Venting in the Workplace: An Ethnographic Study among Resident Assistants.Report as inadecuate

Venting in the Workplace: An Ethnographic Study among Resident Assistants. - Download this document for free, or read online. Document in PDF available to download.

The term "venting" has been used interchangeably with negatively-connotated words like "outburst,""bitching,""complaining," and with more functional words like "disclosing." A literature review of venting showed that researchers have approached the term from multiple perspectives. Because of the ambiguity of what venting is or is not, why it is done or not done, and whether or not there are benefits, a study sought to identify the patterns of communication that could be referred to as "venting" in a particular speech community--the workplace. The context for studying venting is a university residence hall, and the communication is between resident assistants or advisers (RAs), who live on the floor with other students and whose main duties are to foster an atmosphere for academic, social, cultural, and emotional growth in the residence. The majority of the data collected came from observations made in the back office of the workplace and extensive interviews with RAs. Ten formal, structured interviews were conducted along with twice as many informal interviews. Data were collected only when RAs vented to other RAs. Several of D. Hymes's "Speaking" components were used as a filter for observation. Past research on venting can be categorized into two viewpoints, the "container perspective" and the "control valve perspective." The importance of this study is that it helps bridge the two perspectives through observable and accounted data meaningful to participants. Findings suggest that venting has multiple ends and is not confined to either perspective, rather it has characteristics applicable to both views. (Contains 28 references.) (NKA)

Descriptors: Communication Research, Ethnography, Higher Education, Interpersonal Communication, Organizational Communication, Qualitative Research, Resident Advisers, Speech Acts

Author: Burchard, Brendon


Related documents