DICOEN9 (22-24/06/2017)

Dicoen9 conference


The 9th international conference on Discourse, Communication and the Enterprise aims to promote and foster interaction between those interested in discourse and communication in organisational settings, and follows a series of successful conferences (Lisbon 2001, Vigo 2003, Rio de Janeiro 2005, Nottingham 2007, Milan 2009, Hong Kong 2011, Beijing 2013 and Naples 2015).

The focus of this conference is “From Theory to Application”: it aims to encourage scholars, educators and professionals to think about ways research can inform practice in business and organizational communication, either by offering a lens for the critical exploration of organizational processes or to cultivate effective communication practice(s). 

papers submission

Download the FINAL* programme here.

*as much as we would like to stick to this, please be aware that this is subject to change

Book of Abstracts

Download abstracts here.

LIBRI Lunch, Saturday 24/06

Download invitation here.

Thursday 22/06/2017

1. Dr Stephanie Schnurr (University of Warwick): From theory to application and back again. What does this mean for leadership research and practice?

2. Dr Walter Giordano (Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Naples): Neutrality vs prudence: a  dilemma in financial reporting disclosure.

Over the past 15 years, financial reporting has become a hot issue with regard to the interpretation of writing principles both at national and international level. This has happened following the appearance of a supranational regulation on financial statements (International Accounting Standards and International Financial Reporting Standards), aimed at aligning information to be used by stakeholders and investors respectively. Unsurprisingly, language takes on a key role of conveying different interpretations of financial results. In this talk I look at how semantic devices like hyperonymy, hyponymy, metaphors, metonymy may play a crucial role in  the representing reality in a number of possible ways, and importantly how they may affect investors and other stakeholders’ business decisions.

‘Meet the editor’

In the afternoon we will host three editors: they will introduce their journals and share practical tips about their readership and submission. Following the introduction, DICOEN attendees will have a chance to meet the editors and discuss any questions they might have about the publishing process. 

Our guests: 

Friday 23/06/2017

Dr Nicci MacLeod and Prof. Tim Grant (Centre for Forensic Linguistics, Aston University):
Assuming identities online: theories of linguistic identity and supporting online investigations. 

Saturday 23/06/2017

Peter Daly and Dennis Davy (EDHEC Business School, France): What makes a winning elevator pitch? Insights from linguistics, rhetoric and discourse analysis.

Peter Daly

Peter Daly 

Dennis Davy

Dennis Davy

Mastering the 2-minute elevator pitch is a key skill required of anyone who has an idea to sell in a business context. But what makes a pitch successful? An innovative product or service, of course, along with crucial linguistic, rhetorical and organisational features that help the pitcher to persuade the ‘catchers’ (such as bosses and venture capitalists) to invest in it.

This plenary is divided into three parts. First, we present the findings of a multi-dimensional analysis of a corpus of winning pitches from the BBC’s ‘Dragons’ Den’ series, highlighting the canonical linguistic characteristics, rhetorical devices and typical discourse structure identified. Then, we present the results of an analysis of a corpus of English pitches made by French entrepreneurs. After the identification and categorisation of typical mistakes of grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation, an error-gravity experiment was carried out; when a panel of native and non-native English-speaking ‘judges’ (including language teachers, businessmen and businesswomen) were asked to rate the relative gravity of the grammatical, lexical and phonological errors they noticed, yielding a wide range of attitudes vis-à-vis the seriousness of particular errors.

We conclude the session by providing research-based practical advice on how individuals can improve their pitching skills and how instructors/coaches can help those in their charge to avoid the common pitfalls and to produce more effective and convincing pitches, in which they manage more efficiently the impression they make on their audience.


Conflict and teamwork

Convenors: Sophie Reissner-Roubicek,Thomas Greenaway, Carolin Debray

Conflict is a normal and even necessary part of working in teams: it’s even claimed to be creative and productive, and the so-called diversity of perspectives that team members from different backgrounds bring to a project is said to be a particular strength in the global workplace. Workplace teams are often assembled so as to represent different viewpoints and knowledge bases, which makes the ability to disagree, argue, and negotiate with each other a critical skill for team members. This skill is usually learnt the hard way by students working on team projects at university (and sometimes not learnt at all!). Our panel delves into this important topic by drawing on different kinds of data collected from meetings, interviews and questionnaires. We approach it from several angles – starting with the problems reported by students and their attitudes to teammates, going on to explore the ups and downs of communication in the life of particular team projects (with examples of conflict in various forms both face-to-face and online), and concluding with a snapshot of graduate answers to job interview questions where talking about conflict is a way to demonstrate employability. Conflict is not only an opportunity for learning (Rolih 2013), it provides us with crucial material to articulate our teamwork skills to employers, which underlines the importance of reflecting on our own and each other’s attitudes and behaviours while actually working and communicating in teams. This is a key issue in graduate learning, and it has practical and theoretical implications for the global workplace. Find out what it means for practitioners and share your own insights at the concluding panel discussion on the applications of our research!


  1. Xiaozhe Cai & Joelle Loew: My culture train me not to be aggressive’: The mutual construction of conflict and identity in postgraduate accounts of groupwork 
  2. Carolin Debray: ‘I wish we had argued more’: The impact of conflict avoidance on task and relationships in multinational teamwork 
  3. Thomas Greenaway: Using Stimulated Reflection to better understand student perceptions of conflict in teamwork projects   
  4. Sophie Reissner-Roubicek: ’A story of conflict up your sleeve’: Talking about teamwork in graduate job interviews 
  5. Panel discussion: Applications for practitioners 



Convenors: Mercedes Díez Prados and Antonio García Gómez

Two score and seventeen years ago Jacobson (1960) developed his model of the functions of language, among which one was called conative, commonly known as persuasive. Any form of communication is persuasive insofar as it attempts to influence people’s behaviour and thinking. Taking into consideration that this desire is the main perlocutionary effect (Austin, 1976) of persuasion (Pullman, 2013), this linguistic function is, no doubt, pervasive in the language-at-work context. Persuasion relies on an array of linguistic and non-linguistic strategies, such as lexico-grammatical choices, patterns of interaction, argumentative and rhetorical strategies, and other verbal and non-verbal signs. This panel presents a number of studies dealing with persuasion at different work places and media, and focusing on various strategies, including some address to Aristotle’s persuasive appeals of ethos, logos, and pathos. The combination of research methods from rhetoric, discourse analysis, cognitive linguistics, social and discursive psychology brings the special flavour of this panel. This also highlights the importance and challenges raised by the deployment of persuasive strategies in different online and offline contexts, both in English and in Spanish. 

Come see us! We guarantee a very persuasive collection of 20-minute presentations, followed by a 10-minute slot for comments and questions. You don’t need to speak Spanish since all presentation will be in English and language samples translated, if needed.


  1. Antonio García Gómez: Business discourse and Reality TV: Social influence tactics, persuasion and control   
  2. Mercedes Díez Prados: Persuasion at work: the case of the elevator pitch   
  3. Avelino Corral Esteban & Margarita Vinagre Laranjeira: Persuasion in virtual collaboration: An analysis of CMC interaction
  4. Teresa Corrales: Building ethos in Secondary School Students: younger social entrepreneurs at work   
  5. Silvia Molina Plaza: Planned persuasion in Engineering Websites: Multimodal strategies and reasoned demonstration   
  6. Dolores Porto Requejo & Isabel Alonso Belmonte: Persuasive strategies in newsbites: a preliminary analysis from a socio-cognitive perspective  
  7. Ana Belén Cabrejas: The evaluative function of lexis in persuasive entrepreneurship discourse: a contrastive analysis in Dragons’ Den and Tu Oportunidad   


Professional knowledge and ethos building in contested fields: the construction of reputation in emerging/controversial industries and professions
Convenors: Giuliana Garzone  and  Paola Catenaccio

The aim of the panel is to explore the discursive practices and the rhetorical approaches adopted by organisations and professionals to construct for themselves a credible image and reputation in contested or emergent fields/domains (e.g. those involving biotechnological/genetic manipulation, artificial reproduction techniques, environmentally objectionable behaviours, sustainable production and consumption, honest product promotion, etc.).

A key notion in this respect is that of ethos as defined in Aristotelian rhetoric, where it indicates the image of him/herself which an orator builds in discourse in order to persuade an audience. 

In professional/corporate domains, an important role as a source of ethical appeal in the construction of professionals’ and organizations’ reputation is played by specialized knowledge, which is displayed and relied on to achieve ‘persuasion by character’.

In particular, in this panel the focus is on how linguistic and discursive resources associated with specific professional knowledge and expertise are used in the construction of reputable personae through rhetorical engagement with both context(s) and audience(s) in controversial or contested fields/professions. 


  1. Cheryl Holden, University of Manchester: Persuasion in business networking: Aristotelian ethos building in action
  2. Paola Catenaccio, Università degli Studi di Milano: Bioethics and GM crops – decoupling risk from ethics? A study of ethical engagement in corporate agribiotechnology discourse
  3. Giuliana Garzone, Università degli Studi di Milano: Commercial surrogacy organizations’ websites: rhetorical strategies for reputation construction
  4. Dermot Heaney, Università degli Studi di Milano: Slipping off the moral high ground: The Case of British Cycling, Team Sky and the mystery package

The panel will feature 20 minute presentations (three before the coffee break and one after it) followed by a round table discussion focusing on methodological approaches for the study of ethical aspects in corporate communication, with the participation of other researchers.


LIBRI Panel on Business Discourse and Professional Communication: From Theory to Practice
Convenors: Almut Koester and Ursula Lutzky

Soft skills are widely recognised as being essential in a knowledge economy. Language and communication are key components of such skills; therefore research on language, discourse and communication in professional and workplace settings should offer valuable insights to practitioners. The last few decades have seen a proliferation of such research involving a range of approaches, including genre theory, discourse and conversation analysis, corpus analysis and critical approaches. However, despite the wealth of relevant findings, linguistic-based research on business and professional communication has so far had relatively little impact on the understanding and practice of soft skills in the workplace. This has been dominated by psychologically inspired approaches, for example through ‘how to’ and self-help books, that do not accurately reflect the complexities of language and discourse in context. 

The aim of the panel is to propose ways of bridging the gap between research and practice in business, professional and workplace discourse and communication. Questions which the panel aims to address include:

  • What can we learn about business and professional communication by focusing on language and discourse?  
  • How can researchers translate their findings so that practitioners can implement them? 
  • How can scholars engage and reach out to colleagues in other disciplines?


  1. Elisabeth Barakos: Discourses and practices of multilingual language workers 
  2. Carolin Debray: Language diversity in multinational teamwork – Implications for power, perception of competence, performance and well-being 
  3. Kristina Pelikan: Monolingual writing - exercise of power? Collaborative writing in international research partnerships 
  4. Kyoungmi Kim: How (socio-)linguistics works in workplace research: Working towards ‘transdisciplinarity’ 
  5. Ursula Lutzky: 'What is the point in this Twitter account #unhelpful'. An approach to enhancing customer communication on Twitter 
  6. Anne Murphy: Talking power: women’s experiences of workplace conversations 

Structure of the Panel: 

  • Introduction
  • Individual presentations
  • Discussion and Round-up


There will be a few minutes for questions after each presentation. Participants are asked to save longer questions or comments for discussion at the end of the panel. 

Expected Outcome: to identify possible trajectories for narrowing the ‘gap’ between research and practise in business, professional and workplace discourse and communication

The panel will be followed by an open meeting (light lunch provided courtesy of Critical Inquiry into Society and Culture) to discuss the future plans for the LIBRI initiative. All welcome. 

LIBRI - Linguists for Business Research Initiative 
LIBRI is an international network of linguists collaborating to promote excellence and to further cross-disciplinarity of research into the role of language and communication in business and organisational settings. Founded in 2007, the network aims to strengthen the ties between university departments conducting research into language and communication in business and/or organisational settings. LIBRI encourages staff mobility and joint research projects.


Abstract submission deadline 27 January 2017 (Please note that we do not intend to extend the abstract submission deadline)
Acceptance by 6 March 2017 (Please let us know if you need to apply for a visa to enter the UK and we will try to notify you earlier)

Deadline for Early bird registration 7 April 2017  

Our programme slots are 30 minutes long, but presentations are strictly 20 minutes.  
There will be 5 minutes for questions and 5 minutes for changeover.

Panel sessions should include a minimum of 3 papers and a discussion/round table session. The papers within the panel should cohere. Panel organizers are welcome to invite discussants and encourage audience participation in the discussion. Panel slots will be decided on an individual basis. 

There is a PC, screen and/or projector in all session rooms. However, to help with the running of the sessions: 

  1. Delegates are kindly requested to upload their power point presentation during the breaks prior to their talk, and not during room change.
  2. Delegates presenting on Thursday are requested to upload their power point upon arrival in the morning. Please enquire at registration desk
  3. You do not need your own computer as AV facilities are standard in our rooms (including sound). If you would like to use MACs please make sure you bring your VGA display adaptors, though we strongly encourage you to bring a copy of your work in PC compatible form.


Birmingham, UK

Aston is ideally situated for all the Second City has to offer in culture, shopping and entertainment. You can listen to world-class music at Symphony Hall, explore the unique collection of Pre-Raphaelite art at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, and enjoyclassic and contemporary drama  at the newly-refurbished Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Or why not visit the recently opened Library of Birmingham, voted Britain's favourite new building.

Birmingham is famous for its Bull Ring Shopping Centre, and is also home to exciting markets and the dazzling Jewellery Quarter. It has a great food scene, including Birmingham's Balti Triangle, and a wide range of eating options in the beautiful canal area. Conference accommodation is in the new Aston Conference Centre, within easy reach of all the conference events.  

Getting here

The SAGE Best Early Career Presentation Award 

Students and those within their first 2 years of their professional or academic career can apply to be considered for this award. The organising committee will choose the winner based on how how well the presentation addresses the conference theme, how logical and convincing is the content and how engaging is the delivery. If you wish to be considered for this award (and fit the bill for our Early Career definition) please tick the relevant box during the registration or send us an e-mail to dicoen2017@aston.ac.uk
The prize is a £75 book voucher from SAGE.

The SAGE Best Presentation Award 

Nominations for the Best Presentation award will be taken throughout the conference at the registration desk. Following the conference closing, all delegates will be asked to vote by leaving their name tags in the box of the presentation they liked the best. The prize is a £75 book voucher from SAGE.

Sage Publishing  Logo
Sara Miller McCune founded SAGE Publishing in 1965 to support the dissemination of usable knowledge and educate a global community. SAGE publishes more than 950 journals and over 800 new books each year, spanning a wide range of subject areas. Our growing selection of library products includes archives, data, case studies and video. SAGE remains majority owned by our founder and after her lifetime will become owned by a charitable trust that secures the company’s continued independence. Principal offices are located in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Washington DC and Melbourne.

Association for Business Communication Logo
Association for Business Communication is an international learned society established in the 1930s. It has an international membership from academia and practice, drawing members from such fields as organisational studies, management, marketing, TESOL, communication and linguistics. The association promotes excellence in teaching, contributes to the increase in knowledge within the discipline, and aims to enrich business communication classes to better prepare students, and consequently to improve the quality of communication in the workplace.

Centre for Critical Enquiry into Society and Culture Logo
Centre for Critical Enquiry Into Society and Culture (CCISC) is an innovative research centre that builds on the extensive expertise of Aston researchers by bringing together linguistic, social, cultural, economic, environmental, political, management and marketing perspectives.

Eating out
Friday evening we are planning to have an informal dinner at one of Birmingham’s famous restaurants. If you would like to join us, please tick the relevant box during registration or drop us a line at dicoen2017@aston.ac.uk. Payment on the spot. 

Positively Birmingham Walking Tour
Positively Birmingham Walking Tour

We are sorry but this tour has been cancelled due to lack of interest. 

The Discourse, Communication and Enterprise (DICOEN) conference series aims to promote and foster interaction between those interested in discourse and communication in organisational settings. 

The link between communication, language and the professional world has now become more prevalent than ever before. Linguistic awareness and communication skills are much needed in business, but also in healthcare, in legal settings, in for-profit and non-profit organisations, and in all areas or organisational life, from leadership and management to public relations and social media.

Research addressing discourse, communication and the role of language in organizational contexts is burgeoning — but it is scattered across a range of disciplines.  Remaining within the confines of the various scholarly traditions has two major implications, however. Firstly, it prevents the cross-fertilisation of ideas, and prevents research from gaining full momentum. Secondly, it prevents the scholarly developments and research findings to make their way into teaching and training, whether it concerns communication in the professions, business communication or management curricula.

Therefore, DICOEN9 aims to bring together academics, practitioners and professionals, and provide them with a shared forum to:

  • Enable the convergence of ideas from a range of academic disciplines (including, but not limited to organizational and management studies, discourse analysis, communication studies, teacher education, forensic linguistics, social psychology, anthropology) and professional practice from marketing and branding to HR, from professional communication training to business language education and ESP.
  • Encourage scholars to articulate the functional aspect of their research: for example how it can lead to the (teaching of the) critique of social processes, or how it can be utilised for the cultivation of good communication practice(s).
We invite 20-minute presentations and panel discussions both from academics interested in professional, business and organizational communication and discourse research, as well as professionals and practitioners to share their relevant language/communication experiences. 

Abstracts which address the conference theme will be particularly welcome.


To submit your abstract please follow the steps below:

  1. Click on ‘Submit papers' button above.  Then click on 'create an account’ to register with the system. You will be sent an e-mail to confirm your account registration.  Click on the link to confirm the account, allowing you to proceed to the next stage of the submission process.
  2. Go back to the abstract submission page, log in to the submission system and start the submission process by clicking on the 'New Submission' tab.  An e-mail confirmation of receipt of abstract will be sent to you immediately. Your contact details will be included in the book of abstracts unless you opt out during the submission process.

 If you are unable to submit your abstract online, contact dicoen2017@aston.ac.uk


  • 300 words maximum (references are discouraged) 
  • Do not use any special fonts, such as bold print or caps (italics fine)  
  • Do NOT add tables, photos, or diagrams to your abstract  
  • Do NOT indent your paragraphs, leave one space between paragraphs instead
  • Please prepare a blinded abstract (i.e. do not refer to your own work as your own)

Abstract type
Indicate the type of abstract that you are submitting during the submission process:

Individual presentation for parallel sessions
Individual papers have 25 minutes:

  • 20 minutes for the presentation
  • 5 minutes for questions

Panel introduction and individual papers within the panel must be submitted separately, due to technical constraints. The organiser of the panel should first submit the colloquium title and introduction along with an overview of paper titles in the panel (max 450 words). The paper abstracts of the panel should then be submitted by the the individual authors  entitled "Paper X of panel title: paper title" followed by the abstract (max 300 words per abstract). Authors should  tick the checkbox “Panel" when prompted. Panel slots will be allocated according to needs and should contain a minimum of three papers and an discussion/round table session.

Panel papers should cohere. The order of the papers should not be changed after acceptance.

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