Getting Things Done at Work: The Discourse of Power in Workplace Interaction

The linguistic study of workplace language is a new and exciting area of research. This book explores the expression of power in a New Zealand workplace through examination of 52 everyday interactions between four women and their colleagues. The main focus of this research is the expression of three types of control acts , i.e., directives, requests and advice. The women include two managers who demonstrate an interactive participative style of management. They tend to minimise rather than exert power, although their status is still evident in their speech. The study is original in its combination of a quantitative and a qualitative approach, as well as in its combination of a detailed categorisation of head acts and an analysis of context and role relationships. Through the design of the study and the methodology used, the results which are brought forward challenge earlier research both on power and control acts. The data analyzed is drawn from the Wellington Language in the Workplace Project.