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Exploring the characteristics of different types of workplace conversations, including decision-making, training, briefing or making arrangements, this enthralling account pays particular attention to interactions with a more social focus, such as small talk or office gossip.
Presenting a range of approaches to analyzing such workplace discourse, Almut Koester argues for a combination of quantitative corpus-based methods, to compare specific linguistic features in different genres and qualitative methods involving a close analysis of individual conversations, to explore such issues as politeness, power, conflict and consensus-building. A corpus of conversations recorded in a variety of office environments both in the UK and the USA is used throughout to demonstrate the interplay between speakers accomplishing tasks and maintaining relationships in the workplace.