One of the first exercises we did at the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium was to try and get an idea of the diverse interests in and approaches to meetings. People proposed various aspects and I (as the facilitator) jotted them down on the whiteboard. I can’t say that I did apparticularly good job in clustering things in any systematic way, and these kinds of collectively and incrementally produced drawings are even more difficult to make sense of for outsiders,but, for what it’s worth, here it is:
One division that didn’t come up here was that between participants who identified as meeting scientists and those who study meetings because they are a convenient source of data on other processes. At various times this seemed like a salient divide, to the point that twice I had people ask of my talk (and paper) on decisions about state violence, what’s the relevance of this to meetings? – which I bet some found strange as 3/4 of my data came from meetings. As I said during the Q&A, I strike more of a balance in my book on the Cuban missile crisis (see esp. pp. 52-61) but wonder if someone more firmly on the we-care-about-meetings side of things could explain why the particulars of meetings matter for what happens in meetings and what comes out of them.
It’s definitely a soft-ball question, as we say: an invitation to someone on the meeting science end of things to explain why people who study meetings more casually, for the sake of convenience, need to think hard about the meeting format (rules, etc.) as such.