Utvecklingssamtal mellan chefer och medarbetare : undersökning av en samtalstyp i arbetslivet

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


This dissertation is an investigation into Swedish “utvecklingssamtal”, i.e. a kind of annual, re-curring staff development talk. The investigation consists of four empirical analyses. The first analysis concerns the situational context. The second analysis concerns the structure of the talks, the content and informal organisation. In the third analysis, I have worked quite closely to the theoretical framework described in Fairclough (1989, 1992, 1995), analysing text (talk) and discourse practice in terms of vocabulary, grammar, cohesion, text structure, speech acts, coherence and intertextuality. Finally, the fourth analysis concerns how the participants have grasped the interaction in the talks and the consistency in their evaluations compared to the results from my other analyses. I have studied four naturally occurring “utvecklingssamtal” in both the public and the private sector of working life. The talks have been audio- and videotaped, and then transcribed.

The results show that the talks are asymmetric and one-sided. The superiors are the strongest on both global and local level of interaction. They introduce and close the talks, summarise, conclude and write down their agreements. They set the agenda, ask questions and give advice. The sub-ordinates follow the agenda, answer the questions and listen to the advice. In most topics, the focus is on the subordinates – the work they are involved in, their working conditions, and their experiences and points of view – more seldom on the superiors. However, this asymmetry and one-sidedness is often not distinguished by any of the participants: after the talks they characterise the interactions as equal and reciprocal.

The definition of the acitivity type given by Engquist (1990), indicates that the talks involve discussions about goals and means for work in a mutual interaction. The present study shows that these elements must be seen as optional in the activity type: in the talks investigated there is hardly any planning, and goals are not formulated at all. Furthermore, the mutual interaction can only be found on the surface with talking and listening participants, whereas under the surface, a conversation pattern covering relations of power with the superior as the dominating participant and the subordinate as the dominated can be found.


  • Maria Lindgren
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Languages and Literature


  • semiotics, semantics, Grammar, Lingvistik, critical discourse analyse, staff development talk, IR-profile, interaction, situational context, content, organisation, text, discourse practice, back-channelling, discourse pattern, conversational style, Linguistics, conversationalisation, syntax, Grammatik, semantik, semiotik
Translated title of the contributionStaff Development Talk between Managers and Co-Workers : Investigation into an Activity Type in Working Life
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date2001 Mar 2
  • Inst. för nordiska språk, Lunds universitet
Print ISBNs91-628-4605-1
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2001-03-02 Time: 10:15 Place: Inst. för nordiska språk, sal Kock External reviewer(s) Name: Londen, Anne-Marie Title: Prof. Affiliation: Helsingfors, Finland --- The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Swedish (015011001)