Structuring deference and solidarity in a manager-expatriate employee dyad in the context of changing communications media within the Mennonite Central Committee

Thumbnail Image
Brotheridge, Celeste M.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
The present study joins studies of the relationship between structure and technology (Barley, 1986) and computer mediated communications (Orlikowski, 1992; Orlikowski & Robey, 1991; Orlikowski, Yates, Okamura, & Fujimoto, 1995; Poole & DeSanctis, 1992; Yates, Orlikowski, & Okamura, 1999) in drawing from structuration theory (Giddens, 1984) as a framework for understanding how the introduction of new communication media serves as a junctural structuring event (Poole & DeSanctis, 1992) that fundamentally influences the order of discourse as reflected in existing interaction patterns (Fairclough, 1993; Schwarz & Brock, 1998). In particular, the present study examines the effects of changes in communications media on hierarchical communications within manager-employee dyads in an international organization using politeness theory as its analytical framework. This study samples the ongoing communications between managers located in North America ('the Africa Desk') and their direct reports (the Country Representative) in the Chad operation of the Mennonite Central Committee, an international aid and peace organization, as the medium of their communications changes from couriered letters to facsimiles and, finally, to electronic mail (e-mail).