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‘So what problems bother you and you are not speeding up your work?’ Problem solving talk at work
Article from Journal - ilmiah internasional
Discourse and Communication ( Full Text) vol. 5 no. 3 (2011)
problem solving talk
Problem solving (PbS) can be readily described as one of the key activities regularly performed by professionals in any workplace setting. Despite its importance, however, there is relatively little (socio)linguistic research which looks at the complex ways in which problems are constructed in discourse. This article sees the enactment of a ‘problem’ as a discursive phenomenon with fluid boundaries. It draws on business meeting data recorded in multinational companies in Europe and focuses on excerpts identified by the participants as having a PbS function. The data show that problem solving processes and practice are anchored to the structure of the organizations, the local history and employees’ shared perceptions of professional practices and hierarchies in their workplace. The analysis also shows two focal points in the PbS talk of the participants in this study, namely identification of a problem (what the problem is) and its ownership (whose problem it is). These, however, are not predetermined starting points but rather locally constructed in relation to the status, expertise and shared/past history of the interactants.
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