Methodological reflections from studying the agency of meetings collectively

The Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium

This paper belongs to 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. (…) Read more

A Framework for Analyzing Power Dynamics at Inter-Movement Meetings in Postcolonial Contexts

The Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium

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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. (…) Read more

Politics as a practice of meeting

The Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium

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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. (…) Read more

Participating in versus Researching University Meetings

The Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium

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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. (…) Read more

The Meeting Ethnography Project: Seeking method, purpose, and meaning

The Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium

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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. (…) Read more

Social interaction in hospital management group meetings

The Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium

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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. (…) Read more

Strategizing across different types of meetings

The Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium

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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. (…) Read more

Identity negotiations in meetings: When the manager joins for lunch

The Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium

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Birte Asmuß, Aarhus University (Management)
Sae Oshima

Abstract 
Authors: Birte Asmuß, Aarhus University, asmuss@mgmt.au.dk
Sae Oshima, Aarhus University, oshima@mgmt.au.dk

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. (…) Read more

Developing and refining a nonverbal coding scheme on effective leadership and followership behaviors in meetings: Preliminary results

The Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium

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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. (…) Read more