Communication & Language at Work <p><em>Communication and Language at Work</em> is an international, peer-reviewed, open access journal focusing on communicative and discursive practices relating to organizations. With a view to disciplines, the journal invites contributions navigating sociological and philosophical considerations of communication, knowledge, agency, and organization.</p> The Editorial Board en-US Communication & Language at Work 2245-5744 <p>The journal is published under a Creative Commons license <em>Attribution Non-commercial No derivatives (cc by-nc-sa)</em> <a href=""><span style="color: #1f497d;"></span></a>. CLaW allows the author(s) to retain publishing rights without restrictions. Copyright remains with authors without restrictions.</p> The Dark Side of Communication Peter Kastberg Copyright (c) 2020 Peter Kastberg 2020-12-07 2020-12-07 7 1 1 3 10.7146/claw.v7i1.123225 Recruitment Communication and Psychological Contracts in Start-Ups <p>Recruitment communication presents a dilemma for organisations. When organisations hire, they often engage in branding themselves as employers (Backhaus &amp; Tikoo, 2004) and rely on positive framing to present vacant positions in order to attract candidates. This leads to the ensuing challenge of living up to these promises for the candidates who are ultimately hired. Overpromising and underdelivering leads to a breach of the initial psychological contract. This balancing dilemma is especially pertinent for new and unknown companies, where concerns about the company’s legitimacy as an employer may cause potential candidates not to apply (Williamson, Cable, &amp; Aldrich, 2002). On the one hand, start-ups need and want to attract the best, and on the other hand, they need to be wary of the impression they are creating of the job and the organisation as a place of work, as they would also like the candidates to stay once they are hired. I draw on interviews with managers and newcomers in Danish start-ups to give empirical examples of this challenge and its results, using the literature on psychological contracts (Rousseau, 1995) as an explanatory framework. I discuss what organisations might do to accomplish this balancing feat from theoretical and practical perspectives.</p> Mia Thyregod Rasmussen Copyright (c) 2020 Mia Thyregod Rasmussen 2020-12-07 2020-12-07 7 1 4 14 10.7146/claw.v7i1.123246 Health-related nudging <p>The aim of this paper is to present a methodological approach that provides analytical, critical and normative purchase on nudges’ bypassing of reflection, using a combination of multimodal analysis, Foucauldian theory, and Habermas’s (1996) concept of deliberative democracy. The approach is demonstrated using an example of a health-related nudge from the Danish context: healthy product placement in a supermaket. Multimodal analysis highlights how various modes (colour, symbol, front and back, positioning and discourse) contribute meanings to the nudge. A Foucauldian perspective provides critical perspectives on nudges as shaping practices, as short of epistemic content and thus potentially difficult to resist, and as representing a politicisation of public space. Nudges’ lack of transparency is discussed in relation to Habermas’s normative framework of deliberative democracy where recognising public perspectives and ensuring consensus are key. Limitations of the article include a smaller data set; however, the data are used to illustrate the methodological approach. On the basis of the findings, I argue for the importance of furthering critical public discourse on nudging. That way, nudgees may be better positioned to spot nudges, and the implications of policymakers using this technique of governance can be more effectively scrutinised.</p> Antoinette Fage-Butler Copyright (c) 2020 Antoinette Fage-Butler 2020-12-07 2020-12-07 7 1 15 27 10.7146/claw.v7i1.123248 The ‘dark side’ of the LEAP CCT programme in Ghana <p>Studies of social transfer targeting practices and mechanisms, including the proxy means test (PMT) instrument, have often assumed that the essential purpose of these mechanisms is to ensure fairness, cost-effectiveness and efficiency, yet there is limited consensus on their optimal performance. This article builds on recent studies of social transfer targeting practices in developing countries by providing a better interpretation of the power dynamics involved in ‘translating’ the PMT instrument at the intersection of official, public and cultural discourses. It is a Foucault-based study that combines ethnography and discourse studies to analyse the everyday actions and practices of programme officials and caregivers. This study demonstrates that officials legitimise and translate the PMT instrument, separate individuals from families, and constitute them as objects for governmental intervention to achieve efficiency and cost-effectiveness. The re-categorisation of family members into households ‘outside’ of everyday sociocultural relations and practices is contested and resisted, creating a complex system of power relationships around the PMT.&nbsp;</p> Dennis Puorideme Copyright (c) 2020 Dennis Puorideme 2020-12-07 2020-12-07 7 1 28 41 10.7146/claw.v7i1.123249 The Language of Destructive Cults <p>Destructive cults are the most notable damaging religious groups in society where leaders convince their followers to engage in destructive acts. Examples of such cults include Peoples Temple led by Jim Jones and Heaven’s Gate led by Marshall Applewhite who convinced their followers to commit mass suicide. Previous research into destructive cults has mainly focused on their social-psychological development. This research breaks new ground by examining the patterns of linguistic features in the sermons of destructive cults indicating the characteristics of their language using keyness analyses. The main data sets are the sermons of Jim Jones and the sermons of Marshall Applewhite in the period leading to mass suicide. As a benchmark, these sermons were compared to the sermons of Billy Graham and the sermons of Rick Warren, leaders of mainstream religious groups. The findings show that the language of destructive cults based on the sermons of the leaders upholds extreme non-religious ideologies that cannot be found in the sermons of mainstream religious groups. The styles of their language focus on othering, intensifying, elaborating, and negating with the aim of controlling their followers. The results may allow destructive cults to be identified before damaging events occur.</p> Raymund T. Palayon Richard Watson Todd Sompatu Vungthong Copyright (c) 2020 Raymund T. Palayon, Richard Watson Todd, Sompatu Vungthong 2020-12-07 2020-12-07 7 1 42 58 10.7146/claw.v7i1.123251 Advancing a Baradian perspective on the field of identity work <p>Conceptualizing identity in processual terms as identity work has long been acknowledged within the broad field of critical management and organization studies. However, recent studies show that the process by which identities evolve is still under-explored. Although extant research has considered how discourse and other symbolic means play a part in this process, this article expands such perspectives by foregrounding the relationality of discourse-materiality in identity construction processes. Using the example of an empirical analysis taken from a case study within education in Denmark, the author examines the process of identity construction by considering the ways in which discourse-materiality works to perform identities. The author combines insights from new materialist thinking with organizational discourse studies in the development of an analytics to approach the process of identity construction – coined as identity intra-activity. In doing so, the article demonstrates how an informal middle-management positioning of selected teachers is performed within its organization. By advancing the notion of identity intra-activity, the findings enable an understanding of identity work as materialized by multiple discursive-material and embodied resources – &nbsp;all enacted in/through the teachers’ practices – creating a petri dish for examining the co-constitutive role of discourse-materiality and enabling new ways of thinking about identity work.</p> Maria Hvid Dille Copyright (c) 2020 Maria Hvid Dille 2020-12-07 2020-12-07 7 1 59 72 10.7146/claw.v7i1.123252 Mimicry and artistry <p>Many public organizations think of themselves as brands and engage in branding to increase their attractiveness. Often this is seen as a good practice, but this paper takes a more skeptical view and interrogates the value of place branding expertise for public organizations. Through observation of a place branding conference, drawing on some principles from ethnomethodology, this paper provides clues to what the place branding profession constructs as “good” and legitimate expertise and the norms that guide their work. We identified two levels of legitimate place branding expertise: Mimicry and Artistry. Mimicry signifies imitation of already institutionalized ideas and practices, and proficiency in supplying beautiful yet detached and superficial representations of cities. Artistry refers to place branding that stands out as brilliant and inventive, encompassing unexpected play with symbols and creative combination of branding models. We argue that both these levels of expertise may be at odds with civic values of city government such as inclusion and representativeness. Our study concludes that the ways in which the branders construct expertise risks deflecting attention from the core problems of a place or a city and separating place branding from city management practice.</p> Jon Bertilsson Jens Rennstam Katie Sullivan Copyright (c) 2020 Jon Bertilsson, Jens Rennstam, Katie Sullivan 2020-12-07 2020-12-07 7 1 73 85 10.7146/claw.v7i1.123253 Employee representations of customer harassment and its causes in self-reported tales <p>In this paper we explore the potential qualities of the processing and sharing of instances of verbal and behavioural harassment experienced by employees in their interactions with customers. The data originates from a study of an internet forum where employees from customer-oriented job functions share their experiences of troublesome interactions with customers. 1859 tales and 2932 responses have been analysed using content analysis and descriptive statistics. The study focused on mapping 1) the character of the incidents experienced, 2) the employees’ perceptions and representations of possible causes of the incidents, 3) the content and character of the solutions presented, 4) the emotions displayed, and 5) the received responses. In this article we limit our focus to the findings relating to the character of the experienced incidents and the representation of possible causes of the incidents and use these findings to discuss the potential qualities of the experience processing. We argue that the experience processing displays both positive and negative qualities. Among the positive qualities are; a potential for authenticity stemming from the events being self-experienced, continuity, equal access, reflexivity and diminishing of self-blame. Among the negative qualities are; some conditioning by gender socialization, traces of narrowmindedness and individualization founded in attribution biases, some problematic stereotyping and rare instances of self-blame.</p> Thomas Borchmann Bendt Torpegaard Pedersen Copyright (c) 2020 Thomas Borchmann, Bendt Torpegaard Pedersen 2020-12-07 2020-12-07 7 1 86 99 10.7146/claw.v7i1.123257 A Socio-technical-cultural System Perspective to Rethinking Translation Technology in Intercultural Communication <p>As technology has radically changed language translation in the age of globalization, the research on translation technology should not only benefit current research on translation of languages but also have a long-term positive impact on technology in the sociocultural context. The focuses of this paper are twofold. Firstly, it discusses how translation technology drives the changes in intercultural communication that bring both bright and dark sides. Secondly, it explores how translation technology’s involvement and interaction with human translator in practice of language translation from a socio-technical-cultural system perspective. Based on the discussion, this paper particularly addresses human translator’s collaboration with translation technology should be regarded as a cultural mediator helping to realize successful intercultural communication; and meanwhile, the human translator’ s subjectivity should be highlighted, and translation technology’s cultural design should be explored in order to improve usability that further brings benefits to the future cultural mediator.</p> Mei Li Chunfang Zhou Lars Bo Henriksen Copyright (c) 2020 Mei Li, Chunfang Zhou, Lars Bo Henriksen 2020-12-07 2020-12-07 7 1 100 110 10.7146/claw.v7i1.123259 (Counter-)Narrating European integration <p>In order to maintain social standards within the European Union, trade unions have to overcome national differences to form common political positions. Especially against the background of the recent enlargement rounds, the crafting of such positions has become a daunting task. In this context, the European Services Directive has posed an important challenge to trade unions: The so-called ‘country of origin principle’ implied that workers were supposed to be employed in line with the standards of the sending- and not the receiving country. After lengthy discussions between representatives from Eastern and Western Europe, the trade unionists managed to form a joint political line and forced the European Commission to remove the principle. In order to challenge the hegemonic neoliberal narrative of the common market bringing freedom and prosperity to the countries of Europe, the article will show how the counternarrative of a European Social Model served as a reference frame for this joint position.</p> Martin Seeliger Copyright (c) 2020 Martin Seeliger 2020-12-07 2020-12-07 7 1 111 122 10.7146/claw.v7i1.123263 Working and knowing in technology-mediated environments <p>Comprehensions of how technology-mediated environments work are marked by a lack of theoretical sophistication about how expertise emerges and develops. Using a practice-based approach to workplace learning and knowing, a case of telecardiological consultation is discussed, where a dedicated call center works by connecting general practitioners (GPs) with remote cardiologists. The service allows GPsto send electrocardiogram traces (ECGs) and discuss the needs of patients with a cardiologist. The role of materials (ECG traces, the recording machine, infrastructure), and communication (synchronous communication in the form of a phone call) are considered in the practical application of the service. It is argued that being an expert telecardiologist entails the ability to align heterogeneous elements, and co-construct, a reliable interpretation of the patient’s situation alongside a doctor. To do that when the situation is not immediately clear, necessitates both doctors discursively mobilize different bio-physiological, chemical, material, social and psychological aspects of a patient’s condition, in order to arrive at a reliable interpretation. Thanks to a practice-based sensitivity, I analyze the case study reading these interactions as competent material-discursive practices.</p> Laura Lucia Parolin Copyright (c) 2020 Laura Lucia Parolin 2020-12-07 2020-12-07 7 1 123 135 10.7146/claw.v7i1.123265 An autoethnographic inquiry into the emergence of new forms and ways of organizing <p>This paper employs analytic autoethnography within a previous life in an organization and within social science to explore the emergence of new forms and ways of organizing in a new venture that was launched as a branch in an emerging market by an international non-for-profit organization. It responds to extant scarcity of knowledge about internal organization of entrepreneurial ventures as most of research about internal organization of firms comes from the research on large established organizations. In the early stage of new venture emergence, entrepreneurs shall be aware of the interplay between: understanding the new venture socio-politically and cognitively through unsophisticated uncertainty; timing of acquiring socio-political and cognitive legitimacy through legitimation temporaling; shared and non-shared understanding of the value (problem) of the new venture through disguised and true value theorizing; dependent and independent organization through diversifying funding sources; and headquarters and branch visions and missions through dominant logic crisis.</p> Romeo V. Turcan Copyright (c) 2020 Romeo V. Turcan 2020-12-07 2020-12-07 7 1 136 153 10.7146/claw.v7i1.123267