Asymmetrier och samförstånd i rekryteringssamtal med andraspråkstalare

Detta är en avhandling från Stockholm : Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis

Sammanfattning: In many institutional settings in today’s globalized job market, people have to deal with different role asymmetries in the co-construction of meaning. In this study, institutional, cultural and linguistic asymmetries are focused on in interviews at an employment agency in Sweden. Interviews between a recruiter and fourteen female job candidates with an academic background from other countries were video taped. Three sequences on personality were analysed: What do you consider to be your strengths? What personal characteristics do you want to improve? and What has made an impact on you? The general aim of the study was to gain knowledge of the processes whereby self-presentations are co-constructed and how participants try to reach common understanding when they do not share common linguistic and cultural resources.Theoretically, the study has a dialogical framework. Discourse is seen as the place where society, culture, situation, individual and language meet and where meaning is constructed through social action. Within an interactional sociolinguistics framework, an holistic approach to methods combines ethnography of communication with ethnomethodology and conversation analysis.The results show that the meaning-making project in this institutional situation is institutionally framed, culturally hidden, socially constrained by face-work and interactionally embedded. The recruiter orients to the institutional frame by embedding reformulations of the candidates’ answers in her uptake, often an adjective, which is filled in on a form and later transferred to a data base. The recruiter also takes on the face-work of the communicative dilemmas that the questions exhibit, for example by using explanations when candidates admit to low self-confidence. It is also shown that for some candidates the hidden agenda of the situation is concealed and that their communicative styles clash with the recruiter’s expectations.The asymmetrical situation can for the candidates be seen as both a resource and a constraint. The linguistic asymmetry is not foregrounded. Instead, the negotiation of meaning concerns the institutional and cultural frame rather than linguistic meanings. On the other hand, the recruiter shows a tendency to normalize the candidates according to her own institutional and cultural knowledge. This dynamic interplay between heterogenization and homogenization tendencies is an important feature in the interviews.

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