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The construction of conflict talk across workplace contexts: (towards a) theory of conflictual compact

Handford, Michael and Koester, Almut 2019. The construction of conflict talk across workplace contexts: (towards a) theory of conflictual compact. Language Awareness 28 (3) , pp. 186-206. 10.1080/09658416.2019.1636802

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Studies of conflictual workplace discourse are rare, both in language-awareness research and discourse analysis more generally, owing partly to the difficulty in gaining access to such interactions, and arguably to the relative rarity of conflictual discourse occurring at work. The topic is therefore both under-analysed and under-theorised. Drawing on data in the form of meeting transcripts and spoken and written interview data from three separate corpora of workplace communication, this study analyses how conflict is linguistically and discursively constructed across a range of different professional contexts. Our contribution to language awareness, and to discourse analysis, is threefold. Firstly, the close analysis of meeting data pinpoints a range of linguistic features that can constitute conflict at work, which then form the basis for a novel categorisation. Secondly, the combination of interactional data with interview data demonstrates the awareness professionals may bring when considering the issue of communication and conflict, and its ramifications for successful collaborations. Finally, the proposed theory of conflict can provide explanatory depth to awareness of conflictual discourse, explicating why workplace discourse may be more likely to turn conflictual in certain contexts, and not in others.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 0965-8416
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 2 September 2019
Date of Acceptance: 14 June 2019
Last Modified: 08 Oct 2021 01:28

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