Accounts as a politeness strategy in the internal directive documents of a business firm in Hong Kong

Kenneth C.C. Kong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this paper, the frequency, semantic type and sequencing of accounts in internal company emails with directive elements are examined. It is found that subordinates justify most frequently when they make requests to their superiors, while managers tend to justify their requests to their subordinates more frequently than peers justify requests among themselves. The latter finding is attributed to the dilemma that is faced by modern institutions of controlling workers to accomplish institutional goals on the one hand, and allowing individuals to work as autonomous workers on the other hand. Nevertheless, managers, when requesting their subordinates, tend to use more accounts that are not typically associated with justification for action or accounts that are in line with the ideology of control and regulation. The sequencing of accounts is argued to be the result of a number of factors, including coherence, agent reference and the relationship between addressor and addressee.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-101
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Asian Pacific Communication
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes

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Bibliographical note

Author wish to thank the Hong Kong Baptist University for their generous support to my research project on which this paper is based (Faculty Research Grant # FRG/03–04/I–32).

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