Negotiated engagement: worker agency and learning at work
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The sociocultural project presents personal learning in and through work as the socially mediated process and product of participation in workplace activity (eg, Lave &Wenger 1991, Rogoff 1995, Ratner 2000, Ashton 2004). It privileges the social and cultural aspects of the individual workers' context as the dominant influence or mediator of the changes to personal work practice that evidence work-based learning. In consideration of individual workers' contributions to such participation, at best, this view establishes learning as the co-incidental relationship between workers and their work. It is a relationship of co-participatory interdependence that is relationally derived through the interactivity of worker agency and the social press of the workplace (Billett 2006). In a desire to more comprehensively understand the personal contributions of individual workers to their learning at work, this paper argues that the interactivity that constitutes this relationship is best viewed as negotiated engagement and that it is the agency of the individual worker that is the locus of action that initiates and sustains this relationship. Drawing on recent studies of worker agency and learning in a variety of different workplaces, this paper elaborates these issues and suggests that personal learning in and through work is the worker negotiated control and conduct of their engagement in the participative requirements of their work.
Conference Proceedings: researching work and learning : 5th International Conference on Researching Work and Learning (RWL5).
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