The Use of a Multi-Perspectival Research Model for a Discourse Study of M&A Commercial Law Practice

Anthony Townley


This article reports on the use of a multi-perspectival research model to produce a comprehensive ontology of legal negotiation discourse. The different, overlapping research perspectives of the “MP model†oblige the researcher to deploy a variety of analytical tools to account for the complexity of social discourse activities. In this study, I analysed legal documents, email communication and discourse practices pertaining to the negotiation of a Mergers-and-Acquisitions (M&A) transaction, in English, across different European jurisdictions. My research process also involved site visits to a law firm in Istanbul to obtain grounded explanations from lawyers involved in this M&A negotiation process. The MP model enabled me to coordinate analyses of the written corpus with the ethnographic research findings to produce richly contextualized explanations of a wide range of discursive practices and of the interactional roles and relationships of the legal and business professionals involved in the negotiation process.


multi-perspectival research model, M&A commercial law practice, contract negotiation, discourse analysis, genre analysis

Full Text:



Bakhtin, M. M. (1981) The Dialogic Imagination. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Bhatia, A., & Bhatia, V. K. (2011). Discursive illusions in legislative discourse: A socio-pragmatic study. International Journal for the Semiotics of Law, 24(1), 1-19.

Bhatia, V. K. (1993). Analysing Genre: Language Use in Professional Settings. London: Longman.

Bhatia, V. K. (2002). Applied genre analysis: A multi-perspective model. Iberica, 4, 3-19.

Bhatia, V. K. (2004). Worlds of Written Discourse: A Genre-Based View. London: Continuum.

Bhatia, V. K. (2008). Genre analysis, ESP and professional practice. English for Specific Purposes, 27, 161-174.

Bhatia, V. K. (2010). Interdiscursivity in professional communication. Discourse & Communication, 21(1), 32-50.

Breeze, R. (2014). The discursive construction of professional relationships through the legal letter of advice. In R. Breeze, M. Gotti, and C. Sancho Guinda (Eds.), Interpersonality in Legal Genres (pp. 280-302). Bern: Peter Lang.

Bremner, S. (2008). Intertextuality and business communication textbooks: Why students need more textual support. English for Specific Purposes, 27, 306-321.

Candlin, C. N. (1987). Towards task-based language learning. In C. N. Candlin and D. F. Murphy (Eds), Language Learning Tasks (pp. 5-22). Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall International.

Candlin, C. N. (1999). How can discourse be a measure of expertise? Unpublished address. International Association for Dialogue Analysis, Symposium: Expert Talk. University of Birmingham, April 8th-10th, 1999.

Candlin, C. N. (2002). Alterity, perspective & mutuality in LSP research and practice. In M. Gotti, D. Heller & M. Dossena (Eds.), Conflict & Negotiation in Specialized Texts (pp. 1-19). Bern: Peter Lang.

Candlin, C. N. (2006). Accounting for interdiscursivity: challenges to professional expertise. In M. Gotti and D. Giannoni (Eds.), New Trends in Specialized Discourse Analysis. (pp. 21-45). Bern: Peter Lang.

Candlin, C. N., & Candlin, S. (2002). Discourse, expertise, and the management of risk in health care settings. Research on Language and Social Interaction, 35(2), 115-137.

Candlin, C. N., & Crichton, J. (2011). Discourses of Deficit. Basingstoke: Palgrave McMillian.

Candlin, C. N., & Hyland, K. (Eds). (1999). Writing Texts, Processes and Practices. London: Longman.

Candlin, C. N., & Maley, Y. (1997). Intertextuality and interdiscursivity in the discourse of alternative dispute resolution. In B. L. Gunarsson, P. Linnel & B. Nordberg (Eds.), The Construction of Professional Discourse (pp. 201-222). London: Longman.

Candlin, C. N., Crichton, J., & Moore, S. (2017). Exploring Discourse in Context and in Action. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Cicourel, A. V. (1987). The interpenetration of communicative contexts: Examples from medical encounters. Social Psychology Quarterly, 50(2), 217-226.

Cook, G. (1989). Transcribing infinity: Problems of context presentation. Journal of

Crichton, J. (2004). Issues of Interdiscursivity in the Commercialisation of Professional Practice: The Case of English Language Teaching. Unpublished Doctoral Thesis, Macquarie University, Sydney.

Crichton, J. (2010). Discourses of Commercialization: A Multi-perspectived Analysis. London: Palgrave McMillan.

De Fina, A. (2009). Narratives in interview: The case of accounts. For an interactional approach to narrative genres. Narrative Inquiry, 19(2), 233–258.

De Fina, A., & Georgakopoulou, A. (2008). Analysing narratives as practices. Qualitative Research, 8(3), 379-387.

Devitt, A. (1991). Intertextuality in tax accounting: Generic referential and functional. In C. Bazerman & J. Paradis (Eds.), Textual Dynamics of the Professions: Historical and Contemporary Studies of Writing in Professional Communities (pp. 336-357). Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

Engeström, Y. (1999). Innovative learning in work teams: analysing cycles of knowledge creation in practice. In: Y. Engeström, R. Miettinen and R. L. Punamäki-Gitai (Eds.), Perspectives on Activity Theory (pp. 377-406). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Fairclough, N. (1989). Language and Power. London: Longman.

Fairclough, N. (1992). Discourse and Social change. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Geertz, C. (1973). The Interpretation of Cultures. New York: Basic Books.

Goffman, E. (1959). The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Doubleday Anchor.

Haspeslagh, P. C., & Jemison, D. B. (1991). Managing Acquisitions: Creating Value through Corporate Renewal. New York, NY: Free Press.

Hocking, J. (2010). The discursive construction of creativity as work in a tertiary art and design environment. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice, 7(2), 235-255.

Jensen, A. (2009). Discourse strategies in professional e-mail negotiation: A case study. English for Specific Purposes, 28(1), 4–18.

Koerner, J. (2014). The M&A process revisited – Identifying a suitable phase model. Mendel University Research Paper.

Levinson, S. C. (1979). Activity types and language. Linguistics, 17, 365-399.

Orlikowski, W. J., & Yates, J. A. (1994). Genre repertoire: Norms and forms for work and interaction. MIT Sloan School Working Paper 3671-94: Center for Coordination Science Technical Report, 166.

Pablo, A. L., Sitkin, S. B., & Jemison, D. B. (1996). Acquisition decision-making processes: The central role of risk. Journal of Management, 22(5), 723–746.

Phillips, N., & Hardy, C. (Eds). (2002). Discourse Analysis: Investigating Processes of Social Construction. London: Sage.

Pinto dos Santos, V. B. M. (2002). Genre analysis of business letters of negotiation. English for Specific Purposes, 21, 167- 199.

Pragmatics, 15, 1–24.

Putnam, L. L. (2005). Discourse analysis: Mucking around with negotiation data. International Negotiation, 10, 17-32.

Riessman, C. K. (2003). Narrative Analysis. London: Sage.

Riley, P. (2012). Jonathan Crichton: The discourse of commercialization: A multi-perspectived analysis. Applied Linguistics, 33(2), 220–222.

Roberts, C., & Sarangi, S. (1999). Hybridity in gatekeeping discourse: Issues of practical relevance to the researcher. In S. Sarangi & C. Roberts. (Eds.), Talk, Work and Institutional Order: Discourse in Medical, Mediation, and Management Settings (pp. 473–503). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Sacks, H. (1992). Lectures on Conversation. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Sacks, H., Schegloff, E. A., & Jefferson, G. (1974). A simplest systematics for the organization of turn-taking for conversation. Language, 50, 696–735.

Salus, N. P. (1989). Public relations before and after the merger. Bottomline, 6, 47–49.

Sarangi, S. (2000) Activity types, discourse types and interactional hybridity: The case of genetic counselling. In S. Sarangi and M. Coulthard (Eds.) Discourse and Social Life (pp. 1-27). London: Pearson.

Sarangi, S. (2005). The conditions and consequences of professional discourse studies. Journal of Applied Linguistics 2(3), 371-394.

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

Sarangi, S. (2008). The conditions and consequences of professional discourse studies. Journal of Applied Linguistics, 2(3), 371–394.

Sarangi, S., & Roberts, C. (Eds.). (1999). Talk, Work and Institutional Order: Discourse in Medical, Mediation, and Management Settings. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Sokolova, M., & Szpakowicz, S. (2006). Language patterns in the learning of strategies from negotiation texts. In L. Lamontagne & M. Marchand (Eds.), Canadian AI, LNAI 4013 (pp. 288–299).

Swales, J. M. (1990). Genre Analysis: English in Academic and Research Settings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Swales, J. M. (2004). Research Genres: Explorations and Applications. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Talmy, S. (2011). The interview as collaborative achievement: Interaction, identity, and ideology in a speech event. Applied Linguistics, 32(1), 25-42.

Tiersma, P. M. (1999). Legal Language. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Townley, A. R. (2019). A pivotal interactional role to oversee contract negotiation activity: Insights into a key interdisciplinary legal-business practice. Discourse & Communication, 13(2), 228–248.

Townley, A. R. (2021) The intertextual nature of embedded email communication for contract negotiation activities. Text & Talk. An Interdisciplinary Journal of Language, Discourse & Communication Studies 41(4), 1860-7330

Townley, A. R. (in press). The use of discourse expertise to control the provision of legal services and establish discursive hegemony in commercial law practice: a case study from Europe. International Journal of Legal Discourse.

Townley, A. R., & Jones, A. (2016). The role of emails and covering letters in negotiating a legal contract: A case study from Turkey. English for Specific Purposes, 44, 68-81.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2022 Journal of Applied Linguistics and Language Research