Initiating activity shifts through use of appraisal forms as material objects during performance appraisal interviews

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This study shows how participants of performance appraisal interviews use appraisal forms as material objects in initiations of activity shifts. Participants negotiate their willingness to proceed from one interview item to another by gazing at, pointing toward and manipulating the forms. This study contributes to earlier studies of written documents as material objects in interaction, by showing, firstly, how written documents can be used in a step-by-step embodied negotiation; secondly, how orientation to material objects makes it possible for participants to conduct two activities at the same time; and thirdly, how the document’s role as the agenda of an encounter is consequential for the activity. The data of this study consist of six video-recorded appraisal interviews from a Finnish public organisation.


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