Winner of the Association for Business Communication Award for Distinguished Publication on Business Communication.
This book explores multiparty, multicultural interaction at international business meetings. It investigates discourse at an Italian company’s meetings of its international distributors, conducted mainly in English and attended by participants from different countries in Europe, Asia and North America. Data come from audio recordings of the meetings, normally lasting two to three days, and are supplemented by the author’s observations of the meetings. The study uses a series of approaches to analyze selected linguistic and interactional features, presenting an in-depth analysis and discussion of data extracts that draws on both qualitative and quantitative approaches. It highlights the way the main company speaker and some of the multilingual participants use discursive strategies to build common ground, to construct a cooperative business relationship or to negotiate or avert conflict. The study questions the role of cultural differences in approaching multicultural, multilingual meetings and argues that organizational roles, the business context and individual differences must also be considered.