Ways of communicating effectively in spoken English, using technology, in a virtual globalized context have received little attention from applied linguists. The role of language in synchronous computer-mediated discourse (CMD) used in virtual teamwork is now emerging as a key area of research concern in business management and information technology disciplines. This article uses linguistic frameworks, most particularly critical discourse analysis (CDA) and systemic functional linguistics (SFL), in particular appraisal analysis, to demonstrate how interpersonal meanings may create dominance, power and solidarity within a sample of a virtual team management meetings. Focusing on one manager case study, we investigate how language is used, consciously or unconsciously, to dominate and close down discussion with his colleagues. We first present the key findings from a turn-taking analysis and then present, through the application of appraisal analysis, how this manager opens or contracts the space available for others to participate. By revealing how power and control unfold through this analysis, the findings may lead to an enhanced self-awareness among all members in virtual teams and reveal how language plays a crucial role in engaging members during a meeting, or in this case, disengaging them.
- Appraisal analysis, power and dominance, systemic functional linguistics, virtual team management