS Press. Luhmann, N. (2006b). The Paradox of Decision Making. In D. Seidl & K. H. Becker (Eds.), Niklas Luhmann and Organization Studies (pp. 85-106). Frederiksberg, Denmark: CBS Press. McPhee, R. D., & Zaug, P. (2000). The Communicative Constitution of Organizations - A Famework for Explanation. The Electronic Journal of Communication, 10(1). doi: 10.1177/0893318909351582 Nicolini, D. (2009). Zooming In and Out: Studying Practices by Switching Theoretical Lenses and Trailing Connections. Organization Studies, 30(12), 1391-1418. doi: 10.1177/0170840609349875 Orlikowski, W. J., & Yates, J. (2002). It's About Time: Temporal Structuring in Organizations. Organization Science, 13(6), 684-700. Schwartzman, H. B. (2015). There's Something about Meetings. In J. A. Allen, Lehmann-Willenbrock, N., & Rogelberg, S. G. (Ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of Meeting Science. (pp. 735-745). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. Taylor, J. R., & Cooren, F. (1997). What makes communication 'organizational'? How the many voices of a collectivity become the one voice of an organization. Journal of Pragmatics, 27, 409-438. Weick, K. E. (1979). The Social Psychology of Organizing (Second ed.). New York: Random House. Weick, K. E. (1995). Sensemaking in Organizations. London: Sage.
This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium John Kello, Davidson College (Psychology) Abstract The rapidly growing area of meetings research often acknowledges that meetings may serve a wide range of purposes, and that "no two meetings are alike". Yet the research commonly focuses on a meeting-relevant topic (e.g., leader-behavior, temporal issues, surface acting among participants) with the implicit assumption that it is meaningful to talk about "meetings in general", as a single, unified type of event. In reality, a week in the life of a typical employee in a typical organization might yield a range of very different experiences which do indeed have important common denominators (a group of attendees, a designated leader, the expectation (at least the hope) that meaningful action will follow the meeting, to name a few), but which differ substantially in other ways. For example, a regular weekly staff or department meeting in an office brings the same group (typically, salaried employees) together over and over, week after week, an hour or so at a time, to update, forecast, etc. A shift-change huddle meeting in a factory brings mostly the same group of people (typically, hourly employees) together every workday only for a few minutes as one crew is coming on and the other is going off, to identify operational issues, scheduling issues, crewing issues, safety concerns, equipment out of service, etc., and generally to share information in order to coordinate work from shift to shift. A project team meeting typically brings together a functionally diverse group of people (who may or may not work together and may or may not even know each other) for a set period of time (often weeks or months), meeting perhaps weekly for several hours at a time, to focus on achieving the set project goal, and then the team typically disbands. A monthly safety meeting may bring all hands together for an hour or so to review safety-performance data and to identify salient safety-related issues impacting all employees at the worksite. Some of the distinctive meeting structures associated with the venerable Total Quality Management movement, such as the Quality Circle, or the Process Improvement Team, are still visible in one form or another in more than a few workplaces. Do the differences among the many distinctive types of meetings argue for a more nuanced approach to "the meeting" in meetings research? Is it useful to identify sub-types, or categories of meetings, to better target our research and practice? Is there value in creating a taxonomy of meetings? Both for our research and our practice, I would argue that the answer is "yes", and offer at least a start to such a taxonomy. There is interest in the meetings-research community in distinguishing "the meeting" from similar but different interactions (e.g., a training session, an impromptu conversation, group/bystander behavior in an emergency situation). I am suggesting that we also explore categorical differences among different types of meetings.
Group Decision Support Systems (GDSS) changes the equation for meeting intense workflows – Traditional setups V.S. GDSS supported workflows – A Case Study
This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium Pierre Wettergren, CCGEurope (Chalmers Industrial Technology) Abstract This case study is based on a risk assessment work conducted in a Swedish governmental organisation. This organisation had at the time 5’500 employees and a yearly revenue of 25 billion Swedish kronor. The risk assessment was performed by Clever Collaboration Group, experts in virtually supported work flows mainly using GDSS. In this Study a comparison was made by the traditional way of working with the possibilities that virtually supported workshops and work flows ads. Our findings show that the total calendar time from initiation to delivered and approved Risk Assessment Report changed from 95 days to 32 days (time), the quality improved from 40% accuracy and completeness to 97% (Quality), and the total cost including travels and cost of staff and consultants decreased from €175´000 to €31’000 (Economy of Effort). These differences were analysed retrospectively and findings are based on the interviews with participating managers and facts provided by participants of the project. The main difference between the traditional working flow versus the virtually were that in the latter participants was asked to bring their laptops to the first meeting, i.e. the risk identification meeting. Participants received an URL via email upon arrival in the meeting room, and after a few minutes the meeting facilitator observed the flow of incoming contributions. The participants were executives and middle managers and since the graphical user interface doesn’t require any training and uses intuitive buttons and icons managers took the role as ambassadors and invited lower level of managers and staff. The risk identification activity was then kept open 3 more days for online participation by the now largely extended group of people. This way of engaging managers and staff was repeated for all the six business areas. Each risk identification workshop took 90 minutes but was kept open for 3 days in total. The forthcoming steps in the risk assessment was then managed online and participants could choose themselves to participate asynchronous from time and place of their own choice or organise meetings to sit together and work. The project then ended with a physical presentation meeting with the executive team were the findings together with the recommendations from the facilitator was presented. In the abstract we have left out the enabling factors in the GDSS and also a description of the traditional consultancy approach used in 2011.
This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium Wilbert van Vree, University of Amsterdam (Interdisciplinary Studies) Abstract This paper is an example of the idea that in order to understand present-day meeting behavior scientists have to investigate its genesis. Development of meeting behavior The modern meeting concept is future-oriented. It refers first and foremost to prearranged gatherings of people talking mutually and making plans and agreements concerning their common future. Meetings are about questions such as: what are we going to do, how are we going to do it and what impact has it on me, on you, on her, on them? By extension, meetings might comprise other communication activities that facilitate answering these questions and following up the answers: sharing information and problem solving (as a sort of solving a jigsaw), teaching each other, team building, and confirming common values. Broadly speaking one could say that thinking is for an individual what meetings are for a group of people. Anyway, the meeting concept refers to central activities in associations, municipalities, parties, states, interstate bodies, corporations, multinationals and other organizations. People at the summit and in the front line of these organizations usually are the ones who invent and promote new meeting manners, procedures and codes which facilitate group talking and deciding about chains of actions which have become ever larger and more complex in the long run of social life. In order to learn more about the content and spread of meeting do´s and don´ts, we can examine (inter)national series of manuals focused upon meeting manners. These series show a remarkable switch in focus from political and association meetings towards international and workplace meetings in the mid-20th century. This was accompanied by a change in the recommended meeting style from rather formal and parliamentary to more informal and professional. Parliamentary and professional types of meetings This switch still has a major impact on the way we usually organize and experience meetings. Until the mid-20th century the dominant meetings to which national populations modeled their behavior were mostly gatherings in which deep-rooted parliamentary rules and customs prevailed. Since the mid-20th century new types of meetings with different manners and novel communication techniques have been gradually developing on the parliamentary foundations. The social context, in which these new types are emerging, is pre-eminently the workplace. For many reasons organizing and performing work are requiring ever more and more various meetings in which the old, routine manners do not (always) fit well. Primarily developed in the context of democratic assemblies, local councils and associations, many of these older meeting manners conflict with the more diverse and more action-oriented context in which people increasingly hold and attend meetings these days. Slowly, professional meeting types are becoming a second, more multiform and more volatile model for more people. Ambiguous practices and feelings In this paper I present the main characteristics of the two dominant types of meetings which serve in various mixtures as models for our actual meeting behavior: parliamentary-oriented meetings on the one hand and professional meetings on the other hand. I argue that contemporary meeting stress and suffering in democratic countries stem in a substantial way from the coexistence of the two inter-conflicting meeting models which triggers ambiguous expectations and feelings.
This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium Kathleen Blee, University of Pittsburgh (Sociology) Abstract We have good ways to study what happens in meetings, but few ways to notice or understand what does not happen. This is a problem for research on meetings since their direction can be significantly shaped by implicit collective understandings of what is appropriate or plausible to consider. This paper draws on a three year ethnographic study of meetings by 60+ new and emerging activist groups in Pittsburgh that traced both what groups considered in their discussions, and what they could have considered (based on prior meetings or discussions in similar activist groups) but did not. I explain the method I used to capture meeting discussions that did not take place, and open a discussion of better ways that scholars can capture absences in social life.
This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium Richard Freeman, University of Edinburgh (School of Social and Political Science) Abstract When we do politics, what are we doing? The purpose of this paper is to produce an account of politics based in practice, that is in human action and interaction. It places the meeting at the centre of those actions and interactions. I begin with Arendt's idea that politics begins in plurality, that is in the human encounter; from interactionist sociology, I take the sense that the encounter is performed. I outline what recent work in practice theory and an associated array of ethnographic studies of politics might add to this understanding. I explore politics in practice as consisting in forms of interaction and inscription. Interactions take place as encounters, gatherings and meetings and the kinds of talk they entail. I point to the materiality of meeting: to the fact that it takes place between human bodies, in specific physical (or virtual) environments and supported by specific things or artefacts. I focus on inscriptions or documents as the essential artefacts of meeting and the ways they occasion and structure political interaction. I discuss the impact of new technologies on both interaction and inscription, that is on ways of doing politics. I conclude by discussing some of the ontological implications of thinking of politics in this way, including the status of networks of interaction and inscription and the relationship of action to structure and power.
This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium Wilbert van Vree, University of Amsterdam (Interdisciplinary Studies) Abstract Every meeting takes place in a physical environment, consisting of a room, table(s), chairs, technical installations, and so on. These things together constitute the physical conditions of a meeting and have an impact on the meeting participants and thus on the meeting process and results. As a meeting expert I have often been asked by journalists what is the impact of a specific physical element on meetings. Curiously, the correlation between the diverse variables which shape the physical environment and meetings has not yet been the object of any thorough and systematic scientific examination, as far as I know. What we know about the issue is mainly based on personal experiences and experiments. For instance, some mighty but small leaders have heightened their seat to impress their meeting fellows. A rich repertoire of environmental manipulations to impress the adversarial party during negotiations is to be found in the second chapter of Tom Wolfe’s novel A Man in Full. Probably, only the effects of various table shapes, furniture and seating arrangements have been the object of serious study by (interior) architects and conversation analysts, among others. So, we are aware that round and square tables have a different impact on turn-taking and the conversation process. I shall argue that the impact of the physical environment on meetings should be an important field of study for meeting scientists: What effects do colors, lighting situations, sounds, acoustics, smells, temperatures, window views, and the like have on the participants, the process and the results of meetings?
This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium Martin Duffy, Dublin Institute of Technology (College of Business) Brendan O'Rourke Abstract An ethnographic approach was used to record the live proceedings of 63 meetings, and informed theory development on the agency of meetings collectively in an organizational setting (Duffy, 2016). Engagement as a participant observer (Pacanowsky, 1988) in a single organization, over an eighteen month period, enabled collection of discourse data from the meetings of distinct organizational groups. While meetings were originally intended as a research resource, reflection while recording the data occasioned a change in focus, moving from the meetings’ content to the meetings themselves as the research topic. This paper reflects on the methodological considerations and challenges that arose from the change in research topic. Abductive, inductive and deductive approaches to theory development were cycled through iteratively, to develop a new perspective on organizational meetings as systemic process. Initially informed by systems and process thinking, an abductive approach envisaged how meetings might be considered as an integrated phenomenon, exercising agency collectively within the organization. This level of analysis, taking place while data were being collected, highlighted inter-meeting connections, contextual influences between meetings and their surrounding organisation, temporal considerations associated with meetings collectively and the role of meetings collectively in longitudenal organizational outcomes. A more detailed bifocal approach to the data analysis initially adopted a ‘zoomed-out’ perspective (Nicolini, 2009), using sensemaking (Weick, 1995) to focus the analysis from a combined systemic and process perspective. Patterns of interaction and connectivity between meetings were then examined in more detail through a ‘zoomed-in’ analysis (Nicolini, 2009), to explore the nature, significance and contribution of the connectivity between meetings. The Communicative Constitution of Organization (CCO) (Schoeneborn et al., 2014) provided a detailed theoretical lens through which the zoomed-in analysis was conducted. McPhee and Zaug’s (2000) four flows model was augmented with immutable mobiles (Cooren, Matte, Taylor, & Vasquez, 2007) and ventriloquism (Cooren, 2012) as concepts from the Montreal school of CCO, and autopoiesis (Luhmann, 2006a) and decision paradox (Luhmann, 2006b) concepts drawn from the Luhmannian school of CCO. Discourse Analysis (Alvesson & Karreman, 2000; Phillips & Hardy, 2002; Potter & Wetherell, 1987) provided a consistent approach for data analysis at both the ‘zoomed-out’ and ‘zoomed-in’ levels. Cycling between these two levels reflected a “kind of iterative/dialectical process” (Conrad, 2004, p. 435) that made both perspectives mutually informative, leading to the development of the Meetings as Systemic Process framework (Duffy, 2016). MaSP is a conceptual tool for considering meetings collectively as an organizational resource displaying features of collective agency. A deductive approach was finally used in the research to consider the implications of adopting the MaSP framework in the practice of organizational meetings. Martin Duffy and Brendan O'Rourke References Alvesson, M., & Karreman, D. (2000). Varieties of discourse: On the study of organizations through discourse analysis. Human Relations, 53(9), 1125-1149. Conrad, C. (2004). Organizational Discourse Analysis: Avoiding the Determinism– Voluntarism Trap. Organization, 11(3), 427-439. doi: 10.1177/1350508404042001 Cooren, F. (2012). Communication Theory at the Center: Ventriloquism and the Communicative Constitution of Reality. Journal of Communication, 62(1), 1-20. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-2466.2011.01622.x Cooren, F., Matte, F., Taylor, J. R., & Vasquez, C. (2007). A Humanitarian Organization in Action - Organizational Discourse as an Immutable Mobile. Discourse and Communication, 1(2), 153-190. doi: 10.1177/1750481307075996 Duffy, M. (2016). The Agency of Meetings as Systemic Process in the Constitution of Organizations. (Ph.D.), Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin, Ireland. Retrieved from http://arrow.dit.ie/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1029&context=busdoc Luhmann, N. (2006a). The Concept of Autopoiesis. In D. Seidl & K. H. Becker (Eds.), Niklas Luhmann and Organization Studies (pp. 54-63). Frederiksberg, Denmark: CBS Press. Luhmann, N. (2006b). The Paradox of Decision Making. In D. Seidl & K. H. Becker (Eds.), Niklas Luhmann and Organization Studies (pp. 85-106). Frederiksberg, Denmark: CBS Press. McPhee, R. D., & Zaug, P. (2000). The Communicative Constitution of Organizations - A Famework for Explanation. The Electronic Journal of Communication, 10(1). doi: 10.1177/0893318909351582 Nicolini, D. (2009). Zooming In and Out: Studying Practices by Switching Theoretical Lenses and Trailing Connections. Organization Studies, 30(12), 1391-1418. doi: 10.1177/0170840609349875 Pacanowsky, M. (1988). Communication in the Empowering Organization In J. A. Anderson (Ed.), Communication Yearbook 11 (pp. 356-379). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage. Phillips, N., & Hardy, C. (2002). Discourse Analysis. Investigating Processes of Social Construction. . London: Sage Publications. Potter, J., & Wetherell, M. (1987). Discourse and Social Psychology. London: Sage Publications. Schoeneborn, D., Blaschke, S., Cooren, F., McPhee, R. D., Seidl, D., & Taylor, J. R. (2014). The Three Schools of CCO Thinking: Interactive Dialogue and Systematic Comparison. Management Communication Quarterly, 28(2), 285-316. doi: 10.1177/0893318914527000 Weick, K. E. (1995). Sensemaking in Organizations. London: Sage.
This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium Karen Tracy, University of Colorado Boulder (Communication) Abstract As a longtime faculty member at a major US state university, I have participated in and, sometimes, run different kinds of university meetings. The kinds of meetings I have participated in have included decision making about personnel at department, college, and university levels; information-sharing and advice-seeking of upper administrators with chairs or faculty representatives regarding budget, recruitment, retention, technology, etc.; research groups with a few colleagues or graduate students; graduate committees to plan and approve students’ performance on comprehensive exams, theses, and dissertations; regularly recurring department meetings to share information and make decisions about both easy and contentions issues (e.g., who to hire); informal mentoring and complaining meetings with students and colleagues; research colloquia of many different formality levels; and acting as a representative of a university group to determine allocation of scarce resources. To use Bailey’s (1983) distinction my experiences has spanned, ad hoc, elite, and area committees. As a meetings researcher during a heated or bizarre meeting moment, I have often found myself thinking how fascinating it would be to study this particular kind of meeting. Most of the time I do not do so (but cf. Tracy, 1997), but I have had the thought/impulse too many times to count. In this paper I reflect about how researching most kinds of university meetings positions the self differently than being a participant in these meetings. I also consider why study of university meetings is so challenging to those of us who are regular participants in them. The challenge is particularly acute, I would argue, when the way a researcher studies meetings--as I do--involves taping and analyzing the discourse of these occasions. A close look at talk can make visible people’s usually complex and occasionally unsavory motives and goals. Doing this kind of analysis with people with whom one has relationships can easily be regarded as not a neutral, knowledge-developing activity. After reviewing the kinds of university meetings that have been studied, I describe the distinctive challenges for academics studying university meetings; in doing so, I use my academic meeting experiences as examples. References Bailey, F. G. (1983). The tactical uses of passion. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Tracy, K. (1997). Colloquium: Dilemmas of academic discourse. Norwood, N.J.: Ablex.
This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium Tomi Laapotti, University of Tampere (Department of Language and Communication Studies) Abstract At the Gothenburg symposium, I would discuss the findings and conclusions of my article-based dissertation (completed 2017) focusing on formal meetings. The study focuses on hospital management group meetings, and aims to understand the importance of these meetings for the hospital by analyzing the social interaction at these meetings. My study treats meetings as substantial organizational practices, where the organization is made visible and organized (Schwartzman, 1989; Boden, 1994). The data was gathered from a large public hospital in Finland: the data consists of ten video recordings of management group meetings from two different organizational levels, and interviews of seven management group members. The theoretical background is built upon the tradition of bona fide group perspective (e.g. Stohl & Putnam, 2003) and the communicative constitution of organization (CCO) perspective (e.g. Putnam & Nicotera, 2009). The first article of the dissertation (Laapotti & Mikkola, 2015) describes the use of message functions during the meetings. The inductive analysis resulted in six categories of functions: information sharing, information processing, information assessment, operational coordination, procedural messages and humor. One-sided information sharing was the most dominant function of meeting interaction. In the second article (Laapotti & Mikkola, 2016), I analyzed both the interaction network structures of the meetings, and the participants’ perceptions of the significance of their meetings. Most of the discussions were dyadic between the chair and one member at a time, not between members. The goals of the information sharing during meetings were described as informative, not instrumental. Participants found it challenging to describe any concrete added value that the meetings contributed to their management work. The discourse analytical third article (Laapotti, 2016) focuses on how the participants make sense of and give meanings to the hospital organization in the meetings, and on the importance of these sensemaking activities for the participants and for the organization. There is a tension between the agencies of the participants and the agency of the hospital organization. The organization’s non-human agency is mediated through the meeting agenda and particularly through the minutes of the highest level management group of the hospital. Meetings are regular, formal, and distinguished “guiding lights” in the process of organizing, which serve both the goals of the participants and the “organization”. The fourth article (in progress) focuses on the functions of problem-solving talk during the meetings and uses thematic analysis to explore these functions from the observation data. The main functions were to perform the meeting (e.g. information sharing without discussion), to enhance problem-solving, relational maintenance, and to use a problem as an instrument. It seems the task originally designed for these meetings is performed outside of the meeting situations and therefore the role of the meetings has changed from what is written in the administrative rules of the hospital. The deeper significance of meetings is in the sense of belonging, identification, and participation in the process through which the organization is organized. These meetings are special arenas where the communicative construction of organization takes place. REFERENCES Boden, D. (1994). The business of talk: Organization in action. Cambridge: Polity Press Laapotti, T. & Mikkola, L. (2015). Kokousvuorovaikutuksen tehtäväkeskeiset funktiot sairaalajohtoryhmässä [Task-focused message functions in hospital management group meetings]. Työelämän Tutkimus 13 (1), pp. 38–55. Laapotti, T. (2016). Organisaation merkityksentäminen sairaalajohtoryhmäkokouksissa. [Making sense of the organization if hospital management group meetings]. Prologi - Puheviestinnän vuosikirja 2016, pp. 24–45. Laapotti, T. & Mikkola, L. (2016). Social Interaction in Management Group Meetings - A Case Study of Finnish Hospital. Journal of Health Organization and Management 30 (4), 613–629. Putnam, L. L. & Nicotera A. M. 2009. Building theories of organization. The constitutive role of communication. New York, NY: Routledge. Schwartzman, H. B. (1989). The meeting. Gatherings in organizations and communities. New York: Plenum press. Stohl, C. & Putnam, L. L. (2003). Communication in bona fide groups: A retrospective and prospective account. In Frey, L. R. (ed.) Group communication in context. Studies of bona fide groups (2nd ed.). New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 399–414.
This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium Birte Asmuß, Aarhus University (Management) Sae Oshima Abstract Authors: Birte Asmuß, Aarhus University, email@example.com Sae Oshima, Aarhus University, firstname.lastname@example.org Meetings are places, where identity negotiation is a central activity and where members’ local practices recurrently inform and are informed by larger categories (Antaki and Widdicombe 1998). Correspondingly, the approach to understanding organization (macro) by way of identity work (micro) has become prominent (e.g. Fasulo and Zucchermaglio 2002, Alvesson, Lee Ashcraft et al. 2008, Vöge 2010). The current paper aims to further uncover this mechanism by looking at an organizational lunchroom meeting. Our data come from a U.S. design company that has just gone through a merger with another company, and in the data recorded over 10 days, the employees frequently complain about the many changes that have taken place. Our focus lies in a unique occasion where one of the managers makes an unusual appearance at the lunchroom. In this situation, he is the only one that is on the business side of the company, and all members know (and display) that he holds some information that the rest don’t have access to. Our analysis shows that the participants evoke various identities of the manager, sometimes orienting to the structure of the organization, and other times orienting to wider social categories belonging outside the organization. By taking a close look at this single case, we aim to reveal the members’ practices for orienting to and accomplishing the micro-macro divide (or not) in situ, and how the practices are worked around the affordances and restrictions of the eating-lunch activity. Ultimately, such analysis opens the way for discussing the organizational value of facilitating informal meeting places.
Developing and refining a nonverbal coding scheme on effective leadership and followership behaviors in meetings: Preliminary results
This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium Jacco Smits, University of Twente (Change Management and Organizational Behavior) Celeste Wilderom, University of Twente (Change Management and Organizational Behavior) Abstract Background. The role of body language and nonverbal behavior in the workplace has received considerable attention in popular management outlets such as Harvard Business Review and Forbes. Yet, the extant scientific literature does not provide a uniform answer as to which nonverbal behaviors are most relevant to managers for improving their team’s effectiveness or for bringing its members to work towards a collective purpose and associated team and organizational goals. Several calls were made for organizational scholars to deepen out our understanding of the manners in which the nonverbal part of people’s interactions impact them (and others) at work, especially in the context of leadership effectiveness. Aims. The aims of this paper are threefold: (1) to present a new nonverbal coding scheme suited for minutiously analyzing video-based observational data comprising entire (regularly held) organizational staff meetings, (2) to provide a set of guidelines for the further refinement and use of this coding scheme, and (3) to report preliminary results obtained from analyzing so-called thin slices of nonverbal behavior of 40 managers who are employed by one large public-organizational institute, while conducting their regularly held meetings with their own team-members. Methods. First, this paper provides a thorough review of the literature on aspects of nonverbal behavior relevant to leadership effectiveness in regular work units; it includes the major existing nonverbal schemes. It includes a detailed description of how the currently presented nonverbal coding scheme was developed, modified and used in order to identify the nonverbal repertoire of leaders during regularly occurring staff meetings. The coding scheme was tested on our analyses of short video-segments of team meetings chaired by a spread of more or less effective managers. Results. This paper details how to best adapt existing validated nonverbal coding schemes (e.g., MUMIN’s multimodal scheme) to one that is suitable for direct nonverbal behavioral analysis during meetings. The results also include examples of barriers and facilitators relevant for implementing nonverbal coding schemes in organizational field research. Reliability of the nonverbal categories, defined in the presented meeting-specific coding scheme, are shown to be satisfactory. Moreover, preliminary results indicate that the tool is meaningful for examining leadership effectiveness variation in teams: a repertoire of nonverbal behavior of managers, as coded by the scheme, is found significantly related to both follower (n = 425) and expert (n = 71) ratings of leadership effectiveness as well as team performance, and moreover to judgements made by a group of naïve observers (n = 13) about the managers’ characteristics. Conclusions. In-depth, practical documentation on the complex and often time-consuming method of coding nonverbal behavior in frequently occurring meetings was lacking: thus, hindering meeting researchers to examine empirically specific micro non-verbal behaviors that may promote or hinder desirable team-level outcomes.
This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium Renita Thedvall, Stockholm University (Stockholm Centre for Organizational Research - Score) Jen Sandler, University of Massachusetts Amherst (Anthropology) Abstract This paper speaks to the importance of a comparative approach to the phenomenon of meetings as a whole. We argue that meetings are an extraordinarily useful category in research, and that they become particularly useful through a broad comparative analytical project. For the most part, meetings have interrogated as if they were provincial phenomena of one or another place or type of human organization. People have asked questions such as: how do meetings work in companies, and how could they be more efficient? How do the ways people speak in a social movement meeting speak to the culture of the movement? These are fine questions within a study. But they would be better informed by a comparative understanding of the meeting as a human endeavor that mobilizes meaning and purpose in particular ways. Comparative ethnography focused on the meeting enables us to say with greater specificity and power what this phenomenon is about, and to learn from that insight more about the human condition: about communication, power, identity, hierarchy, and other abiding themes of everyday life. This presentation is focused on theory and method in meeting ethnography and is a continuation of our collaborative project on Meeting Ethnography – which is also the title of our edited volume published on Routledge this year. The volume includes ethnographic treatments of meetings in a half-dozen countries, and in settings ranging from social movements to community organizations, public institutions to international development projects, community-level politics to elite transnational capitalist epicenters. We learned from the work of these scholars a great deal about how meetings serve and what they are in diverse field sites. We ultimately began to develop a framework for the ontological question of what in fact is the meeting. We understand meetings as architectural, practices of circulation, and makers. The notion of architecture speaks to an aesthetic design dimension of structure that resonates with our understanding of the salient structural aspects of meetings. It speaks to the design-laden aspect of the specific contours of the meeting’s exclusive time-space. Practices of circulation include ideas, instruments, discourses, documents, people, hierarchies, and legitimization practices that take place within meetings. Architectures are the containers and structures; practices of circulation are the action, the stuff that takes place within the time-space of the meeting itself. Finally, meetings are also in some ways the architect; meetings make a certain kind of time, language, organizational structure, hierarchy, citizen, activist, and even state, serving an agentic role in countless arenas. Meetings are makers of governance, resistance, discipline, development, re-articulations, as is evident in the chapters our volume. Our concept of “maker” stands in tension with the Latourian “actant,” for we argue that meetings often occupy a privileged agentic role in relation to other actants. Our theory of meeting ontology speaks to the salience of meetings as a phenomenon presenting methodological challenges, as a method for seeing, and as a productive aspect of the many worlds ethnographers encounter.
This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium Julia Straube, Technische Universität Braunschweig (Industrial/Organizational and Social Psychology) Abstract Communication is essential to team performance (Hewes & Poole, 2012). Especially in team meetings, team members need to communicate effectively to share and understand information and to fulfill a common task successfully (Kauffeld & Lehmann-Willenbrock, 2012). Demographic faultlines — hypothetical dividing lines that separate a group into more or less homogeneous subgroups (Lau & Murnighan, 1998; Meyer & Glenz, 2013) — can hinder information exchange between subgroups in teams, as team members tend to be more open to communication with their own subgroup (van Knippenberg, de Dreu, & Homann, 2004; Vora & Markóczy, 2012). Additionally, these faultlines have shown various negative effects on team outcomes, such as performance and overall team functioning (Lau & Murnighan, 1998; Schölmerich, Schermuly, & Deller, 2016). To gain further insights into underlying processes, we observe between-subgroup communication in meetings. The aim of this study is to quantify between-subgroup communication and to connect it to various team constructs, such as external performance ratings. We suggest that a faultline-based subgroup structure can be observed in an early team meeting, with team members communicating more frequently with ingroup than outgroup members. We further hypothesize that the extent to which communication within team meetings takes place between faultline-based subgroups mediates the effects of faultline strength and team diversity on group outcomes. We videotaped 14 newly formed software engineering teams during their first team meeting and coded speaking turns. Subgroups were identified based on demographic faultlines. Between-subgroup communication was evaluated by meeting communication networks based on speaking turns and was related to overall meeting communication as well as subgroup size, resulting in the Faultline Communication Index (FCI). Analyses revealed significant correlations of age diversity and FCI but no significant relations between gender diversity or faultline strength and FCI. First results show tendencies to support our mediation hypotheses. This will be further validated with a bigger sample (N = 33). Results underline the importance of between-subgroup communication in meetings for team functioning. Findings emphasize the relevance of age diversity in software engineering teams. As such, our study contributes to the integration of faultline research and group communication networks in the context of team meetings by introducing a measure to assess between-subgroup communication in meetings. Furthermore, we provide insights into dynamics between subgroups and their interaction with diversity.
This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium Lisa Handke, Technische Universität Braunschweig (Industrial/Organizational and Social Psychology) Abstract Due to a lack of contextual cues and socio-emotional interactions, virtual teams depend on the development of swift trust (e.g., Brahm & Kunze, 2012; Jarvenpaa & Leidner, 1999). Swift trust, in turn, is based on individual expectations which are tested and proven through actions at early stages of team development (Meyerson, Weick, & Kramer, 1996). Furthermore, initial trust formation strongly relies on attribution processes. Central to attributions of trustworthiness is perceived ability (Mayer, Davis, & Schoorman, 1995). Competence, i.e. ability, is in turn often attributed to individuals displaying high dominance (Anderson & Kilduff, 2009). An important context for the formation of initial trust in virtual teams are face-to-face kick-off meetings (Brahm & Kunze, 2012). Here, participation may not necessarily be equally distributed (cf., Sauer & Kauffeld, 2013). A measure which captures relative participation of team members in meetings is degree centrality (Sauer & Kauffeld, 2016). A person with a high degree centrality is described as a central actor in the the sense that she or he has the most ties (here: speaking turns) to others in the (meeting) network (cf. Wassermann & Faust, 1994). Numerous studies have linked degree centrality to influence and leadership processes, showing that members who participate more are perceived as influential by the rest of the group (Bass & Stogdill, 1990; Wheelan & Johnston, 1996). Consequently, a high degree centrality is reflected in a certain dominance of the conversation, which may in turn lead to high perceptions of trustworthiness by other team members. Accordingly, members low in centrality should show more trust in their team members than members high in centrality, who will not consider their (less dominant) team members as able and thus trustworthy. In line with social exchange theory, positive exchanges in meetings increase group cohesion (Sauer & Kauffeld, 2016), which is in turn related to trust (Yukl, 2010). As trust is regarded as a socio-emotional process (Powell, Piccoli, & Ives, 2004), we assume that positive socio-emotional statements exchanged during the team meeting will mitigate negative effects of high centrality. In order to measure individuals’ degree centrality and team-level socio-emotional statements, we perform social network (cf. Sauer & Kauffeld, 2013) and interaction analyses (cf. Kauffeld & Lehmann-Willenbrock, 2012) on video-taped data obtained during 33 initial team meetings. Data of the entire sample will be analyzed by the time of the symposium. As hypothesized, first results of our multilevel analyses (n=12) with cross-level interactions show that degree centrality had a negative effect on individual evaluations of co-worker trust which was weakened by the team-level proportion of socio-emotional statements uttered during the meeting. Our results highlight the relevance of early meeting interactions for individual-level trust perceptions. While structurally influential positions appear to negatively impact the trust in one’s co-workers, this negative effect can be alleviated by socio-emotional statements expressed by the team
This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium Katarina Jacobsson, Lund University (Social Work) Abstract During the last decade the Swedish authorities' appeal for collaboration between and within different welfare institutions has been particularly accentuated through various efforts to standardize and formalize collaboration and co-ordination. Human service workers from various agencies (eg. psychiatry, the social services, and the employment office) are required to arrange meetings regarding individual clients or patients where they draw up a plan, stating "who do what and when". In this paper, I examine one such meeting where ten professionals come together with Carl, a young patient at a closed psychiatric unit, in order to plan Carl's future while they simultaneously fill out the form "Co-ordinated Treatment Plan" (CTP). The CTP-document played a prominent role in the meeting, giving rise to "text-governed interaction" between the meeting participants. The patient-centred meeting was performed in a rather restricted format, in which the patient took on the role of being just another meeting participant, at times quite a peripheral one. The study is part of a larger qualitative research project in which we investigate how document practices are incorporated in everyday work at social service agencies and primary care centres. The material consist of documents, interviews, and field notes generated from shadowing professionals.
This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium David Gibson, University of Notre Dame (Sociology) Abstract A meeting is a pre-planned face-to-face encounter involving two or more people, usually with a specific purpose that gears into organizational processes. An important challenge faced by both meeting researchers and is making sense of what does not happen--arguments not made, objections not raised, stories not told. Insofar as such talk might have been consequential, its nonoccurrence is equally so, but even with excellent recordings of the meeting itself, it is generally difficult to say whether a particular person’s failure to make a thematically relevant (and even urgent) point was due to (a) ignorance of that point, (b) the lack of desire to make it, (c) the lack of capacity to seize and hold the floor long enough to give voice to it, or (d) the sense that the terms of discussion were such as to disallow it (for example, if the point is evidentiary but the discussion took an ideological or ethical turn). This is problematic for researchers as an obstacle to explaining outcomes like decisions. It is problematic for decision-makers inasmuch as, after a meeting is complete, they will not know whether the lack of (for example) objections to some proposal was due to the actual lack of reservations in people’s minds, or their failure to find an opening in which to voice them; consequently, true consensus is hard to gauge unless participants are forced to explicitly vote (though this fact can be used strategically when a leader does not wish to confront disagreement). Finally, the frustration caused by the failure to articulate one’s views during a meeting can cause mental distress, low self-esteem, and a sense of alienation from the group. Methodological solutions include the measurement of pre-meeting intentions, post-meeting interviews about the meeting (perhaps aided by a recording), and behavioral indicators of conversational suppression, such as aborted sentences and other clues that a person wished to speak.
This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium David Seidl, University of Zurich (Department of Business Administration) Abstract Existing research suggests that established structures and routines are suspended during strategy workshops, enabling critical reflection and facilitating the emergence of new ideas. This paper extends this line of research by examining the specific mechanisms through which suspension in strategy workshop is achieved. Drawing on an in-depth, longitudinal case study of a series of strategy workshops within a firm, we show that suspension is actively created through distinctive practices. These suspension practices operate in two ways. First, they inhibit established practices and secondly they act to disrupt secondary practices that reinforce or defend the established practices. The paper integrates these insights to develop comprehensive model of how the suspension practices and defensive practices interact as suspension is accomplished in the context of strategy workshops.
This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium Malin Åkerström, Lund university (Dept. of Sociology) Abstract Formal meetings are evens that are a peculiar mixture of sense and nonsense, of drama and dullness. For managers meetings may be an arena "where the action is": situations to display competence and moral character. However, people may feel less involved, and meetings may be experienced as nonsense, as meaningless and worthless. A recurring theme in various studies is complaints about meetings, particularly regarding their frequency, their emptiness, and the forced attendance, taking time from what the employees consider their core tasks. In this paper I discuss how one may capture such experiences: in interviews by retold experiences or stories, in field observations by noticing side-talk, by side-involvement such as meeting scribbles or by using of smart phones or laptops during meetings, and in post-mortem accounts.
This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium Brian Due, University of Copenhagen (Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics) Abstract Good relations and effective communication patterns are crucial for high performance teams (Salas, Goodwin, & Burke, 2008). Much of this is accomplished at meetings in and through the detailed and sequential organization of actions in micro ecologies (Asmuß & Svennevig, 2009). The successful and unsuccessful interactions around meeting activity types like e.g. deciding, informing, and ideating are grounded in details in the situated multimodal encounters. In order to “fix” interactional issues, we have been working on developing a video-based interaction improvement method (Due & Lange, 2015; Due, Lange, & Trærup, forth.). From an EMCA (Button & Sharrock, 2016), applied CA (Antaki, 2011) and multimodal (Streeck, Goodwin, & LeBaron, 2011) perspective, we video record meetings and interactions, analyze details displayed in social interaction and present findings to participants based on video clips. This is conducted in a workshop format with the aim of securing learning (Wenger, 2000). We have been working with four different Danish organizations; a large company, an NGO, a small software company and a large optician chain store where staff where on workshops. The data consists of video recordings of social interaction and field notes. In this paper, we will present the overall steps in the method. We will then especially focus on the issues regarding harvesting the learning potentials during the meetings/workshop with a focus on challenges concerning a) how to present video clips in the most relevant way and c) how to facilitate the workshop in best ways. Antaki, C. (Ed.). (2011). Applied Conversation Analysis: Intervention and Change in Institutional Talk (1st ed.). Palgrave Macmillan. Asmuß, B., & Svennevig, J. (2009). Meeting Talk: An Introduction. Journal of Business Communication, 46(1), 3–22. Button, G., & Sharrock, W. (2016). In support of conversation analysis radical agenda. Discourse Studies, 18(5), 610–620. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461445616657955 Due, B. L., & Lange, S. (2015). Videobased Reflection on Team and employee Interaction. Circd Working Papers in Social Interaction, (1 (3)), 1–38. Due, B. L., Lange, S., & Trærup, J. (forth.). Video learning: en videobaseret læringsmetode. In M. Kjær & J. Davidsen (Eds.), Perspektiver på videoanalyse Introduktion til metode og teori i praksis. Samfundslitteratur. Salas, E., Goodwin, G. F., & Burke, C. S. (2008). Team Effectiveness In Complex Organizations: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives and Approaches. Routledge Academic. Streeck, J., Goodwin, C., & LeBaron, C. (2011). Embodied Interaction: Language and Body in the Material World. Cambridge University Press. Wenger, E. (2000). Communities of Practice and Social Learning Systems. Organization, 7(2), 225–246. https://doi.org/10.1177/135050840072002
Using Experimental Data to Analyse Decision-making Processes in Meetings. A Political Science Perspective
This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium Frank Nullmeier, University of Bremen (SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy) Tanja Pritzlaff-Scheele, University of Bremen (SOCIUM) Abstract In political science, collective decision-making is identified as the core objective of politics. Moreover, the face-to-face meeting is identified as the key element when it comes to processes of political decision-making. Therefore, data collection in studies on decision-making processes often focuses on data from actual political meetings, especially on audio-visual material. However, apart from the difficulties of getting access to these meetings and a permit to videotape them, there are other downsides to the use of video data from real political meetings: Often times, the quality of the data suffers from the fact that too many things are going on in a room at once. Moreover, a study based on audio-visual data from actual meetings usually stays at the level of small-N studies. Therefore, we suggest to supplement real-world meeting data by data from group experiments. This allows us to test and to validate findings on decisive factors, causal relations and typical interaction sequences in meetings. In our paper, we present an experimental approach to the study of meetings. Combining the analysis of chat-based experiments and face-to-face group experiments, we recommend the integration of data from group experiments as an important step for the further development of meeting research. In an experimental situation, the stages of the decision-making process within a group and the sequences of contributions to this process can be reconstructed in detail. We analytically distinguish four key steps in a decision-making process: Participants in a meeting may discuss the implications of a specific task or the problem to solve. They may proceed by presenting proposals on how to handle the problem and they may signal acceptance or non-acceptance to these proposals. Especially in meetings that do not use voting procedures, the last step of a decision-making process can be identified as the confirmation of a particular proposal as the decision of the group as a whole. Using these analytical elements, the detailed analysis of experimental data helps to find out under what conditions certain sequences of decision-making emerge. Examples are proposal chains (proposals that produce new proposals), re-narrations (repetitions of a proposal in a slightly different mode by different persons), regressions to the stage of problem discussion, and takeovers of the position of the moderator and initiator of the confirmation process. The major shortcoming of chat-based experimental data is the exclusion of non-verbal communication and bodily co-presence. Findings from computer-mediated experiments can only be compared to actual meeting data at a very abstract level. Therefore, our experimental data set also includes audio-visual data from face-to-face group decision experiments. The data produced in these experiments, with groups communicating and deciding in physical co-presence, opens up a wide range of opportunities for a detailed validation of findings from actual meetings. Furthermore, research that uses chat-based as well as face-to-face experimental data is able to identify specific advantages of face-to-face meetings when compared to technically mediated forms of communication. We therefore consider both types of experimental data as important resources of meeting science.
This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium Helen Schwartzman, Northwestern University (Anthropology) Abstract In this paper I will join the topics of time and meetings to explore several issues, including why it seems to be time for meetings to be a topic of research for so many disciplines (when they have existed in the background for so long for so many investigators). Why now? For example, how is the turn toward “meeting ethnographies” in anthropology (see Sandler and Thedvall, forthcoming 2017) related to researchers’ increased interest in understanding the work and effects of multiple organizations and institutions (NGOs, corporations, state and international bureaucracies)? And, what does this turn suggest about past, present and future meeting studies? I will also consider the issue of time in relation to why the time “spent” in meetings is continually framed as a problem by and for managers, workers, and especially consultants, in the corporate world. How does this “time” problem influence both our definition and understanding of meetings in these settings? Finally, I will take up the issue of the timing of meetings and the importance of examining the landscape of meetings and other activities that exists in any setting in order to understand the effect of meetings in particular contexts.
The seduction of the event – how the innovation system comes into being through inter-organizational meetings
This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium Patrik Hall, Malmö University (Dept of Global political studies) Erika Anderson Cederholm Abstract In this paper we focus on the specific meeting form of inter-organizational events as a mode of organizing and performing a policy. The organizational context of our study is the collaboration between academia, industry and the public sector which is often referred to as the triple helix model or an innovation system. More specifically, our case is the establishment of a regional innovation system in Skåne, Sweden. One of its key activities is an annual meeting on the topic of innovation – Skåne Innovation Week. Innovation week is a form of event which seems to occur in regions and cities all over the globe. The specific characteristics of this inter-organizational collaboration evoke questions on the characteristics of the meeting itself; what is actually the role of the event in the innovation policy? The innovation system has loose structures and unclear hierarchies, with a vague, all-embracing overall aim – to encourage, support and implement new innovations in Skåne. The system stresses collaboration and inclusion, rather than competition and exclusion. Since the event is a key activity of the collaboration, this is also an activity where visions are performed. In this paper, we argue that the regional innovation system comes into being through relatively large scale meetings of an event-like character where the innovation system performs itself and becomes visible to the participants. In our analysis, we focus on the specific characteristics of the meeting, how it is staged and enacted, by identifying specific practices that seem to embody and sustain ambiguities and vagueness in this inter-organizational collaboration.
This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium Johanna Leinius, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main (Cluster of Excellence "The Formation of Normative Orders") Abstract In this paper, I argue that when studying meetings between differently positioned political and social actors, the historically entrenched power relations that shape both the context of the meeting and the subjectivities of those that meet must be considered. I use the results of my doctoral thesis, in which I analyze two inter-movement encounters in Peru that aim to link indigenous, feminist, popular, and afro-Latin social movements, to show how the encounter of different social worlds at meetings can be studied through ethnographically based committed research. Within the nexus of emancipatory social movement organizing in Latin America, the meeting takes on central importance for building and sustaining counter-hegemonic struggles today: Their dominant mode of organizing does not aim to subsume different movements under one central narrative, but is based on the recognition of difference. The movement activists see racial, sexual, cultural, and other divides not as obstacles to be overcome, but as resources for building broad-based strategies to challenge oppression. Meetings are seen as spaces for encountering each other, learning from the others’ struggles, and for building solidarities. These meetings take place, however, in a context characterized by the hierarchization of difference, which crucially shapes the dynamics at the meetings. In the meetings I analyze, at least two different meeting logics encountered each other on an unequal playing field: An emancipatory Western logics of learning and critical self-reflexivity and an indigenous representational logics of giving testimony. For the researcher studying these meetings, the presence of different meeting logics represents a methodological and epistemological challenge. The methodological framework I have developed combines a postcolonial-feminist ethnographic approach with post-foundational discourse analysis to provide a comprehensive and situated picture of the situation at hand. Only through the triangulation of different perspectives (participant observation, interviews, the collective reflection of the meeting with the meeting participants), I could recognize the power dynamics at play and trace them back to the different meeting logics anchored in distinct social worlds. I argue that in order to adequately grasp the meeting dynamics and outcomes in a postcolonial context, the historical constitution of hierarchically ordered difference has to be taken into account. To do this, I propose committed ethnographic research that departs from the postcolonial feminist recognition of the partiality and situatedness of the knowledge of both the researcher and the meeting participants.
This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium Jen Sandler, University of Massachusetts Amherst (Anthropology) Renita Thedvall, Stockholm University (Stockholm Centre for Organizational Research - Score) Abstract In this presentation, Renita Thedvall and I share our exploration of the study of meetings that has taken place with about two dozen colleagues working in diverse meeting contexts across the globe. This “Meeting Ethnography” project has unfolded over the past four years through a partnership resulting in three international workshops and an edited volume. The presentation describes the diverse contributions of “meeting ethnographers” working in social movements, organizations, schools, corporations, networks, social reform coalitions, international development sites, state bureaucracies, and networks of global capital and transnational governance, to a process of taking meetings seriously. We discuss the vital questions of epistemology - what researchers can see by looking at meetings - and methodology - the challenges to studying meetings, that have surfaced through our discussions. Finally, we alight on the question that has most haunted this research. As the salience and usefulness of meetings as a category of human organization has become more clear, we have realized that doing so across broad expanses of diverse human organization brings up vital issues of ontology. What is this thing that we call “meeting”? While this presentation only gestures toward our answer, we use the format to invite participants to think about specific ontological questions in their own treatment of this ubiquitous phenomenon.
This paper belongs to [acf field="session"] of the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium Tania Weinfurtner, University of Zurich (Department of Business Administration) Abstract In this study, we examine how strategizing takes place across different types of meetings. Based on a one-year ethnographic field study of a strategy development process in a division of a large telecommunications company, we found that strategists used different types of meetings for different purposes and in different stages of strategy development. We show that these types of meetings serve complementary functions (such as generation of ideas, integration of perspectives, integration with the larger organization, legitimation) that are all necessary for strategy development.