Transcendental and Material Silence: A Multimodal Study on Silence in Team Meetings

Saintot, Valérie M ORCID: 0000-0001-6535-4852 and Lehtonen, Miikka J (2024) Transcendental and Material Silence: A Multimodal Study on Silence in Team Meetings. Journal of Management Inquiry, 33 (1). pp. 62-76. doi:10.1177/10564926231155110

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Silence in management and organization studies has been predominantly understood as something negative. However, recent examples have highlighted silence as a positive element in learning and organizing. We contribute to prior literature on positive silence and multimodality by arguing silence can operate as a semiotic mode that mobilizes resources for meaning-making. Ten team meetings in a financial organization in Europe were investigated. Visual ethnography was mobilized to gather data through interviews, observations, and photographs. Our analysis identified two types of silence—transcendental and material—that both function through three mechanisms to resemiotize meaning. A framework is presented to situate silence in relation to verbal and visual modes. Three contributions are made to studies on silence and multimodality: extended conceptualizations of silence, silence as a semiotic mode in itself, and methodological pathways for studying silence. In addition, practical implications for team meetings and silence in the workplace are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Additional Information: The Journal of Management Inquiry is sponsored by the Western Academy of Management.
Uncontrolled Keywords: materiality; multimodality; silence; verbal communication; visual artefact
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business
H Social Sciences > HG Finance
H Social Sciences > HG Finance > HG4001 Finance management. Business finance
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Business, Computing and Social Sciences
Research Priority Areas: Applied Business & Technology
Depositing User: Anne Pengelly
Date Deposited: 08 Mar 2023 14:34
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2023 10:15

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