The paradox of control in participative decision-making : gatekeeping discourse in banks

Lorrita YEUNG

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines how the question of control is resolved in participative decision-making where managers have to play the dual role of mediating control from the top and yet generating participation from the bottom for organizational change. For this purpose, the discourse patterns in participative meetings in two banks in Australia and three banks in Hong Kong were studied. This article analyzes how managers were engaged in gatekeeping, where "unobtrusive" control ( Tompkins and Cheney 1985) becomes obtrusive, in forms that are both subtle and unsubtle. The pragmalinguistic features of gatekeeping discourse follow patterns markedly different from discourse modes for facilitating participation from the bottom (Yeung 2004).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-104
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of the Sociology of Language
Issue number166
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2004

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