The work is the talk

Collaboration and power in tertiary language advisory practice




workplace communication, language and power, professional identities, language advisory work, academic literacies, meeting talk, critical discourse analysis


The field of workplace communication has grown in the past 20 years to encompass the negotiation of identities and the role of power in collaboration. Nonetheless, identity struggles at work remain an underexplored phenomenon, particularly for emerging or marginalised professional groups such as tertiary language and learning advisors (TLAs) in higher education. In this article, we explore how challenges encountered in collaboration between TLAs and content specialist academics (CSs) in an Australian tertiary setting can impact the negotiation of professional identities as well as the success of the work. We draw on transcripts of meeting talk from two novice TLAs as they negotiate collaborative work with one CS in a postgraduate subject, and we use critical discourse analysis to demonstrate how power discursively manifests in the meetings. The study sheds new light on the complexities of collaborative work, manifested through interactions, in hierarchical professional environments.

Author Biographies

  • Vittoria Grossi, Deakin University, Melbourne

    Dr Vittoria Grossi
    Team Leader, Student Academic & Peer Support

  • Caroline Wright-Neville , Deakin University, Melbourne

    Caroline Neville-Wright
    Language & Learning Advisor, Student Academic & Peer Support


  • Laura Gurney , University of Waikato

    Dr Laura Gurney
    Senior Lecturer, Te Kura Toi Tangata School of Education




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