A1 Journal article (refereed)
The Use of Multimodal Resources by Technical Managers and Their Peers in Meetings Using English as the Business Lingua Franca (2020)

Räisänen, T. (2020). The Use of Multimodal Resources by Technical Managers and Their Peers in Meetings Using English as the Business Lingua Franca. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 63(2), 172-187. https://doi.org/10.1109/TPC.2020.2988759

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsRäisänen, Tiina

Journal or seriesIEEE Transactions on Professional Communication



Publication year2020


Issue number2

Pages range172-187


Publication countryUnited States

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessNot open

Publication channel open access

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/69655


Background: Engineers increasingly work and advance their careers in international business settings. As technical managers, they need management and technical skills when working with different stakeholders with whom they may not share a common first language. Studies have revealed that informal oral communication skills are of prime importance for global engineers who face challenges in building shared meaning and formulating clear messages in meetings with non-native speakers of English. This article proposes that studying the use of multimodal resources (spoken language, gaze, gestures, and objects) in meetings can unpack how work tasks are accomplished in business through different communicative strategies. Literature review: This paper focuses on engineers’ and technical managers’ needs and challenges in professional and intercultural communication where English is used as a business lingua franca (BELF) in multimodal meetings. While multimodal conversation and discourse analytic studies highlight the dynamic nature of meeting interaction, previous technical and professional communication and BELF research on multimodality is limited. Research questions: 1. How do technical managers use multimodal resources to articulate their ideas in BELF meetings with their peers? 2. How does the use of multimodal resources contribute to the construction of shared meaning in explanatory, consensus-seeking, and solution-finding communication? Methodology: This study reports on two case studies and multimodal discourse analysis of video-recorded meetings among technical managers and their peers in four companies. The use of multimodal resources is analyzed in explanatory, consensus-seeking, and solution-finding communication. Results and conclusions: In BELF meetings, assemblages of spoken language, gestures, tools, whiteboard, and documents contribute to constructing shared meaning. This study has implications for global professional and engineering communication. Future research should further examine multimodality in BELF meetings.

Keywordstechnical communicationoral language skillsverbal communicationoral communicationcommunicative skillsengineerstechnological fieldsinternational communicationfacial expressionsgesturesmultimodalitylingua francaEnglish language

Free keywordsengineering communication; English as a business lingua franca (BELF); gaze; gesture; meeting; multimodal discourse analysis; object; technical manager (TM); oral communication; linguistics; companies; task analysis; engineering profession; stakeholders

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Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2020

JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-22-04 at 13:38