Linguistic forms of consultative management discourse
Discourse and Society
SAGE Publications Inc.
Chinese management style, Conditionals, Control, Dialectics, Discourse features, Evaluative lexis, Modals, Participative decision-making, Questions, Signalling choice
Discourse analysis of over 20 meetings in three banks in Hong Kong indicates that consultative management talk is a type on the continuum of participative decision-making, as conceptualized in participative typologies in management literature. Nevertheless, it is a type of discourse which has the tendency of developing into full-blown decision-sharing and not stopping short where it should on the cline of relative influence and control between superior and subordinates, as suggested by the conventional models. The discourse corpus also shows how the managers perform a delicate balancing act of opening themselves up to subordinates' influence on the one hand and keeping the decision-making process under their control on the other hand during consultation. Subtle but different language forms are used. While the discourse shows features attributable to Chinese management styles, it also reveals distinctive characteristics which mark off consultative discourse as a genre on its own.
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