Social interactions can be mediated through language or more precisely “linguistic acts” (Klein & Huynh, 1999). Researchers have suggested that the analysis of language acts and communicative practices involved in collaboration brings a deeper understanding on the collaboration processes (Cecez-Kecmanovic & Webb, 2000).
There are three major linguistic acts occurring in team processes: those addressing subject matter and topic of discussion, addressing norms and rules to organize and direct the process of interaction, and those addressing personal experiences, desires and feelings (Cecez-Kecmanovic & Webb, 2000). These are known as task-related acts, norms and rules acts and socio-emotional acts respectively. Members communicate with one another to explore subject matter. They may express their opinions, seek clarification, or even argue with one another on subject-related issues. When dispute occurs, members may discuss norms and rules guiding their interaction and their work process. Members may also share their personal views, experiences, or attitudes towards the cooperation and relationships during the collaboration process.