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Interkulturell kommunikation på ett svenskt sjukhus: Fallstudier av andraspråkstalare i arbetslivet
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Languages, Department of Scandinavian Languages.
2009 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation investigates the communication of immigrants employed at a Swedish hospital. The overall aim is to find factors that have a positive effect on their integration into the workplace. The data comprise observations, field notes and approximately 80 hours of audio recordings with five second language speakers made during their everyday activities at work. Since entire workdays have been recorded the data include both professional and social interaction, such as meetings, interaction with patients and small talk between colleagues. In preparation for the case studies a number of interviews were conducted at the hospital and they gave valuable knowledge about the hospital routines and how second language speakers experience their communicative situation.

The five participants in the case studies are one male cleaner from Tanzania, two female nurses, one from Iran and one from Lebanon, and two female physicians, one from Hungary and one from Lithuania. The number of years spent in Sweden varies from 4 to 18.

The analyses focus on communication strategies, humor and medical case rounds. The results show that lack of language skills is not a hindrance since the participants make use of different strategies to solve language problems. The dissertation also shows that, despite the difficulties and risks involved in the use of humor, the participants do so as a way of showing collegiality. The analysis of case rounds show that the participants are treated as equal interlocutors and contribute as much to the conversation as the first language speakers do. The results indicate, with a few exceptions, successful integration of the participants.

Finally, the dissertation argues that a multicultural and multilingual staff is a positive feature since their skills in other languages can be used in ways that both save time and are of economic benefit to the employer. It also argues that Swedish teaching should focus more on interactional skills, for example so that the second language speakers are better prepared to face the communicative challenges they encounter in a workplace.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Institutionen för nordiska språk , 2009. , 250 p.
Skrifter utgivna av Institutionen för nordiska språk vid Uppsala universitet, ISSN 0083-4661 ; 77
Keyword [en]
intercultural communication, workplace interaction, immigrants, second language speakers
National Category
Specific Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-9525ISBN: 978-91-506-2045-0OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-9525DiVA: diva2:173106
Public defence
2009-02-20, Ihresalen, Språkvetenskapligt centrum, Thunbergsvägen 3L, Uppsala, 10:15
Available from: 2009-01-30 Created: 2009-01-30Bibliographically approved

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