Relational differences in interpersonal communication during third sector and public sector work: A comparative study

Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review

Abstract

In Denmark there arguably is an on-going debate between politicians and volunteer associations concerning the degree of involvement of associational volunteers in solving public sector tasks. As an example, one politician was asked to respond to the decrease of 33,000 full time jobs in the public sector from 2009 to 2014, and answered that it had become time to deliver tasks back to civil society (Nielsen, 2014). Statements like these are met with criticism by representatives from volunteer associations, e.g. arguing this would be exploiting volunteers, asking them to do a type of work they are not interested in (Scheibel, 2014). The debate seems to boil down to a concern, that people doing volunteer work in the third sector, would loose their motivation to volunteer, if their work was like working in the public sector. As a contribution to this debate, this paper will examine the role interpersonal organisational communication can play in understanding how working in the third sector can differ from working in the public sector. This is based on Ryan & Deci who argue that the way people relate to other people and consequently communicate with them, plays a key role in their motivation for conducting activities (2000). This involves understanding communication and context in a constituent relation to each other, meaning that characteristics of the sector and organisation the work takes place in, to a certain extent influences the way people communicate and relate to each other and vice versa (Dahl, 1999). There are however aspects of communication which cannot be explained as a direct result of contextual conditions, but rather primarily exist on an interpersonal level, and could contribute with new insights into volunteer work (M. Koschmann, 2010). The aim is to develop what Koschmann calls “uniquely communicative explanations for various nonprofit phenomena, and showing how these communicative explanations complement, challenge, and extend existing theoretical frameworks.” (2012, p. 139). The study is based on video observation (Alrø & Kristiansen, 1997) of a small group of people who have a paid job in the public sector and also do volunteer work in the third sector concurrently. If there are significant differences between the two types of work, these peoples’ (inter)actions and experiences of these should tell us more about what these differences are, as they move from doing one type of work to the other. In this paper I will analyse transcripts from video recorded conversations involving the same person interacting with volunteers in the third sector and employees in the public sector respectively. Analysis is conducted based on the idea that regardless of the subject of a conversation, an on-going establishment and negotiation of interpersonal relations always takes place (Madsen, 1996). Using pragmatic speech act theory (Alrø & Kristiansen, 2006; Searle, 1969; Vagle, Sandvik, & Svennevig, 1993), the aim is to gain insight into the relation building in the two types of work and to show how micro level analysis of communication and relations can contribute to the existing field of third sector research.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date28 Jun 2016
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2016
EventThe 12th conference of the International Society for Third Sector Research : The Third Sector in Transition: Accountability, Transparency, and Social Inclusion - Ersta Sköndal Högskola, Stockholm, Sweden
Duration: 28 Jun 20161 Jul 2016
Conference number: 12
http://www.istr.org/?StockholmConference

Conference

ConferenceThe 12th conference of the International Society for Third Sector Research
Number12
LocationErsta Sköndal Högskola
CountrySweden
CityStockholm
Period28/06/201601/07/2016
Internet address

Cite this

Frederiksen, D. J. (2016). Relational differences in interpersonal communication during third sector and public sector work: A comparative study. Abstract from The 12th conference of the International Society for Third Sector Research , Stockholm, Sweden.
Frederiksen, Dennis Jim. / Relational differences in interpersonal communication during third sector and public sector work : A comparative study. Abstract from The 12th conference of the International Society for Third Sector Research , Stockholm, Sweden.22 p.
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Relational differences in interpersonal communication during third sector and public sector work : A comparative study. / Frederiksen, Dennis Jim.

2016. Abstract from The 12th conference of the International Society for Third Sector Research , Stockholm, Sweden.

Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review

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Frederiksen DJ. Relational differences in interpersonal communication during third sector and public sector work: A comparative study. 2016. Abstract from The 12th conference of the International Society for Third Sector Research , Stockholm, Sweden.