The Role of /Overlaps\ in Intercultural Workplace Interaction

Source: OAI

ABSTRACT The field of workplace communication continues to grow, and globalisation has encouraged researchers to focus on the phenomenon of intercultural interaction in multi-cultural workplaces. Usually, but not exclusively, framed within the constructs of Brown and Levinson's Politeness Theory, intercultural studies have typically concentrated on instances of miscommunication taking a partial, one-sided account of intercultural workplace interaction. Differing social norms for what constitutes politeness have been a major focus of debate into the merits of politeness theory. Overlapping speech, in particular, is one aspect of workplace interaction that has been long neglected in the field of intercultural workplace interaction research. Moving away from the traditional views in the field, the present study takes a positive stance on the study of the interplay of interactional norms of politeness in intercultural face-to-face workplace interaction and investigates how people from different ethnic backgrounds undertake relational work in naturally-occurring workplace exchanges. As the analytic framework, rapport management (developed by Spencer-Oatey) provides a useful reconceptualisation of linguistic politeness with a greater focus on negotiated interaction. The analysis focuses on the role of overlapping speech in this context of interaction guided by two research questions: 1) how does overlapping speech function in workplace interactions in New Zealand? and 2) how are these overlaps intended and 'perceived' by culturally different interactants? To this end, the data for the present study were drawn from two meetings in a large educational institution in New Zealand. In the first phase of data collection, two meetings were video and audio recorded, from which representative extracts containing overlaps were chosen for analysis. In the second phase, individual stimulated recall interviews were held with the participants with the purpose of eliciting participants' intentions and perceptions regarding the use of overlaps. The findings suggest that this group of instructors operate as a Community of Practice (CofP) rather than as ethnic individualities with shared assumptions and expectations regarding the appropriate use of overlaps to cooperatively construct meaning in interaction. This CofP, it was noted, is also strongly oriented towards the maintenance and enhancement of social harmony in their workplace interaction, which influences the use of overlapping speech as a communicative strategy employed to this end. Overall, the study demonstrates that considering intercultural communication from the perspective of rapport management can provide positive insights into how people from different ethnic backgrounds do relational work as they construct meaning in interaction.

Download full-text


Available from: Mariana VIRGINIA Lazzaro-Salazar, Apr 14, 2015
1 Follower
17 Reads
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The use of High Rising Terminal intonation contours (HRTs) in statements is a particularly salient and often stigmatized feature of a number of varieties of English. In recent years a number of linguists have investigated the feature from pragmatic (ching 1982, Meyerhoff 1991) and sociolinguistic (Guy, Horvath, Vonwiller, Diasley and Rogers 1986, Allen 1990, Britain 1992) perspectives and its use has also stimulated long running debates in the press (New York Times, Fall 1991; Sydney Morning Herald, June 1992) about its origins, functions and appropriateness. In this paper, we combine a brief discussion of its use and dunction with a F0-plot analysis of a number of HRT contours from recordings made in Wellington, New Zealand in 1989.
    Journal of the International Phonetic Association 05/1992; 22:1 - 11. DOI:10.1017/S0025100300004540 · 0.50 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In continuation of recent discussions in JoP and elsewhere concerning the aptness of conversation analysis (“CA”) as a research methodology for “intercultural” interaction, this CA-study shows some procedures by which interactants overtly or covertly orient to regional or linguistic category membership where apparent trouble in hearing or understanding the talk are addressed (“other-initiated repair” [Language 54 (2) (1977) 361]). These practices of membership categorizing are inferred from different kinds of structural elaborateness beyond the basic two-part repair sequence. CA is shown to provide analytic tools which are highly suitable to detecting and describing practices of membership categorizing along regional or linguistic lines both in so-called “native/native” and “native/nonnative” interaction.
    Journal of Pragmatics 05/2004; 36(8-36):1467-1498. DOI:10.1016/j.pragma.2003.11.007 · 0.76 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This study examined whether culture plays a role in the use of interruption in simulated doctor-patient conversations. Participants were 40 Canadians and 40 Chinese who formed 40 dyads in four experimental conditions: Canadian speaker-Canadian listener, Chinese speaker-Chinese listener, Chinese speaker-Canadian listener, and Canadian speaker-Chinese listener. All conversations were videotaped and microanalyzed. The data generated four findings: (a) In the Chinese speaker-Chinese listener interactions, cooperative interruptions occurred more frequently than intrusive interruptions; (b) when Canadians served as doctors, the doctors performed significantly more intrusive interruptions than cooperative ones; (c) the two intercultural groups engaged in more unsuccessful interruptions than the two intracultural groups; and (d) in the intercultural conditions, the occurrences of intrusive interruptions were greater than cooperative interruptions. This phenomenon provides unequivocal support for communication accommodation theory. The findings point to a hypothesis that conversational interruption may be a pancultural phenomenon, whereas interruption styles may be culture specific.
    Journal of Language and Social Psychology 09/2001; 20(3):259-284. DOI:10.1177/0261927X01020003001 · 1.04 Impact Factor
Show more