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ERIC Number: ED307623
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989-Mar
Pages: 24
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Conflict and Capitulation: A Bakhtinian Analysis of a Failed Collaboration.
Cross, Geoffrey A.
To help business writers and writing teachers think more specifically about problems of writing collaboration, a study examined and analyzed a group writing project in the Auldouest Insurance Company (pseudonym) Department of Corporate Communication. The collaborative writing of the two page executive letter of the company's annual report involved a 77-day production process, exceeding its deadline by six weeks. Data collection included: fieldnotes from participant observation (six to eight hours daily for 100 working days); audiotapes and transcriptions of 10 executive-letter editing sessions; research process log; oral interviews (43 taped and transcribed); personal documents (meeting notes and drawings); and official documents (external and internal reports and communication). Analysis revealed that the finished letter largely ignored important audiences, including the company's policyholders. Several forces, identified by M. M. Bakhtin in "Discourse in the Novel," acted upon the writing process. Centripetal forces, which unify and centralize the verbal ideological world, included time constraints and a "get-along" attitude. Centrifugal forces, which push toward fragmentation of language through specialization into dialects and discourse communities, included serial communication, the personal nature of the document, and different perceptions of the audience. Convertible forces--those acting as either or both centripetal and centrifugal--included the hierarchical distribution of power and the lack of clear directions. Analysis revealed that the interplay and shifting alignment of numerous socially rooted forces may determine the outcome of group-writing endeavors. (One figure, four tables of data, and 38 references are attached.) (MM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A