Document Type


Date of Original Version



Communication Studies


This paper, using participant observation methodology, analyzes a 4-hour meeting held among delegates of a large religius organization in Taiwan. The analysis focuses how a participant wields the social power of seniority in decision-making process. Five components of decision-making proposed by Kume (1985) are used as the framework of analysis. The findings extend Chen and Starosta’s (1997-8) argument that although seniority, as the locus of power and authority in Chinese society, is normally used to reinforce and perpetuate Chinese cultural values, it might be abused for gaining personal interests. The abuse of senior power, as this case study shows, leads to the paralysis of decision-making process. Applications and limitations for this kind of research are also discussed.