CFP Mediated Business: Living the Organisational Surroundings

Mediated Business: Living the Organisational Surroundings
Deadline: 1 October 2016

This special issue of Culture and Organization aims to continue a line of thought initiated by the 2004 special issue in Culture and Organization on the work of Deirdre Boden and her interest in interaction in workplace settings. In her seminal book “The business of talk” from 1994, Boden uncovers the tightly interwoven sequential structure of organisational talk. She points to the importance of the local and sequential organisation of talk in interaction for the emergence of larger organisational phenomena: “Piece by piece, moment by moment, stage by stage and level by level, decisions are discussed, debated, diffused and ultimately resolved” (Boden 1994: 178). The special issue in 2004 aimed at developing Boden’s central points on how micro and macro aspects of organisational talk are interrelated. In their paper, Oswick and Richards (2004) built upon Boden’s metaphor of laminations and developed a critical framework for understanding the relationship between local conversations and the larger organisational context. Likewise, Samra-Fredericks (2004) analysed one single instance of organisational talk and showed how a wider organisational context was shaped by and brought into being by the local organisation of talk.

With the current special issue theme “Mediated business: living the organisational surroundings”, we aim to add upon the 2004 initiated ethnomethodological/conversation analytic (EM/CA)-perspective on workplace interaction by specifically relating it to the recent multimodal turn in interaction studies (Mortensen 2012; Asmuß 2015). That way, the special issue seeks to compile recent studies on workplace interactions from an EM/CA perspective focussing on how various organisational surroundings (e.g. material, spatial and/or temporal) may impact the ways organisational activities are accomplished.

In accordance with the recent trends of studying interaction from a multimodal perspective (e.g. Richards 2004; Deppermann 2013; Hazel, et al. 2014), various workplace competences have been understood in light of the members’ ability to organise a diverse array of resources in managing their business at hand. This skillset may include the efficient arrangement and navigation of task-related artefacts in the given context (e.g. Nevile 2004; Nielsen 2012). Correspondingly, the instrumental actions of a given task can be exploited to take care of “hidden” business, for instance: strategy meeting participants negotiating their entitlement through the tactic use of computer-related actions (Asmuß & Oshima 2012) and plastic surgeons performing persuasive physical examinations by labelling patients’ bodies (Mirivel 2008). On the other hand, more “neutral” surroundings – the spatial design of a room in the activity of police interrogation (LeBaron & Streeck 1997), the material/physical environments that surround an urban street sale (Llewellyn & Burrow 2008), and the biographies and other temporal/spatial surroundings of members (Samra-Fredericks 2004), to name a few – may be brought into play by the participants, and/or may shape the form of business they engage in.

These studies have shown us roughly two phenomena. First, they have shown, not only that interactants use resources available for communicative purposes, but how their competences emerge in their artful ways of selecting and highlighting different elements of their surroundings in accomplishing certain business. Second, they indicate what used to be considered as mere practical and objective conditions are often in fact interactional resources, leaving little room for distinguishing the relevant surroundings and the made-as-relevant surroundings. The aim of this special issue is to further explore this fuzzy border of “the participants’ surroundings” and “the surroundings themselves” (Mortensen 2012) in diverse organisational contexts. By examining interactants’ selection of various features in the surroundings, we are interested in exploring how people go about living the organisational surroundings, their social meanings and relationship with the managing of business. We thus welcome EM/CA-oriented contributions offering insights into (but not limited to):
• Affordances and restrictions of organisational activities as interactional resources for negotiating various business (e.g. role, identity, morality, responsibility, strategies)
• Technical/practical activities as social resources at workplace
• Multimodal resources for building interactional a/symmetries at the workplace
• Organisational strategy as a multimodal practice
• Discursive/social/interactional accomplishments of practicality at work
• Assembling workplace through interaction
• Spatiality and temporality of workplace interaction
• The ambiguous border of informal and formal business
• Organisational value of micro-activities
• The interrelationship of micro-level interactional activities and larger organisational phenomena through talk amongst managerial elites.

Please ensure that all submissions to the special issue are made via the ScholarOne Culture and Organization site at You will have to sign up for an account before you are able to submit a manuscript. Please ensure when you do submit that you select the relevant special issue (volume 24, issue 1) to direct your submission appropriately. If you experience any problems please contact the editors of this issue.

The deadline for manuscript submission is October 1st 2016.

Style and other instructions on manuscript preparation can be found at the journal’s website. Manuscript length should not exceed 10,000 words, including appendices and supporting materials. Please also be aware that any images used in your submission must be your own, or where they are not you must already have permission to reproduce them in an academic journal. You should make this explicit in the submitted manuscript.

Please direct informal enquiries to the special issue co-editors, Birte Asmuß and Sae Oshima (please ‘cc both co-editors).

Asmuß, B. (2015). Multimodal Perspectives on Meeting Interaction: Recent Trends in Conversation Analysis. In J. A. Allen, N. Lehmann-Willenbrock, & S. G. Rogelberg (Eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Meeting Science (pp. 277-304). Chapter 13. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Asmuß, B. & Oshima, S. (2012). Negotiation of entitlement in proposal sequences. Discourse Studies 14(1): 67-86.
Boden, D. (1994). The business of talk: Organizations in action. Cambridge, UK: Polity.
Deppermann, A. (2013). Multimodal interaction from a conversation analytic perspective. Journal of Pragmatics 46(1): 1-7.
Hazel, S., Mortensen, K. & Rasmussen, G. (2014). Introduction: A body of resources – CA studies of social conduct. Journal of Pragmatics 65(0): 1-9.
LeBaron, C. &, J. (1997). Built space and the interactional framing of experience during a murder interrogation. Human Studies 20(1): 1-25.
Llewellyn, N. & Burrow, R. (2008). Streetwise sales and the social order of city streets. British Journal of Sociology 59(3): 561-583.
Mirivel, J. (2008). The physical examination in cosmetic surgery: Embodied persuasion in medical interaction. Health Communication 23: 153-170.
Mortensen, K. (2012). Conversation analysis and multimodality: Conversation Analysis and Applied Linguistics. The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics. J. Wagner and K. Mortensen. Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell.
Nevile, M. (2004). Integrity in the airline cockpit: Embodying claims about progress for the conduct of an approach briefing. Research on Language & Social Interaction 37(4): 447-480.
Nielsen, M. F. (2012). Using artifacts in brainstorming sessions to secure participation and decouple sequentiality. Discourse Studies 14(1): 87-109.
Oswick, C. & Richards, D. (2004). Talk in organizations: Local conversations, wider perspectives. Culture and Organization 10(2): 107-123.
Richards, D. (2004). Introduction. Culture and Organization 10(2): 101-105.
Samra-Fredericks, D. (2004). Understanding the production of ‘strategy’ and ‘organization’ through talk amongst managerial elites. Culture and Organization 10(2): 125-141.

Editorial information
• Guest editor: Birte Asmuß, Aarhus University, Denmark (
• Guest editor: Sae Oshima, Aarhus University, Denmark (

Author: Center for Intercultural Dialogue

Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, the Director of the Center for Intercultural Dialogue, manages this website.

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