Although work meetings remain an enduring and commonplace organizational communication activity, scholars have only recently begun to theorize the meeting as a phenomenon unto itself. When meetings have been studied, they have usually been analyzed as settings for the exploration of other phenomena.Recent research that examinesmeetings addresses a broad range of issues, but often leaves theoretical questions and assumptions regarding the nature of meeting communication itself and the role of meetings in shaping organizational life underspecified or completely unarticulated. What are meetings really? Why should practitioners and scholars see them as more significant than any other organizational phenomenon? Why should they believe that work meetings actually play an important role in shaping (i.e., rather than merely reflecting) larger attitudes and perceptions about organizations and the individuals who facilitate and participate in them? This chapter presents a set of metaphors that capture the various ways in which meetings are approached in contemporary research. Each metaphor reflects and sustains distinct assumptions about what meetings are, what role they play in organizational life, and the manner in which they constitute organizations. We argue that meeting science should deploy both practical and theoretical assumptions that position meetings as generative activities through which groups and organizations are constituted and sustained. The chapter also describes related directions for future research that would add to our understanding of the various ways that meeting communication shapes individual and organizational outcomes. Work meetings remain an enduring and frequently occurring activity in organizational life. Unfortunately, in spite of their prevalence, meetings have usually only been analyzed by scholars as settings for the exploration of other phenomena such as decision making or group development (Schwartzman, 1986). Consequently, the practical relevance and related frustrations of work meetings have received far more attention than theoretical questions about what meetings are and how they fit into larger organizational processes and outcomes. Researchers have only recently begun to theorize the meeting as a phenomenon unto itself (e.g., Rogelberg, Leach, Warr, and Burnfield, 2006), and theory development regarding the role of meetings in organizational life has been particularly sparse.
- Work meetings
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
- Business, Management and Accounting(all)