Workarounds in the Danish Health Sector – from Tacit to Explicit Innovation

Keywords: Health, Working Environment and Wellbeing, Learning & compentencies, Innovation & productivity, Organization & management


Drawing on actor-network theory (ANT) and science and technology studies (STS) and on ethnographic research in Denmark, we argue that how health care workers work around technologies can be conceptualized as tacit innovation – that is, practical expressions of active encounters with the complexity of work situations and therefore potential sources of sustainable and innovative work practices. The concept ‘invisible work’ is used to show that ‘what counts as work’ is bound up with technologies that are not neutral. Technologies, professionals, and patients implicitly co-constitute innovation processes, and we argue that in order to understand the potential of tacit innovation among health care workers, one must revisit the dichotomy between technology producers and technology end-users. The aim and contribution of this paper is thus to attempt to revitalize the discussion about technology workarounds as initiatives of tacit innovation, thus adding to the theoretical conceptualization of invisible work when technologies are used in health care work.

Author Biographies

Katia Dupret, Roskilde University
 Associate professor, Institute for People and Technology. E-mail:
Bjarke Friborg, PROSA (Danish Association of IT Professionals)
How to Cite
Dupret, K., & Friborg, B. (2018). Workarounds in the Danish Health Sector – from Tacit to Explicit Innovation. Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies, 8(S3).