A1 Journal article (refereed)
On the participatory agency of texts : using institutional forms in performance appraisal interviews (2021)

Lehtinen, E., & Pälli, P. (2021). On the participatory agency of texts : using institutional forms in performance appraisal interviews. Text and Talk, 41(1), 47-69. https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2019-0121

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsLehtinen, Esa; Pälli, Pekka

Journal or seriesText and Talk



Publication year2021

Publication date30/09/2020


Issue number1

Pages range47-69

PublisherMouton De Gruyter

Publication countryGermany

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessNot open

Publication channel open access

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/72015


rawing on studies of the performative effects and agency of texts in organizations, the paper investigates how the agency of texts figures through their participatory status in interaction. The empirical data for the study consist of video-recorded performance appraisal interviews in a Finnish public organization in which the interaction relies heavily on an appraisal form. The data are analyzed through a sequential analysis that draws on multimodal conversation analysis and ethnographic knowledge. The analysis shows that the human participants orient to three different acts that are inscribed in the textual document: 1) presenting demands for the participants; 2) offering topics for the discussion as well as perspectives from which those topics should be discussed; and 3) suggesting conventional ways of progressing in the interaction. Furthermore, the material and the semiotic facets of textual documents are shown to be systematically related in that specific orientations to the material aspect of the paper form entail specific orientations to the semiotic content. The study sheds light on the subtle ways through which the distributed, albeit dissymmetric, agency of human and non-human participants is constructed, and on how texts are treated as more or less authoritative in face-to-face interaction.

Keywordstextual researchdocumentsforms (documents)interactionhuman agencyassessment discussionconversation analysis

Free keywordsconversation; interaction; organizational texts; textual agency; performance appraisal interviews

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2021

JUFO rating3

Last updated on 2024-22-04 at 16:30