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

Studying What Doesn’t Happen in Meetings

The Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium

This paper belongs to 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. (…) Read more

Making Sense of What is Not Said

The Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium

This paper belongs to 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). (…) Read more