Jeg ringer for at høre, hvordan det går…? En systemteoretisk analyse af sygefraværssamtaler i Kriminalforsorgen

Kristian Westfall Jensen

Student thesis: Master thesis


This master thesis examines how the communication about conversations regarding sickness absence in the chamber of Prison and Probation Service under the Danish Department of Justice constructs the employee and the head of department. Hence it is the communicative construction of the employee and the head of department in a specific context that is the main subject. Empirically, the thesis is based a guide to handle absence due to sickness in the organization in question.. The guide describes different scenarios for the conversations regarding sickness absence. The theory in use is the German sociologist Niklas Luhmann's systems theory. The work of Luhmann centres around the conviction that communication is the base of all social events. Therefore the social can only be observed in communication, thus system theoretical analysis of communication can be used to illustrate specific sociological points. The system theory is all about difference. Observation is the core concept of the system theory and can be defined as an indication within the frame of a difference: Something is something because it is different from something else. Thus it is the indication of a difference that creates meaning. The system theory offers the opportunity to observe others observations as observations. Therefore observations conducted through system theory are of second order and the communicative constructions that are analysed are the constructions by others. This master thesis argues that the communicative construction of the employee and the head of department in the specific context conflicts with itself, due to an uncertainty of what character the conversations regarding sickness absence are. It is not possible to determine the meaning of neither the concept of the employee nor the head of department. During a conversation between the two both parties can rightly ask themselves: Who am I right now?

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2014
Number of pages56