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Empowering and disempowering meeting styles: Understanding the cultural logics of meetings and assemblies

Conference contribution
Authors Christoph Haug
Published in "The Structure and Structuring of Work within and across Organizations" Workshop. Montreal, Canada: 6–7 July
Publication year 2013
Published at Department of Sociology and Work Science
Gothenburg Centre for Globalization and Development (GCGD)
Language en
Keywords meetings; face-to-face interaction; empowerment;
Subject categories Social Psychology, Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)


This paper identifies six elementary interactional constraints in face-to-face meetings: frames, sequential relevance, face, status, physical boundaries, and temporal boundaries. It argues that these constraints are not absolute but subject to cultural interpretation and modification in practice, thus giving rise to numerous meeting styles. Each of these meeting styles can be analytically understood as a set of regimes which determine to what degree and in what way the elementary constraints will be effective in the actual meeting as it takes place. These meeting styles are then examined with regard to the question of empowerment: How can we understand that some meetings are experienced as energizing and empowering while others seem to be fruitless and disempowering? Based on the inherent logic of the different meeting regimes, the paper identifies three contrasting styles: disempowerment, inclusive empowerment, and exclusive empowerment and exposes the mechanisms that account for these effects.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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