ERIC Number: ED200047
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Sep
The Secretary as an Information Resource.
Wynn, Eleanor Herasimchuk
The purpose of this study was to learn something about information-transmission procedures in offices. It was hypothesized that certain kinds of information and communication activities have particular properties, and that some of these activities are best pursued in face-to-face communication situations. Natural conversations involving an executive secretary were taped for a total of six hours on two different days. The conversations were analyzed interpretively to find out what was talked about. One new conception of verbal communication derived from this project was that office conversation provides for the existence of a "diffuse information system," that is, a flow of trivial commentary which is, in fact, the bearer of information about the office. The communications included: (1) locating people and things, (2) conversations mixing personal and office-related topics, (3) state of affairs information, and (4) facilitating activities and encouraging people. The data indicate that the sociability of office work is useful to the transmission of certain kinds of information and to the execution of some activities. Also, face-to-face conversation seems to be more useful than written or computerized communications for providing and interpreting certain types of information. (AMH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Southwest Educational Development Lab., Austin, TX.
Note: In its Working Papers in Sociolinguistics, Number 78, p1-25 Sep 1980. Small print may be marginally legible.