Language represents the medium through which we encounter reality and can be viewed as a human social action (Holtgraves 2002). In this study, we apply speech act theory to analyze the data collected in a study by Trauth and Jessup (2000) and demonstrate that GSS can be an effective tool for diagnosing the social life of an organization. Our linguistic analysis confirms previous research findings that both the topic and the group size influence the pattern of discussion, especially when issues are threatening. In addition, when GSS is applied to such an issue, linguistic analysis helps to uncover hidden defensive speech routines. Identifying the speech acts of GSS discussions may therefore complement positivist and interpretive analysis by examining if participants’ engagement is superficial or profound, if consensus is reached or blocked, and if certain speech acts lead to dysfunctional organizational learning. Taken together with Trauth and Jessup (2000)’s study, we show that social realities revealed in GSS discussions are multi-dimensional and that, by adopting a different research stance to better understand the role of GSS, a variety of research benefits may be derived.
Kuo, Feng-Yang and Yin, Chun-Po, "A Linguistic Analysis of Group Support Systems Interactions for Uncovering Social Realities of Organizations" (2009). ICIS 2009 Proceedings. 27.