For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Sharing Meaning Across Occupational Communities: The Transformation of Understanding on a Production Floor"

by Bechky, Beth A (2003)


This paper suggests that knowledge is shared in organizations through the transformation of occupational communities' situated understandings of their work. In this paper, I link the misunderstandings between engineers, technicians, and assemblers on a production floor to their work contexts, and demonstrate how members of these communities overcome such problems by cocreating common ground that transforms their understanding of the product and the production process. In particular, I find that the communities' knowledge-sharing difficulties are rooted in differences in their language, the locus of their practice, and their conceptualization of the product. When communication problems arise, if members of these communities provide solutions which invoke the differences in the work contexts and create common ground between the communities, they can transform the understandings of others and generate a richer understanding of the product and the problems they face.

Key Passage



Meaningful Work, Psychology, Community, Communication


Occupational Identity, Meaningful Work

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