Structure, complexity and cooperation in parallel external chat interactions
This article examines structure, complexity and cooperation in external chat interactions at the workplace in which one of the participants is taking part in multiple parallel conversations. The investigation is based on an analysis of nine chat interactions in a work-related context, with particular focus on the content of the parallel time spans of the chat interactions. The analysis was inspired by applied conversation analysis (CA). The empirical material has been placed at my disposal by Kristelig Fagbevægelse (Krifa), which is Denmark’s third-largest trade union. The article’s overall focus is on “turn-taking organisation as the fundamental and generic aspect of interaction organisation” (Drew & Heritage, 1992, p. 25), including the use of turn-taking rules, adjacency pairs, and the importance of pauses. Even though the employee and the union members do not know one another and cannot see, hear, or touch one another, it is possible to detect an informal, pleasant tone in their interactions. This challenges the basically asymmetrical relationship between employee and customer, and one can sense a further level of asymmetry. In terms of medium, chat interactions exist via various references to other media, including telephone calls and e-mails.
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