Shaping managerial practice

How a supervising manager articulates her own embodied practices


  • Janet Brady Macquarie University



management, socialisation, teaching, learning, professional practice


Corporate leadership training programmes designed for first level managers generally include sessions on communication. However, these are often limited to themes such as performance management and influencing staff. Experienced first-level managers may also be responsible for developing novice managers yet they generally receive no training in the types of interpersonal and communicative skills that accompany this educational role. This paper asks how this educational role is performed in the workplace. Drawing on interactional data collected from one Global 500 organisation, the paper uses discourse analysis to identify the interpersonal skills and discursive resources deployed by one supervising manager as she prepares a novice for his new role and responsibilities. The paper also examines the supervising manager’s own self-reflexive discourse, exploring the characteristics that make her an effective ‘educator’. Finally, the paper represents the repertoire of discursive resources deployed by this supervising manager in her educational role as a two-dimensional communicative model to promote interest in discourse-based training and development, and to stimulate further research.

Author Biography

Janet Brady, Macquarie University

Janet Brady has spent the last twenty years working as a corporate consultant trainer and coach. She received her PhD in Professional Communication from Macquarie University, Australia. Her current research interests focus on how managerial practice is formed during goal-driven and task-based interactions in the workplace, and the discourses and discursive strategies embedded in these interactions.


Bakhtin, M. M. (1986) Speech Genres and Other Late Essays. (V. W. McGee, Trans.). Austin: University of Texas Press.

Billett, S. (1996) Towards a model of workplace learning: The learning curriculum. Studies in Continuing Education 18 (1): 43–58.

Bishop, A. and Scudder, J. (2001) Nursing Ethics: Holistic Caring Practice (2nd ed.). Boston: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Blanchard, P. N. and Thacker, J. W. (2007) Effective Training: Systems, Strategies and Practices (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ.: Pearson Education.

Charan, R., Drotter, S. and Noel, J. (2001) The Leadership Pipeline. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Chi, M. T. H. (1996) Constructing self-explanations and scaffolded explanations in tutoring. Applied Cognitive Psychology 10: S33–S49.<33::AID-ACP436>3.0.CO;2-E

Collins, A., Brown, J. S. and Holum, A. (1991). Cognitive apprenticeship: Making thinking visible Retrieved 8th January, 2010, from

de Oliveira, M. C. L. (2011) E-mail messaging in the corporate sector: Tensions between technological affordances and rapport management. In C. N. Candlin and S. Sarangi (eds) Handbook of Communication in Professions and Organisations, 387–406. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Eraut, M. (2000) Non-formal learning and tacit knowledge in professional work. British Journal of Educational Psychology 70: 113–136.

Goffman, E. (1967) Interaction Ritual: Essays on Face-to-Face Behavior. New York: Pantheon Books.

Grant, A. M. and Cavanagh, M. (2004) Toward a profession of coaching: Sixty five years of progress and challenges for the future. International Journal of Evidence-Based Coaching and Mentoring 2 (2): 1–15.

Grover, M. (2002) Priming students for effective clinical teaching. Family Medicine 34 (6): 419–420.

Halliday, M. A. K. (1994) An Introduction to Functional Grammar (2nd ed.). London: Edward Arnold.

Halliday, M. A. K. and Matthiessen, C. (2004) An Introduction to Functional Grammar (3rd ed.). London: Arnold Publishers.

Hill, L. A. (2003) Becoming a Manager: How New Managers Master the Challenges of Leadership. Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing.

Ibarra, H. (1999) Provisional selves: Experimenting with image and identity in professional adaptation. Administrative Science Quarterly 44: 764–791.

Macaulay, D., Ryan, L. and Eich, E. (1993) Mood dependence in implicit and explicit memory. In P. Graf and M. Masson (eds) Implicit Memory: New Directions in Cognition, Development, and Neuropsychology, 75–94. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.

Nonaka, I. and Takeuchi, H. (1995) The Knowledge-Creating Company: How Japanese Companies Create the Dynamics of Innovation. New York: Oxford University Press.

Nugent, P. and Abolafia, M. (2006) The creation of trust through interaction and exchange. Group & Organization Management 31 (6): 628–650.

Orth, C., Wilkinson, H. and Benfari, R. (1987) The manager’s role as coach and mentor. Organizational Dynamics 15 (4): 66–74.

Patterson, K., Grenny, J., McMillan, R. and Switzler, A. (2002) Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Reid, P. and Reid, T. (2003) Personal style and behaviours. Industrial and Commercial Training 35 (3): 94–98.

Ropo, A. and Parviainen, J. (2001) Leadership and bodily knowledge in expert organizations: Epistemological rethinking. Scandinavian Journal of Management 17: 1–18.

Rosiek, J. (2003) Emotional scaffolding: An exploration of the teacher knowledge at the intersection of student emotion and the subject matter. Journal of Teacher Education 54 (5): 399–412.

Sarangi, S. (2007) The anatomy of interpretation: Coming to terms with the analysts’s paradox in professional discourse studies. Text & Talk 27 (5/6): 567–584.

Schön, D. A. (1983) The Reflective Practioner: How Professionals Think in Action. Hants: Ashgate.

Sternberg, R. J., Wagner, R. K., Williams, W. M. and Horvath, J. A. (1995) Testing common sense. American Psychologist 50 (11): 912–927.

Swap, W., Leonard, D., Shields, M. and Abrams, L. (2001) Using mentoring and storytelling to transfer knowledge in the workplace. Journal of Management Information Systems 18 (1): 95–114.

Szulanski, G. (1996) Exploring internal stickiness: Impediments to the transfer of best practice within the firm. Strategic Management Journal 17 (Winter): 27–43.

Szulanski, G. (2000) The process of knowledge transfer: A diachronic analysis of stickiness. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 82 (1): 9–27.

Tannen, D. and Wallat, C. (1993) Interactive frames and knowledge schemas in interaction: Examples from a medical examination/interview. In D. Tannen (ed.) Framing in Discourse, 57–76. New York: Oxford University Press.

Tulving, E. (2002) Episodic memory: From mind to brain. Annual Review of Psychology 53 (1): 1–25.

Van Dijk, T. (2008) Discourse and Context: A Sociocognitive Approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Vygotsky, L. S. (1978) Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Zeus, P. and Skiffington, S. (2002) The Coaching at Work Toolkit: A Complete Guide to Techniques and Practices. Roseville: McGraw-Hill Australia.



How to Cite

Brady, J. (2013). Shaping managerial practice: How a supervising manager articulates her own embodied practices. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice, 8(3), 231–252.