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Constructing learning: adversarial and collaborative working in the British construction industry

Bishop, D, Felstead, A, Fuller, A, Jewson, N, Unwin, L and Kakavelakis, K (2009) 'Constructing learning: adversarial and collaborative working in the British construction industry.' Journal of Education and Work, 22 (4). pp. 243-260. ISSN 1469-9435

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Abstract

This paper examines two competing systems of work organisation in the British construction industry and their consequences for learning. Under the traditional ‘adversarial’ system, conflict, hostility and litigation between contractors are commonplace. Such a climate actively militates against collective learning and knowledge sharing between parties. Conversely, under ‘collaborative working’, contractors share risks, pool knowledge and work together to solve problems at all stages and levels in the productive system – a process conceptualised as ‘knotworking’ by some theorists. The paper argues that such learning theories fail to take adequately into account the heavy hand of history and the importance of understanding the nature of the productive systems in which ‘knotworking’ is expected to take root. Both place limits on making ‘knotworking’ a habitual and commonplace activity in construction.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information:

This article is similar to a 'Learning as Work Research Paper' published in January 2008 by Cardiff University. The URL for this item is below.

Keywords: collaborative working, partnering, co‐configuration, knotworking, construction, learning, productive systems
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: Institute for Education
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Date Deposited: 27 Jan 2016 16:23
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2016 15:05
URI: http://researchspace.bathspa.ac.uk/id/eprint/7122
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