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Basics of Organizational Writing

A Critical Reading Approach

Series:

Yeonkwon Jung

This book is a study of social interaction in organizational writing, looking at how and why members of specific groups use language in the ways they do. It shows how the discursive practices of writing shape and influence behavior of an organization’s members and their perceptions and judgments of what they consider in reality as criteria for the practices. It investigates the products of organizational communication, including the situatedness of language and its consequences, and particular language features seen as signaling contextual presuppositions, or shared meanings, providing an interpretive framework for understanding written organizational discourse.
This book bases on data-driven approach rather than practice-driven or theory-driven approach, as it centers on a variety of situations that commonly take place in business and institutional organizations. Pragmatic processes such as speech acts and face theory are adopted to analyze how writers seek to encode their messages for a particular audience, and how readers make inferences when seeking to locate a writer’s intended meaning.

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5. Context-sensitive business writing 105

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5. Context-sensitive business writing Chapter 5 investigates the (non)-realization of communication strate- gies and to a lesser extent paragraph structures used by individuals in organizations (e.g. which types of communication strategies are used?; how do they create solidarity with the reader?; how do they keep ap- propriate distance thereby avoiding face-threats and mitigate their assertiveness in face-threats?; how do they restore their image?). As Yli-Jokipii (1994) points out, there are dimensions or as- pects of business communication other than the linguistic dimension. For example, the corporate dimension includes social context factors. The social context factors describe the situational context in which language is used. These social context factors are group knowledge shared among individuals in a particular context, such as the work- place. For example, the knowledge that medium selection is depend- ent on different types of tasks (i.e. electronic form for internal com- munication and print form for external communication) is shared among business professionals in any given company. Since the lin- guistic and corporate dimensions operate simultaneously, it seems problematic to consider them separately. Writers take context factors into consideration in choosing appropriate communication strategies. This chapter argues for whether these contextual factors always affect the choice of communication strategies in a conventional or automatic way. Namely, it exemplifies whether there are any excep- tions to the conventional patterns of communication strategy distribu- tion. For example, whether or not the task routine influences the form of the directives. Routine directives are less face-threatening and do not need...

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