From Tyler Cowen's book: Discover Your Inner Economist: Use Incentives to Fall in Love, Survive Your Next Meeting, and Motivate Your Dentist:
Here is the bitter truth: in the medium and long run, apparently inefficient meetings bring workplace rewards and penalties to life. Meetings help us invest in our self-images as cooperators rather than scofflaws. Meetings also give people the social context they need to behave in line with those incentives.
Along these lines, meetings can send information about status. Who speaks? Who didn't show up? Who found it necessary to praise whom? We can learn the inside workings of a workspace—or confirm our suppositions—by observing its meetings. A workplace with no meetings will suffer from confusion and social ignorance. Productive people must first have enough knowledge to orient themselves in the social setting of the workplace.