The Verbal Expression of Compassion in An Academic Setting

Teresa Söderhjelm
Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden

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Ingår i: Independent in the heard: Inclusion and exclusion as social processes. Proceedings from the 9th GRASP conference, Linköping University, May 2014

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 121:3, s. 38-63

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Publicerad: 2015-01-21

ISBN: 978-91-7519-217-8

ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


This case study aimed at exploring procedures to capture the verbal expression of compassion in an academic setting. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews addressing the informants’ perceptions of current working environment conditions, at a medical education and research faculty. The informants represented management teams, research group leaders, researchers, doctoral students and administrative staff (n=46). The interviews were coded focusing on expressions of compassion, using and comparing two different instruments: the Neff Self-Compassion Scale and SAVI, System for Analysing Verbal Interaction. Data were also gathered through earlier surveys concerning the work environment and bibliometrics. The findings suggested a link between the two instruments used, as well as a link between expressed compassion through verbal behaviour and reported stress levels. Some informants indicated that compassion would contradict productivity. Comparing measures for compassion with bibliometrics did not indicate such a trade-off.


Compassion; Neff Self-Compassion Scale; SAVI; Organisation; Leadership


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