Quotation Köster, Almut. 2004. Relational sequences in workplace genres. Journal of Pragmatics 36 (8): 1405-1428.




Although participants in workplace encounters are primarily concerned with the accomplishment of certain workplace tasks, they nevertheless also orient to relational concerns. Research into naturally-occurring office conversations shows that such a relational orientation may be displayed in various types of interactional units, from longer stretches of talk down to individual turns. This article investigates smaller units of relationally-oriented talk referred to as 'relational sequences' or 'relational turns', and attempts to account for these phenomena within task-oriented talk by combining a genre-theoretic approach with a conversation analytical description of the local management of talk-in-interaction. Relational sequences occur most frequently in making arrangements; and particular types of relational turns are identified within procedural and requesting discourse. The sequential analysis of selected extracts shows that the placement of relational sequences is extremely flexible. While some relational sequences occur as optional task evaluations towards the end of an encounter, they also occur as pre-sequences or side sequences between, or even during, various obligatory phases of the genre. The production of accounts occurred frequently within and as a trigger for relational talk, and such accounts, as well as other turn and sequence types, were found to perform a variety of relational functions, including face protection and identity negotiation.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Journal article
Journal Journal of Pragmatics
Citation Index SSCI
Language English
Title Relational sequences in workplace genres
Volume 36
Number 8
Year 2004
Page from 1405
Page to 1428
Reviewed? Y


Köster, Almut (Details)
Institute for English Business Communication (Köster) (Details)
Department of Foreign Language Business Communication DP (Details)
Research areas (ÖSTAT Classification 'Statistik Austria')
6605 English language and literature (Details)
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