Relational work in synchronous text-based CMC of virtual teams

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Based on close examinations of instant message (IM) interactions, this chapter argues that an interactional sociolinguistic approach to computer-mediated language use could provide explanations for phenomena that previously could not be accounted for in computer-mediated discourse analysis (CMDA). Drawing on the theoretical framework of relational work (Locher, 2006), the analysis focuses on non-task oriented talk and its function in forming and establishing communication norms in the team, as well as micro-level phenomena, such as hesitation, backchannel signals and emoticons. The conclusions of this preliminary research suggest that the linguistic strategies used for substituting audio-visual signals are strategically used in discursive functions and have an important role in relational work

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Publication dateMay 2010
Publication titleHandbook of research on discourse behavior and digital communication : language structures and social interaction
EditorsRotimi Taiwo
PublisherIGI Global
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-6152-0774-9
ISBN (Print)978-1-6152-0773-2
Original languageEnglish


  • digital communication, computer-mediated communication, virtual work, linguistic politeness

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