Over the two year course students will be required to complete the following modules:
Professional Communication at Work
The module explores language as it is used within the professional setting of work, focusing in particular on the crucial role played by discourse in people’s professional lives.
Through the employment of a variety of contemporary frameworks for examining discourse and communication strategies, including linguistic ethnography, interactional sociolinguistics and conversation analysis, students will have the opportunity to analyse communication as it is used in real-life professional contexts. The spoken and written interactions explored in the module will come from a wide range of occupational settings, including offices, factories, and healthcare and government institutions.
The module offers a practical and rich resource for the analysis of workplace talk. Students will have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the different communicative strategies involved in the establishment of rapport, decision-making and conflict management.
The module, thus, aims to address relevant and contemporary issues relating to language use at work, offering students with the chance to explore the role played by discourse in this important sphere of social life.
Effective Communication for Business Leaders
The module explores the interrelationship between language and leadership at work, shedding light on how leadership identities become enacted through discourse in a wide range of professional settings.
Using a variety of analytic methods and data sources, students will have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of different leadership styles and also different communicative means through which leadership is enacted through talk. Particular focus will be placed on topics such as: the delegation of tasks, negotiations and decision-making as well as conflict management and miscommunication.
The module draws upon real-life data and explores a number of socially-situated interactions, including face-to-face exchanges and written communication. By relying on such real-life instances of interaction, the module aims to provide students with an opportunity to explore the crucial role played by discourse in determining social and institutional affairs.
Intercultural Business Communication
The module investigates the multidisciplinary subject of intercultural business communication. With a growing proportion of business interactions in the world today taking place between people of diverse cultural backgrounds, it is important to identify and describe language use which may lead to misunderstanding and communicative breakdown.
The module highlights contemporary issues emerging from the field, exploring, for instance, the influence of context, new multi-media technologies and globalisation on communication in commercial domains and organisational environments. It covers a wide range of quantitative and qualitative approaches, examining how individuals and groups use spoken and written communication to get work achieved successfully.
The range of methodologies and analytical frameworks for interrogating business and organisational communication include: conversation analysis, corpus linguistics, critical discourse analysis, pragmatics and speech act theory, ethnography and genre analysis.
The module emphasises how the findings of communicative research can be practically applied in examining the intercultural workplace and other multicultural business interactions.
Language, Gender and Professional Communication
The module will examine the relationship between language and gender in professional communication, drawing on key approaches in the areas of discourse analysis, sociolinguistics and pragmatics. Using a variety of linguistic tools, students will analyse language as social practice in a range of spoken, written and computer-mediated contexts and in a variety of areas, such as business, politics, healthcare and the law.
The module explores contemporary issues, such as sexism in professional contexts and critically overviews theoretical paradigms on sex differences and gender stereotypes in the professions. Examples of topics to be covered are: Gender in workplace interaction, gender and leadership, intersections between gender, ethnicity and class, gender ideologies in the media, performativity and sexuality and finally misogyny and cyberhate in digital contexts. Students will be encouraged to combine theoretical thinking with hands-on analyses of authentic empirical data, including recent examples from (online) media. We conclude by reflecting on the practical consequences of the discipline in terms of how research can have a political impact on wider society and public policy.
Digital Communication for the Professions
Digital technologies are now central to the ways that most modern day organisations operate, and this influence continues to grow apace. Advancements in digital communicative technologies, particularly since the early 1990s, have enabled organisations of all types and sizes across the globe to communicate and actually ‘do’ business more effectively and efficiently. These technological developments, which range from text messaging and email, to blogging and mobile apps, have brought with them new styles of communication. Given the growing influence of digital technologies, not only in organisations but in society more generally, it is important to understand and indeed critique such technologies and the communicative styles that they produce.
This module explores the phenomenon of digital communication in professional contexts. It will introduce the communicative practices that take place over a variety of digital platforms (for example: telephone, email, websites, adverts, social media) across a rich array of professional domains (for example: call centres, online shopping, healthcare and even payday lenders!). We will ask (and answer) questions like: how do people use digital communications to communicate more efficiently at work? How do advertisers use language and image to target their adverts at particular online consumers? How do people create positive personal and professional identities when using social media? And what role do digital technologies play in enabling online anti-social behaviour (i.e. flaming, trolling and cyber-bullying)?
In answering these and other questions, this module will also introduce a range of flexible methodological and theoretical approaches that can be used to produce more sophisticated insights into digital communication across a variety of platforms and in more or less any professional environment. This type of close linguistic analysis, guided by these approaches and introduced throughout the module, can equip students with the analytical tools and knowledge to design and carry out their own investigation of professional digital communication. Moreover, this module has a strong focus on how such approaches might be applied in the real world to help modern day organisations to harness the potential (and avoid the some of the pitfalls) of digital technologies in their own communication.
The above is a sample of the typical modules that we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and information is provided for indicative purposes only.