LINGUIST List 17.1709
Mon Jun 05 2006
Diss: Discourse Analysis: Markman: 'Computer-Mediated Conversation...'
Editor for this issue: Meredith Valant
Computer-Mediated Conversation: The organization of talk in chat-based virtual team meetings
Message 1: Computer-Mediated Conversation: The organization of talk in chat-based virtual team meetings
From: Kris Markman <krismalumni.utexas.net>
Subject: Computer-Mediated Conversation: The organization of talk in chat-based virtual team meetings
Institution: University of Texas at Austin
Program: Department of Communication Studies
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2006
Author: Kris M. Markman
Dissertation Title: Computer-Mediated Conversation: The organization of talk in chat-based virtual team meetings
Jurgen K. Streeck
This dissertation is a qualitative, microanalytic case study ofconversation in computer chat-based virtual team meetings. Fiveundergraduate students enrolled in a summer term (5.5 weeks) independentstudy course worked together as a virtual (i.e. noncollocated) team toresearch and create a multimedia presentation. I employed a ConversationAnalytic approach to analyze the chat transcripts and video recordings madefrom each team member's computer screen to explain how conversation isorganized in small group quasi-synchronous computer chat. I show how thedisjointed temporality of chat conversations gives rise to a system of turnorganization (threading) that is topical, rather than strictly sequential,in nature. I describe the system of turn allocation used by team members,and how allocation techniques in small group chat differ from thosecommonly found in large chat rooms. In addition, I discuss how participantsachieve intersubjective understanding in chat through an examination ofrepair phenomena. I found that, as with spoken conversation, self-repair isthe dominant type of repair found in chat. However, I also found thatrepair in chat could serve social functions for the group, by serving as aresource for participants to determine norms for spelling and other typingconventions in their chat meetings. I also examine the chat transcripts asexamples of meeting talk, with a particular focus on how conversationalpractices such as openings and closings work to structure meetings in chat.I found that the structural characteristics of chat made opening andclosing meetings a complicated process subject to frequent interruptions,and that a two-stage process was adapted by the team for opening andclosing their meetings. This project advances our understanding of howquasi-synchronous computer-mediated communication is structured, and howthe use of this medium by a virtual team can affect collaboration. I showhow an analysis of the structure of chat conversations offers anexplanation for why computer chat is not widely used in organizationalsettings, why people sometimes describe feeling uncomfortable with thesetypes of meetings. Based on my findings, I also offer a set ofrecommendations for practitioners for making virtual meetings more successful.