Making Materials Matter—A Contribution to a Sociomaterial Perspective on Work Environment
AbstractThis paper aims to discuss the implications of adopting an STS (science and technology studies)- based conceptualization of the psychosocial work environment. We problematize how work environment research presently divides elements of working conditions into separate physical and psychosocial dimensions. Based on actor network theory, a currently dominant perspective in the field of STS, we discuss the concept of sociomaterial work environment. An ANT perspective on work environment is relevant and timely, we argue, first and foremost because more entities are embraced in the analyses. We argue that the ANT perspective leads to a more nuanced understanding of the work environment where it is not a set of predefined categories that is the focus of interest, but rather the work environment as multiple locally performed aspects of agency, translation, and collectively constructed reality. This perspective on work environment, we argue, addresses pivotal issues raised in the work environment debate during the last ten years, for instance of how the work environment as a concept saliently belongs to a social democratic Scandinavian agenda in which the singular employee in a work environment context is predominantly seen as a victim. This trope, which was peaking in the 1970s, is increasingly becoming obsolete in a changing economy with still more flexible jobs. The contribution of this paper is to provide a presentation and a discussion of the potentials and pitfalls provided by a shift toward a sociomaterial work environment perspective, as well as an empirical exemplification of a sociomaterial approach to work environment assessment.
Copyright (c) 2013 Author and Journal
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
The Copyright Holder of this Journal is the authors and the Journal. This Journal gives Open Access with CreativeCommons license CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0.
You can download all the content of the Journal and share it with others as long as you credit the authors and the journal, but you can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.
More specifically this license means that you – authors and users – may:
Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or form as long as you follow the license terms. The freedom to share includes parallel publishing on authors’ own website and in institutional repositories or in ResearchGate after publication in NJWLS, or if you want to reprint your article as part of publication of a PhD-thesis or a dissertation
You may share under these terms:
Attribution — You must give appropriate credit and provide a link to the license. Appropriate credit implies that you provide the name of the creator and attribution parties, a copyright notice, a license notice, a disclaimer notice, and a link to the material. The link used should be its DOI.
NonCommercial — You may not use the material for commercial purposes. A commercial use is one primarily intended for commercial advantage or monetary compensation.
NoDerivatives — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you may not distribute the modified material. Merely changing the format never creates a derivative.
Exceptions to the license terms may be granted
If you want to use content in the Journal in another way then described by this license, you must contact the licensor and ask for permission. Contact Bo Carstens at firstname.lastname@example.org. Exceptions are always given for specific purposes and specific content only.
The Journal is listed as a blue journal in Sherpa/Romeo, meaning that the author can archive post-print ((ie final draft post-refereeing) and author can archive publisher's version/PDF.
Copyright of others
Authors are responsible for obtaining permission from copyright holders for reproducing any illustrations, tables, figures or lengthy quotations previously published elsewhere.
All published material is archived at Roskilde University Library, Denmark, and transmitted to the Danish Royal Library in conformity with the Danish rules of legal deposit.
We do not screen articles for plagiarism. It is the responsibility of the authors to make sure they do not plagiate.