Relations between people and activities are of importance for sustainability and quality in working life. Processes of learning and competence development are today emphasized in working life as crucial for success and efficiency in both the long and the short run. The aim is to elucidate three areas of investigation concerning the importance of social relations at the workplace: competent relations between manager and employees and social networks and the creation of sustainability. A combination of theories on learning, social networks and complex adaptive systems will be used. Already collected empirical data will be used; interviews as well as data from a questionnaire. An already ongoing study (FAS dnr 2005-1005) on the character of social relations, its organizational conditions and importance for the individual in today’s working life, will be further illuminated concerning the aspects of competence and sustainability. This study will integrate parts of the ongoing study in a broad theoretical, conceptual and empirical illustration of the importance of social relations in working life, which will be published as a textbook.