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The importance of understanding work-as-done: Implications for research and practice in organizational psychology

Abstract

This paper aims to describe how the concept of ‘work-as’ proxies can offer important insights for work and organizational psychologists. We explore how routine work activities can reflect those that are actually carried out when following a work-as-done perspective, rather than through the commonly used perspective of work-as-imagined. In highlighting these different perspectives, we suggest that they allow for a more in-depth understanding of what workers do and the processes they use. The value of this approach is illustrated through three case studies of applied research that have examined work in practice across the different contexts of job interviews, clinical handovers and decision making in teams. The paper challenges some of our existing assumptions of how we view work and highlights the benefits of adopting a work-as-done approach for practitioners and researchers.

Keywords

observation, qualitative, work-as proxies, reality-based, work-as-done, work-as-imagined

How to Cite

Thompson, N., Shapiro, E. & Ponton, H., (2023) “The importance of understanding work-as-done: Implications for research and practice in organizational psychology”, EWOP in Practice 17(2), 116–142. doi: https://doi.org/10.21825/ewopinpractice.89676

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Authors

Neill Thompson (Northumbria University)
Ethan Shapiro (Edinburgh Napier University)
Hazel Ponton (Northumbria University)

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0

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This article has been peer reviewed.

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