Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Periodic Report Summary 1 - MEETGOV (Meeting governance: the enactment of social skill in inter-organizational meetings)

This research project studies how a specific social skill – defined as the ability to induce cooperation in others - is enacted in inter-organizational meetings. The theoretical frame of the project is communication theory, and the method used were interaction analysis and narrative analysis. The observed meetings are conceptualized as “governance units” of the field constituted by the inter-organizational collaboration (IOC), so that social skill can be linked to the governance of inter-organizational fields.

The fellow was hosted by the Dept. of Communication at the University of Montreal, internationally known for its theory of organizational communication known as “Montreal School”. This theory sees communication as constitutive of organization (so-called CCO approach), and the fellowship was meant to contribute to a better familiarity with this approach among organizational scholars in Europe. The combination of the theory of "strategic action fields" with the CCO approach is an original and innovative endeavour which was meant to contribute to the existing knowledge of the governance of IOCs by focusing on a previously neglected aspect, namely social skills and their enactment in communication.

While social skill is relevant in any collaboration, it is particularly salient in the inter-organizational domain, as actors in such domains have less organizational structures and routines to rely on in their collaboration. Studying social skill in inter-organizational meetings is thus highly relevant in a world where much depends on the joint effort of multiple organizations, while the competition between organizations also increases. Multi-level governance systems like the EU are but one example of places where social skills are needed to make others cooperate.

In addition to these mainly academic ambitions of the project, the fellow has also made significant efforts to build a community of scholars and practitioners with a shared interest in meetings during his first two years of the fellowship. During the third year, he will further develop these efforts by building an online community and as the organizer a symposium on the topic of meeting science, the first-ever attempt to bring together meeting researchers from all social sciences to create synergies and cross-fertilization between meetings related research that has so far taken place in relative isolation from each other. Participants will come from disciplines such as social anthropology, organizational communication, sociology, workplace studies, linguistics, political science, psychology, management, and even applied IT.

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Life Sciences
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