Relational tensions and professionally optimal listening in the legal communication context: Finnish judges’ perceptions of their own listening

Sanna Ala-Kortesmaa, Pekka Isotalus


The study examined 25 Finnish judges’ perceptions of professionally optimal listening and tensions related to it. These themes were approached from the perspectives of professionalism and relational dialectics. The data were gathered using semi-structured interviews. In the data analysis, some strategies of grounded theory methods were applied. The results suggested that the professionally optimal listening of judges is strongly task-oriented and that the relational tensions that challenge their professional communication competence exist both within a listener and between the communication partners. Professional communication competence of the judges was a factor that enhanced their listening.


Professionally optimal listening; Professional communication competence; Relational tension; Courtroom communication


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Studies in Communication Sciences | ISSN: 1424-4896