A discourse-based study of three communities of practice: How members maintain a harmonious relationship while threatening each other's face via email

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


This article discusses and compares the way the members of three communities of practice maintained a harmonious relationship with one another by managing rapport and performing relational work while threatening other members' face in making requests through emails. The three communities of practice differed from one another in terms of the aim and nature of their joint enterprise, cultural composition and size. The ways rapport was managed were revealed by examining the employment of linguistic strategies of expressiveness-restraint, the choice of rhetorical strategies, the blending of institutional, professional and personal discourses, and the inclusion of various rapport-building moves. The performing of relational work was approached by identifying those discursive elements whose absence would not have made the current situation any the worse for it. It is found that the three communities of practice demonstrated both similarities and differences in the way they managed rapport and performed relational work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-326
Number of pages28
JournalDiscourse Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • communities of practice
  • discourse
  • generic structure
  • interdiscursivity
  • rapport
  • relational work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Anthropology
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this