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ERIC Number: ED451573
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Feb
Pages: 32
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
"Venting" in the Workplace: An Ethnographic Study among Resident Assistants.
Burchard, Brendon
The term "venting" has been used interchangeably with negatively-connotated words like "outburst,""bitching,""complaining," and with more functional words like "disclosing." A literature review of venting showed that researchers have approached the term from multiple perspectives. Because of the ambiguity of what venting is or is not, why it is done or not done, and whether or not there are benefits, a study sought to identify the patterns of communication that could be referred to as "venting" in a particular speech community--the workplace. The context for studying venting is a university residence hall, and the communication is between resident assistants or advisers (RAs), who live on the floor with other students and whose main duties are to foster an atmosphere for academic, social, cultural, and emotional growth in the residence. The majority of the data collected came from observations made in the back office of the workplace and extensive interviews with RAs. Ten formal, structured interviews were conducted along with twice as many informal interviews. Data were collected only when RAs vented to other RAs. Several of D. Hymes's "Speaking" components were used as a filter for observation. Past research on venting can be categorized into two viewpoints, the "container perspective" and the "control valve perspective." The importance of this study is that it helps bridge the two perspectives through observable and accounted data meaningful to participants. Findings suggest that venting has multiple ends and is not confined to either perspective, rather it has characteristics applicable to both views. (Contains 28 references.) (NKA)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A