Language plays a vital role in many workplaces: in some workplaces most or all of the activities that people typically engage with are related to language use (e.g. in schools; universities; some businesses); in other workplaces language is not central to ‘getting things done’ (e.g. in workplaces that mainly require manual labor) but it is still indispensable, for example, for establishing and maintaining rapport with colleagues, communicating tasks, supporting employees and other activities. This course introduces the students to some current trends and central topics in the broad field of communication in organizations and professions. The particular focus of the course is on the analysis of language in use in organizations and professions, that is context-specific use of language in written, spoken and other modes of communication. Examples for the course are drawn from various authentic workplaces discourses (e.g. business and informal meetings; e-mail communication), with some of them coming from the lecturer’s own research at a range of workplaces (including public hospitals; small and large organizations) in Hong Kong.
The main course topics include:
- Defining professional and workplace communication
- A discourse/communication perspective to professional and workplace communication
- Workplace culture
- Politeness in the workplace
- Professional identities
- Gender issues in the workplace
- Leadership in the workplace
- “Bring it all together”: Language and communication in healthcare, business and legal settings
- To introduce the students to current trends and central topics in the field of langauge and communication in organizations and professions.
- To introduce the students to discourse/communication-based approaches to professional and workplace communication.
- To provide the students with ‘hands-on’ experience of analyzing authentic discourse data from various professional and workplace settings.
The class will be divided into groups of 10. Each group will have a tutorial every second week. The aim of the tutorials is to address the students’ questions about the topics discussed in the class, and to engage in the analyses of discourse data in preparation for the final assessment. Students will be provided with guidelines on how to plan and write an essay.
Assessment for the course is comprised of three parts:
- 30% - mid-term assignment.
- 20% peer review of final assignment.
- 60% - final assignment.
Schnurr, S. & Zayts, O. (2017). Language and Culture at Work. Routledge
There are a number of great textbooks and other sources on communication in organizations and professions, some of them published very recently. The lecturer will provide a detailed reference list for each topic at the end of a lecture. Some texts that will be used in the class include:
Angouri, J. & Marra, M. (2011). Constructing Identities at Work. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Bargiela-Chiappini, F., Nickerson, C. & Planken, B. (2007). Business Discourse. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Candlin, C.N. & Sarangi, S. (2011). Handbook of Communication in Organizations and Professions. De Gruyter Mouton.
Gunnarsson, B.-L. (2009). Professional Discourse. London: Continuum.
Holmes, J. (2006). Gendered Talk at Work: Constructing Social Identity through Workplace Interaction. Oxford: Blackwell.
Holmes, J. & Stubbe, M. (2003). Power and Politeness in theWorkplace: A Sociolinguistic Analysis of Talk at Work. London: Longman.
Koester, A. (2010). Workplace Discourse. London: Continuum.
Mullany, L. (2006). Gendered Discourse in the Professional Workplace. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Schnurr, S. (2009). Leadership Discourse at Work. Interactions of Humour, Gender and Workplace Culture. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Schnurr, S. (2012). Exploring Professional Communication: Language in Action. Routledge.