Relational interdependence as means to examine work, learning and the remaking of cultural practices.
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This paper focuses on dualities in both the process and outcomes of participation in work. The process of participation in work activities and interactions is held to draw on the contributions of both individuals and the social world in ways that are interdependent, yet relational. The affordances of workplaces shape the array of experiences able to be accessed by individuals and, they in turn, elect how they engage, construe and construct what the workplace affords. Both the social and individual contributions are exercisable with different degrees of intensity, focus and intentionality, making the process of participation a relational one. Consistent with these processes, the outcomes of workplace participation also comprise dualities. These are individual learning or change, on one hand, and the remaking or transformation of cultural practice that comprises work, on the other. In illuminating and elaborating these concepts, this paper draws upon the initial findings of a research project that is mapping the working lives of groups of three workers in each of four workplaces. The aim is to understand how these relational interdependences shape the participation, learning and remaking of work practices in these workplaces, their workers and identify the exercise of both affordances and engagement for each participant within the same workplace, and then to make comparisons across the four workplaces. The findings emphasise the distinctive bases by which individuals engage with work and construct meaning and practice as a result of that engagement and in turn their remaking of the work practices.
The Learning Potential of the Workplace
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