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Article
Publication date: 6 May 2014

David A. Morand

The purpose is to show how actors' relative power or parity is dynamically instanced in discrete speech behaviors that are exchanged throughout everyday organizational…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose is to show how actors' relative power or parity is dynamically instanced in discrete speech behaviors that are exchanged throughout everyday organizational interaction.

Design/methodology/approach

Politeness theory, rooted in the dramaturgical theories of Erving Goffman, details a set of linguistic indices used to show regard for others' face. This conceptual paper draws on politeness theory to model the unfolding of power relations within face-to-face verbal interchange in organizations. The paper presents a number of propositions suggesting how power differentials (or parity) are reflected in a set of common speech behaviors used to defray threats to face throughout organizational interaction.

Findings

This article extends and applies politeness theory to organizations by exploring specific motives and linguistic outcomes of high and low power actors, describing the behavioral egalitarianism associated with organic organizations, and suggesting how the demand characteristics of face-to-face interaction create oligarchic tendencies that militate against the success of workplace participation. Politeness' role in the social construction of power, and in distortive processes within hierarchical communication, is also discussed.

Research limitations/implications

This paper enables researchers to understand the specific linguistic features associated with power-related roles, and it shows how the social distribution of certain speech behaviors is a function of power and dependency relations.

Practical implications

The findings provide managers a fine-grained understanding of how power affects speech, and an understanding of how such speech patterns may stymie attempts to stimulate organizational empowerment and employee voice.

Originality/value

Prior scholarship has neglected this most important topic.

Details

International Journal of Organizational Analysis, vol. 22 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1934-8835

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1996

David A. Morand

Training programs designed to enhance managerial effectiveness at cross‐cultural communication tend to be directed at specific target cultures. This paper argues that an…

Abstract

Training programs designed to enhance managerial effectiveness at cross‐cultural communication tend to be directed at specific target cultures. This paper argues that an etic approach, one based on universal variables that occur in every culture and that vary across cultures, comprises an important alternative. This paper reviews anthropological/sociolinguistic research on one universal variable, “politeness.” Politeness, or linguistic indirection used to show social consideration, is a crucial element of interpersonal communication in all human cultures, yet it has received little mention in the literature. Implications of politeness for managerial cross‐cultural communication are explored. The implications of a universalistic approach to cross‐cultural communication training are discussed.

Details

The International Journal of Organizational Analysis, vol. 4 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1055-3185

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2006

Dawn Lerman

Aims to examine consumer politeness, an interaction style that may prevent a dissatisfied customer from complaining about a negative service encounter, and seeks to…

Abstract

Purpose

Aims to examine consumer politeness, an interaction style that may prevent a dissatisfied customer from complaining about a negative service encounter, and seeks to determine the relationship between politeness and the propensity to engage in various types of complaining behavior.

Design/methodology/approach

Two surveys served to develop and validate a scale for measuring politeness and tested the relationship between consumer politeness and complaining behavior. The specific items for the politeness scale were developed based on the distinction between negative and positive politeness as described by politeness theory.

Findings

The results suggest an inverse relationship between politeness and complaining behavior. The studies also find that polite and impolite consumers do not necessarily engage in the same types of complaining behavior.

Research limitations/implications

In future studies, researchers may consider examining the conditions under which polite consumers do and do not voice complaints. Researchers may also consider investigating the possibility of a relationship between politeness and the opposite of complaining behavior, i.e. complimenting behavior.

Practical implications

Given that voice offers managers an opportunity to identify and then remedy problems, they should look for non‐threatening ways to encourage consumers to engage in this behavior. Managers may, for example, consider using positive politeness as a means for soliciting complaints.

Originality/value

This study introduces a sociolinguistic construct to help explain propensity to engage in complaining behavior. As such, it serves to identify and isolate one of the challenges managers face in addressing consumer complaints across a variety of service industries.

Details

Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 20 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0887-6045

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Article
Publication date: 19 October 2010

Jung‐ran Park, Guisu Li and Amy Burger

The purpose of this paper is to explore the communicative rituals of opening and closing manifested in e‐mail‐based Internet Public Library's (IPL's) online reference interaction.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the communicative rituals of opening and closing manifested in e‐mail‐based Internet Public Library's (IPL's) online reference interaction.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 400 transcripts comprising user queries and responses by IPL librarians are examined. The opening and closing elements are identified to examine the way in which IPL librarians and users construct social space; that is, communicate their interpersonal and affective stances during the course of seeking and offering information.

Findings

The results of data analysis show regular patterns of verbal and structural politeness indicators of opening and closing e‐mail discourse. Linguistic elements such as greetings and acknowledgement are included in all the sampled transcripts; i.e. a 100 percent occurrence. Closing rituals have a 95 percent occurrence of linguistic features such as acknowledgement and invitation for follow‐up. In contrast, there is a low occurrence of personalized openings through greeting by user name (26 percent). This lack of personalization also occurs in closings: personalized farewell through use of librarian name appears in only 8 percent of closings.

Research limitations/implications

The employment of the various politeness tactics in opening and closing reflects the librarian's attention and concern to user's information needs, interests and wants. Such communicative competence narrows social distance and brings forth close socio‐interpersonal space for interaction; this may, in turn, improve the overall quality of reference service. Research findings also indicate that more use of personal names may decrease the social distance between the librarian and user, resulting in increased solidarity and proximity.

Originality/value

The study provides new insights into linguistic politeness and the functions of address forms such as personal names with a view toward developing effective opening and closing rituals that contribute to the enhancement of virtual reference services.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 66 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 6 May 2021

Yousef Ibrahim al-Rojaie

This study attempts to identify and analyze the pragmatic functions of religious expressions, that is, invocations that include the name of Allah (God), in naturally…

Abstract

Purpose

This study attempts to identify and analyze the pragmatic functions of religious expressions, that is, invocations that include the name of Allah (God), in naturally occurring social interactions in Najdi Arabic, which is spoken in Central Saudi Arabia.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on the speech act theory and politeness model, an analysis of the data illustrates that religious expressions, in addition to their prototypical religious meanings and uses in everyday interactions, are employed to communicate a wide range of pragmatic functions.

Findings

These include signaling the end of a conversation, persuading, mitigating and hedging, showing agreement and approval, reinforcing emphasis, expressing emotions, seeking protection from the evil eye, conveying skepticism and ambiguity, expressing humor and sarcasm, and showing respect and honor. The embedded multifunctional dimension of religious expressions in the present data is interpreted as serving as a politeness marker with which speakers promote both positive politeness (by showing solidarity, claiming common grounds, and building rapport) and negative politeness (by reducing imposition and emphasizing personal autonomy).

Originality/value

This study further highlights the interplay between religion, culture, and language use in Najdi Arabic.

Details

Saudi Journal of Language Studies, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2634-243X

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2006

Amarjit S. Gill, Alan B. Flaschner and Mickey Shachar

The paper seeks to extend Coulter and Coulter (2002) findings regarding the impact of “person‐related” service characteristics (empathy, politeness, and similarity) and…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper seeks to extend Coulter and Coulter (2002) findings regarding the impact of “person‐related” service characteristics (empathy, politeness, and similarity) and “offer‐related” service characteristics (customization, competence, and promptness) by examining business client trust in their current bank service representatives based on the length of the relationships with their banks.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper tested the effects of the above variables by collecting data from small business owners in the transportation industry in British Columbia, Canada. Clients were surveyed as to their beliefs about and feelings toward their bank service representatives.

Findings

The findings in this paper demonstrate that all six factors are related to trust building in general, but the factors are more salient at different periods of the relationship with their banks. Customization was found to be of particular importance at “crucial” periods of time in the business life cycle.

Practical implications

The results in this paper demonstrate how relationship‐managers at banks can work toward the establishment of their clients' trust by emphasizing the attributes that meet their clients' respective and timely needs.

Originality/value

In this paper Coulter and Coulter (2002) documented that both “person‐related” and “offer‐related” service characteristics have an impact on trust. This study focused on and presents the relative importance of these characteristics in general and across various time periods in particular. The results uniquely demonstrate that the relative importance of the factors in building trust varies according to stages in the life cycle of the businesses.

Details

International Journal of Bank Marketing, vol. 24 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0265-2323

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Article
Publication date: 11 September 2007

Lynn Westbrook

The purpose of this study is to examine the use of formality indicators in chat reference interchanges within the context of politeness theory, with its corollaries of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine the use of formality indicators in chat reference interchanges within the context of politeness theory, with its corollaries of face‐threat and social relationship development.

Design/methodology/approach

This discourse analysis identifies the syntactic and content indicators and patterns of formality levels in a purposive sample of 402 chat transcripts (covering 6,572 minutes) from one academic year at a large, US, public university.

Findings

Syntactic formality markers include regular use of contractions, slang, sentence fragments, and non‐standard punctuation as well as limited use of acronyms and abbreviations with rare use of emoticons. Content‐based markers included apologies, self‐disclosure, and expressions of extreme need. Use patterns are related to the level of responsibility assumed by the librarian as well as the interview stages.

Research limitations/implications

A limited data source and potential coder bias are the two limitations of this study. The research implications point to the need for chat reference librarians to assume greater control of formality nuances in order to encourage a more effective search for the user.

Practical implications

The fundamentals of politeness theory, particularly in terms of formality indicators, should be incorporated into staff training and behavioral standards for reference librarians. While future research is needed to determine the most effective means of employing this theoretical construct, this study implies that a self‐reflective, culturally sensitive use of the nuances of formality can enhance the user's experience.

Originality/value

This study is the first to systematically examine formality indicators in the context of politeness theory. The use of two coders, a full academic year's worth of data, and a substantial sample provide great depth.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 63 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 8 February 2016

Jing Li, Bonnie Canziani and Yuchin Hsieh

The purpose of this study was to identify similarities and differences in US and Chinese subjects’ emotional responses to and perceptions of courtesy of simulated…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to identify similarities and differences in US and Chinese subjects’ emotional responses to and perceptions of courtesy of simulated English-language communication prompts.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected through a web-based stimulus administered on US and Chinese students. Subject responses to eye contact and smile images and a set of verbal expressions were measured on ratings of emotion and courtesy.

Findings

Smiling with direct eye contact and warmed-up verbal expressions were found to elicit a higher level of emotional response and were perceived as viable server politeness cues. US and Chinese participants had similar responses to facial and verbal prompts.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to understanding about service employee cues, such as courtesy, that can influence service quality in a cross-cultural tourism setting.

Details

Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes, vol. 8 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-4217

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Book part
Publication date: 17 November 2003

Tae sup Shim

Like the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Korean Internal Revenue Service (KIRS) has implemented many changes to improve customer satisfaction since 1999. However, the…

Abstract

Like the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Korean Internal Revenue Service (KIRS) has implemented many changes to improve customer satisfaction since 1999. However, the Customer Satisfaction Index for KIRS services was low when compared with that of private companies. Therefore, it is important that the KIRS identify which dimensions of its services have an impact on its customers’ satisfaction. In this regard, the objectives of this study are: (1) to categorize KIRS services into a smaller number of dimensions; and (2) to find which dimensions have a significant effect on customer satisfaction. Data were collected using questionnaires filled out by staff accountants in tax preparation firms in Korea, and 322 questionnaires were analyzed by structural equation modeling using LISREL. Analysis of data showed that the respondents evaluated KIRS services in terms of seven dimensions: Politeness, Service by Telephone/Fax, Accuracy/Quickness, Easiness of Requesting Services, Cleanness of Office, Accommodation, and Equitable Service. Therefore, the current approach of the KIRS, which has developed diagnostic tools without identifying the dimensions of its services, needs to be changed. Also, the three dimensions (Equitable Service, Politeness, and Accuracy/Quickness) had significantly positive impacts on customer satisfaction. This result implies that the KIRS may need to focus its efforts more on these three dimensions, rather than on all dimensions of its services. In addition, because of the similarities in the changes of the KIRS and those of the IRS, the findings of this study may be applied to improving some parts of the IRS.

Details

Advances in Taxation
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-065-4

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Article
Publication date: 11 April 2016

Matthew Tingchi Liu, Li Yan, Ian Phau, Andrea Perez and Min Teah

This study aims to investigate the main and interactive effects of three employee attributes, namely, employee friendliness, helpfulness and respectfulness, on customer…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate the main and interactive effects of three employee attributes, namely, employee friendliness, helpfulness and respectfulness, on customer satisfaction in Mainland China.

Design/methodology/approach

A 2 × 2 × 2 between-subjects experimental design enabled an eight-scenario study depicting a service experience manipulated by employee friendliness (high/low), helpfulness (high/low) and respectfulness (high/low).

Findings

It is found that the effect of respectfulness has the strongest impact on customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction generated by helpfulness is higher when respectfulness is high rather than low, while the interaction between helpfulness and friendliness is not found, even though helpfulness exerts a stronger effect than friendliness on customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction is also maximized when all three positive interpersonal attributes all jointly presented. Interestingly, the absence of respectfulness tends to trigger a negative effect, while the display of friendliness results in a positive effect.

Research limitations/implications

Beyond the joint positive effects on service outcomes, different interaction patterns reveal that the display of friendliness is desirable and beneficial to enhance interpersonal outcome. However, the communication of respect is crucial, and, as such, managers and employees need to strive for a good balance on how to demonstrate these behaviours in critical moments such as service recovery. The findings from relative and interactive effects of three employee attributes are new in the literature and provide significant theoretical and managerial contributions for both researchers and managers.

Originality/value

This study takes the first step in decoding the cultural meaning of employee attributes through integrating Chinese traditional philosophy, Li (i.e. politeness), into a specific service setting by examining its comparative effects with other attributes.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 50 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

Keywords

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