Journal of Technical Writing and Communication vol:44 issue:3 pages:227-249
The we-form has been analyzed in different theoretical frameworks and domains. Researchers point to the complexity of first person plural pronouns: not only can they refer to different participants in a communicative situation, but they can also be used to avoid other referential forms. In organizational discourse, however, transparency is of the utmost importance to ensure efficient communication. Based on the minute analysis of 3700 we-forms in a corpus of internal communications documents, we developed a framework for the interpretation of the we-form. Thirteen (con)textual and situational identifiers of different kinds are discussed and illustrated. In some cases the interpretation of the we-form is indicated by a single identifying element, in other cases a combination of identifying elements strengthens the interpretation.