Agency and Learning in the Work of Software Professionals

  • Katja VähäsantanenEmail author
  • Anneli Eteläpelto
Part of the Professional and Practice-based Learning book series (PPBL, volume 21)


This chapter addresses software professionals’ agency and learning in work characterized by a need for innovative learning and fluency in renewing work practices. The study presented was conducted with software professionals in a medium-sized Finnish company producing digital business applications. We applied a mixed-method approach to data collection and analysis. Regarding professional agency, we found a range of opportunities to influence work-related matters. The professionals were primarily able to influence their working hours and the order of their work tasks, but had fewer opportunities to influence customer projects, or their salary. To some extent, they were able to develop themselves as individuals and to share practices and knowledge within professional groups and projects. However, they expressed concerns about the organizational aim of short-term efficiency, which they viewed as constraining long-term individual and organizational development. Based on the findings, we discuss how professional agency and learning at work are intertwined and how they can be cultivated among professionals who create tools for digitalization.


Professional agency Learning at work Information technology Software professionals 



The study presented here was supported by the Finnish Work Environment Fund [Project no. 114081, Agentic Learning at Work for the 21st Century] and the Academy of Finland [Project no. 288925, The Role of Emotions in Agentic Learning at Work ].


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EducationUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland

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