Title: Not beyond the tipping point: restrained emotions and the functionality of business meals in consultancy

Authors: Yvette Taminiau; Enny Das; Liselore Berghman; Yuri Fangman

Addresses: Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Organisation Sciences, VU University Amsterdam, De Boelelaan, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands. ' Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Communication Science, VU University Amsterdam, De Boelelaan, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands. ' Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Organisation Sciences, VU University Amsterdam, De Boelelaan, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands. ' Synovate, KoninginWilhelminaplein 2–4, 1062 HK Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Abstract: This paper explores the importance of business meals in shaping boundaries in informal contacts, through in-depth interviews with consultants. Building on the sociology of food and embodiment, we propose three concepts as being important to understanding food mediating mechanisms: liminality, subtlety and similarity. One of the remarkable findings is the apparent contradiction that pops up in the process of breaking boundaries between consultants and clients. Consultants aim to reduce social boundaries, but not entirely, because they fear reaching a certain |tipping point|, or the point in the relationship where the informal contact is not beneficial to the professional relation.

Keywords: consultant-client relationships; informal client contacts; liminality; embodiment; unconscious persuasion; food; business lunches; informal contacts; consultants; subtlety; similarity; professional relationships; restrained emotions; consultancy.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWOE.2011.044595

International Journal of Work Organisation and Emotion, 2011 Vol.4 No.2, pp.158 - 177

Received: 08 May 2021
Accepted: 12 May 2021

Published online: 30 Dec 2011 *

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