Meetings and time: a sociological study of public sector managers

Research output: Book/ReportReport


In this study, the subject of modern organizational meetings in the public sector is discussed with focus on the concept of time, as a framework for understanding and analyzing modern meetings. How do the members of organizational staff describe and relate to the concept of time, in the context of meetings? Meetings are important for understanding how organizations are constituted in everyday work life, but also for understanding how time during workdays is experienced and socially constructed by the staff members.

It is a qualitative study, where data was gathered in the form of ethnographic field observations (approximately 100 hours of observations) in public organizations, and interviews with managers (6 interviews) on different managerial levels within the organizations. The studied organizations are a public health care institution, and also one university within the Swedish public higher education. Three dimensions of meetings and time are highlighted in the study: using time for meetings, finding time for meetings, and the use of digital technology as a way of saving and taking time for meetings.

The main conclusion of the study is that studying meetings and time, is important for understanding how meetings in modern public organizations are perceived. The social practices of using, finding, saving and taking time for meetings take place within a wider organizational context, and also within a wider personal context, which has implications influencing and changing the agency of time among the staff in the organizations. Likely, this is an important reason for the ambivalence towards meetings within organizations. Additionally, although this study focuses on public organizations, it may be relevant for understanding meetings in other forms of organizations as well.

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLund
PublisherDepartment of Sociology, Lund University
ISBN (Print)978-91-7267-395-3
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Publication series

NameNetwork for Research in Criminology and Deviant Behavior
ISSN (Print)1104-1153

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Sociology (504)


  • interviews
  • managers
  • meetings
  • observations
  • organization
  • public
  • time


Dive into the research topics of 'Meetings and time: a sociological study of public sector managers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this