Discourse and Communication 14 (2):150-174 (2020)

The article discusses leadership enactment in medical emergencies. We draw on video recordings of simulated obstetric emergencies and investigate how senior clinicians ‘do being’ the leader discursively in the spatiomaterial context of the emergency room. We take an interactional analysis approach, combining conversation analysis and interactional sociolinguistics and look specifically into the ways in which professional roles do interactional control using directives and questions in the material space of the obstetric room. We discuss this interactional performance in relation to the clinical performance of the teams. Our analysis shows that leadership in medical emergencies is multimodally achieved; professionals draw on discursive strategies, the affordances of material space, body and gaze orientation, which build on each other and converge in indexing leadership. Our findings highlight the situated nature of negotiating responsibility, illustrating that leadership in our context is claimed, projected and resisted discursively. We provide a typology of the functions of questions in the emergency encounter, and close the article by foregrounding the implications of our study and providing directions for further research.
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DOI 10.1177/1750481319890390
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