Capturing Boredom and nonsense in meetings

The Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium

This paper belongs to 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. (…) Read more

The Agency of Meetings Collectively in an Organizational Setting.

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, 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. (…) Read more

Using video-feedback as a learning format in workshops

The Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium

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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.). (…) Read more

The Workplace Meeting: General Process or Multiple Identity?

The Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium

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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. (…) Read more

Using Experimental Data to Analyse Decision-making Processes in Meetings. A Political Science Perspective

The Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium

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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. (…) Read more

Group Decision Support Systems (GDSS) changes the equation for meeting intense workflows – Traditional setups V.S. GDSS supported workflows – A Case Study

The Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium

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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). (…) Read more

Time for Meetings

The Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium

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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)? (…) Read more

Exploring long-term trends in meeting behavior

The Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium

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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? (…) Read more

Making Sense of What is Not Said

The Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium

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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). (…) Read more

The seduction of the event – how the innovation system comes into being through inter-organizational meetings

The Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium

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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. (…) Read more