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 editors: Lehtinen, Esa; Pälli, Pekka

Journal or series: Text and Talk

ISSN: 1860-7330

eISSN: 1860-7349

Publication year: 2021

Publication date: 30/09/2020

Volume: 41

Issue number: 1

Pages range: 47-69

Publisher: Mouton De Gruyter

Publication country: Germany

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2019-0121

Publication open access: Not 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.

Keywords: textual research; documents; forms (documents); interaction; human agency; assessment discussion; conversation analysis

Free keywords: conversation; interaction; organizational texts; textual agency; performance appraisal interviews

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2021

JUFO rating: 3

Last updated on 2022-20-09 at 13:24