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The Discourse of all.department e-mails - a case study

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This paper is based on an explorative case study of all.department e-mails that were sent on the Intranet of a Danish university department. Following a social constructionist approach, our analysis assumes that language use shapes relations, identities, and representations. We thus investigate which social relations are expressed and constructed in the e-mail discourse and how the organizational world of the department is represented in the all.department e-mails. Our analyses of the e-mails show that the managerial voices are dominant as well as the perception of e-mail communication as a tool of information transmission. However, a few e-mails sent by employees without specific organizational functions differ significantly from the "managerial" mails. In these mails employee voices articulate a latent and unfulfilled need for a community and a forum for dialogue. The usage of the all.department e-mail communication is also related to the ongoing change of managing university departments in Denmark.

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Karl-Heinz Pogner, Anne-Marie Søderberg

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