Talk and Texts at Work: Beyond language and literacy skills

Hermine Scheeres


In this paper I discuss changing work practices in post-bureaucratic organisations (Heckscher and Donellon 1994, Iedema 2003) as a move from a focus on how those in control formulate what is to happen at the level of work, towards requiring workers to verbalise how they see themselves as being able to contribute to the organisation. Workers are increasingly asked to talk about their work, and to negotiate their understandings of their work with others in the workplace – they are becoming discourse workers. This discourse work is integral to the increasing textualisation of work. These work practices are imbued with tensions as workers try to make sense of, and learn, new ways of ‘being’ a worker, and an important site of this struggle and learning is working in teams. 

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