Our team of researchers has analysed the data recorded at workplaces included in our study, to identify distinctive features of workplace talk. Our research has shown repeatedly that there is no one simple definition of effective workplace communication. Skilled communicators use a variety of strategies depending on who they are talking to and what they are talking about. For example, the most direct way of getting a message across is not necessarily the most effective. Repetition, small talk, and humour play an important part in communication.

Applied Linguistics

What are the practical implications of research on workplace language for speakers of English as a second language? How can the findings be used in literacy and supported employment programmes?

CED Model

An introduction to the Communication Evaluation and Development (CED) model developed by members of the LWP team.

Cultural Identity

Do people from different cultural backgrounds have different styles of interaction? If so, what implications does this have for communication in multicultural workplaces? How do people's personal characteristics contribute to their professional identity?


How do managers get their team members to do things in the workplace? What different strategies do they use? How do skilled communicators vary their strategies depending on who they're talking to and the kind of context they are working in?


How is the use of email changing workplace communication? What changes, if any, are we seeing in conversational norms as a result of email? Is email accepted and used equally by all levels of staff in organisations? How does email style relate to workplace culture through the use of language?


What is the function of swearing in the workplace? Is it always a negative thing?


Is it true that men and women speak a different language? Do female managers necessarily act differently from their male counterparts?


Is there a place for humour in the workplace? What kind of humour occurs in different workplaces and why do people use it? When and where is humour most likely to occur?


What discourse strategies do managers use to keep team members on target and encourage a productive environment? What does the language of negotiation sound like?

Māori Leadership

What is Māori Leadership and what does it mean for a business? What patterns appear among Māori Leaders that contrast to Pākehā?


How are different kinds of workplace meetings structured? What discourse skills are involved in running an effective meeting? What is the most effective method of problem-solving in a meeting context? What is the chair's role in managing meeting talk?


How is the identity of 'mentor' enacted in New Zealand workplace settings? Does mentoring interaction in the New Zealand context conform to the default American 'sponsorship' model, or is a different model more appropriate to the ways New Zealand mentors use language in formal mentoring meetings?


What causes miscommunication in the workplace? How can we analyse instances of miscommunication to help prevent them happening again? How do people prevent or repair misunderstanding?


How are the stories that we tell important features of workplace communication?

Nursing and Healthcare

How do the speech interactions between nurses and patients define the nature of their roles as care providers? How can we analyse these interactions?

Small Talk

Does small talk have any part to play in effective workplace communication? When is it used and why? Is it different in different workplaces?

Workplace Culture

Do workers create the culture of their workplace? If so, how? How does this affect the way they work? Do all workers play an equal part in creating the community of the workplace? Should they? The study of 'communities of practice' within the workplace environment is an important area of sociolinguistic research in this field.