Expansive Visibilization of Work: An Activity-Theoretical Perspective
- Yrjö Engeström
- … show all 1 hide
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
Work is commonly made visible along two dimensions: the linear and the socio-spatial. Both are limited to depicting work in terms of relatively discrete actions. Activity theory introduces the crucial distinction between collective activity systems and individual actions. Expansive visibilization of collective activity systems offers a powerful intervention methodology for dealing with major transformations of work. The linear and the socio-spatial dimensions of work actions are seen in the broader perspective of a third, developmental dimension of work activity. Four steps are identified in a cycle of expansive visibilization, combining activity-level visions and action-level concretizations. The cycle is examined in detail as it unfolded in an intervention study at a children's hospital in Finland. It is concluded that expansive visibilization, driven by contradictions and seeking to reconceptualize the object and motive of work, is not a straightforward process which can be neatly controlled from above. Coherent analytical explanation and goal-setting may come only after the creation and practical implementation of innovative solutions.
- Billig, M. & et al. (1988): Ideological dilemmas: A social psychology of everyday thinking. London: Sage.
- Engeström, Y. (1987): Learning by expanding: An activity-theoretical approach to developmental research. Helsinki: Orienta-Konsultit.
- Engeström, Y. (1990): Learning, working and imagining: Twelve studies in activity theory. Helsinki: Orienta-Konsultit.
- Engeström, Y. (1993): Developmental studies of work as a testbench of activity theory: The case of primary care medical practice. In S. Chaiklin & J. Lave (Eds.), Understanding practice: Perspectives on activity and context. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Engeström, Y. (1995): Objects, contradictions and collaboration in medical cognition: An activity-theoretical perspective. Artificial Intelligence in Medicine, vol. 7, pp. 395–412.
- Engeström, Y. (1996a): Development as breaking away and opening up: A challenge to Vygotsky and Piaget. Swiss Journal of Psychology, vol. 55, pp. 126–132.
- Engeström, Y. (1996b): Developmental work research as educational research. Nordisk Pedagogik: Journal of Nordic Educational Research, vol. 16, pp. 131–143.
- Engeström, Y., K. Brown, L.C. Christopher and J. Gregory (1997): Coordination, cooperation, and communication in the courts: Expansive transitions in legal work. In M. Cole, Y. Engeström & O. Vasquez (eds.): Mind, culture and activity: Seminal papers from the Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Engeström, Y., J. Virkkunen, M. Helle, J. Pihlaja and R. Poikela (1996): Change laboratory as a tool for transforming work. Lifelong Learning in Europe, vol. 1,no. 2, pp. 10–17.
- Goodwin, C. and M.H. Goodwin (1996): Seeing as situated activity: Formulating planes. In Y. Engeström & D. Middleton (eds.): Cognition and communication at work. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Gray, B.H. (1991): The profit motive and patient care: The changing accountability of doctors and hospitals. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
- Hammer, M. (1990). Reengineering work: Don't automate, obliterate! Harvard Business Review, vol. 68,no. 4, pp. 104–112.
- Hammer, M. and J. Champy (1993): Reengineering the corporation. New York: Harper Business.
- Heath, C. and P. Luff (1996): Convergent activities: Line control and passenger information on the London Underground. In Y. Engeström & D. Middleton (eds.): Cognition and communication at work/ Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Leont'ev, A.N. (1978): Activity, consciousness, and personality. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.
- Leont'ev, A.N. (1981): Problems of the development of the mind. Moscow: Progress.
- Manganelli, R.L. and M.M. Klein (1994). The reengineering handbook: A step-by-step guide to business transformation. New York: Amacom.
- Margolis, H. (1993): Paradigms and barriers: How habits of mind govern scientific beliefs. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
- Suchman, L. (1987): Plans and situated actions: The problem of human-machine communication. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Suchman, L. (1995): Making work visible. Communications of the ACM, vol. 38,no. 9, pp. 56–64.
- Suchman, L. (1996): Constituting shared workspaces. In Y. Engeström & D. Middleton (eds.): Cognition and communication at work. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Tikhomirov, O.K. (1988): The psychology of thinking. Moscow: Progress.
- Vygotsky, L.S. (1978): Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
- Weick, K.E. (1995): Sensemaking in organizations. Thousand Oaks: Sage.
- Wodak, R. (1997): Disorders of discourse. London: Longman.
- Expansive Visibilization of Work: An Activity-Theoretical Perspective
Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW)
Volume 8, Issue 1-2 , pp 63-93
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Kluwer Academic Publishers
- Additional Links
- activity theory
- expansive learning
- health care
- medical records
- Industry Sectors
- Yrjö Engeström (1) (2)
- Author Affiliations
- 1. The Academy of Finland, Center for Activity Theory and Developmental Work Research, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 47, 00014, Finland, E-mail
- 2. Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA, 92093, USA, E-mail