Negotiation as Flow

  • Raymond Smith
Part of the Professional and Practice-based Learning book series (PPBL, volume 23)


This chapter addresses the third and final dimension of the learning as negotiation model advanced through the book – The Three Dimensions of Negotiation framework. Drawing on a range of empirical data, it elaborates how workers’ personal practices are aspects of and highly influential in the constant state of flux that characterises work. Workers are found to be transacting their personal practice through the negotiations in which they are engaged. Through the concept of transaction, the chapter outlines how the person and their practice, their values and priorities and the worth these hold for them, and the resources that support their engagement in work are constantly transforming. Negotiation is, therefore, the constant state of transformation into which workers flow as influential resources, unique among the many, that shape and are shaped by co-participative practice as engagement in work. Such transformation is to be expected – work is transactive. That is, more than active and more than interactive, work is workers’ negotiation of the changes that mark the constant flux they are not just engaged in but are part of. Such transformations are evidenced as people in flow, personal changes, whereby people are becoming more of who they are in work. Similarly, such transformations are evidenced as practice in flow by the altered work and occupational practices that are the enactments, priorities and values that define work. And equally, such transformation are marked as resources in flow by the new resources that are brought to the enactment of work – the materials, tools and relationships that emerge as learning and become the parameters on and from which ‘the next’ is negotiated. The ubiquity of change and of the change of all that is ‘brought together’ through the negotiations that comprise work-learning is identified and conceptualised through Negotiation as Flow.


  1. Archer, M. (2000). Being human: The problem of agency. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ashton, D. (2004). The impact of organisational structure and practices in the workplace. International Journal of Training and Development, 8(1), 43–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bartram, D., & Roe, R. (2008). Individual and organisational factors in competence acquisition. In W. Nijhof & L. Nieuwenhuis (Eds.), The learning potential of the workplace (pp. 71–96). Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense.Google Scholar
  4. Billett, S. (2001a). Learning in the workplace: Strategies for effective practice. Sydney, Australia: Allen and Unwin.Google Scholar
  5. Billett, S. (2001b). Learning throughout working life: Interdependencies at work. Studies in Continuing Education, 23(1), 19–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Billett, S. (2004). Learning through work: Workplace participatory practices. In H. Rainbird, A. Fuller, & A. Munro (Eds.), Workplace learning in context (pp. 109–125). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Billett, S. (2006a). Relational interdependence between social and individual agency in work and working life. Mind, Culture and Activity, 13(1), 53–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Billett, S. (2006b). Work, subjectivity and learning. In S. Billett, T. Fenwick, & M. Somerville (Eds.), Work, subjectivity and learning (pp. 1–20). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Billett, S. (2008). Learning throughout working life: A relational interdependence between personal and social agency. British Journal of Educational Studies, 56(1), 39–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Billett, S., Harteis, C., & Etelapelto, A. (Eds.). (2008). Emerging perspectives of workplace learning. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense.Google Scholar
  11. Bourdieu, P. (1990). The logic of practice. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Bourdieu, P. (1998). Practical reason. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  13. Bourdieu, P. (2000). Pascalian meditations. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Dewey, J., & Bentley, A. F. (1975). Knowing and the known. Westpoint, CT: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
  15. Ellstrom, P. (2001). Integrating learning and work: Problems and prospects. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 12(4), 421–435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ellstrom, E., Ekholm, B., & Ellstrom, P. E. (2008). Two types of learning environment: Enabling and constraining a study of care work. Journal of Workplace Learning, 20(2), 84–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Engestrom, Y. (2001). Expansive learning at work: Toward an activity theoretical reconceptualisation. Journal of Education and Work, 14(1), 133–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Engestrom, Y. (2008). From teams to knots: Activity-theoretical studies of collaboration and learning at work. Cambridge, UK/New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Etelapelto, A., & Saarinen, J. (2006). Developing subjective identities through collective participation. In S. Billett, T. Fenwick, & M. Somerville (Eds.), Work, subjectivity and learning (pp. 157–178). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.Google Scholar
  20. Foucault, M. (1980). Power/knowledge: Selected interviews and other writings 1972–1977. New York: Pantheon.Google Scholar
  21. Frankfurt, H. (1988). The importance of what we care about. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fuller, A., & Unwin, L. (2004). Expansive learning environments: Integrating organisational and personal development. In H. Rainbird, A. Fuller, & A. Munro (Eds.), Workplace learning in context (pp. 126–144). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  23. Giddens, A. (1991). Modernity and self-identity: Self and society in the late modern age. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Goffman, E. (1959). The presentation of self in everyday life. New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  25. Hegel, G. W. F. (1977). Phenomenology of spirit (A. V. Miller, Trans.). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Hodkinson, P., & Hodkinson, H. (2004). The significance if individuals’ dispositions in workplace learning: A case study of two teachers. Journal of Education and Work, 17(2), 167–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Holland, D., Skinner, D., Lachicotte, W., & Cain, C. (1998). Identity and agency in cultural worlds. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Illeris, K. (2002). The three dimensions of learning. Roskilde, Denmark: Roskilde University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Illeris, K. (2007). How we learn: Learning and non-learning in school and beyond. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  30. Jarvis, P. (2004). Adult education and lifelong learning: Theory and practice (3rd ed.). London: Routledge Falmer.Google Scholar
  31. Jarvis, P. (2006). Towards a comprehensive theory of human learning. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  32. Kolb, D. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  33. Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lewicki, R., Barry, B., & Saunders, D. (2010). Negotiation (6th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.Google Scholar
  35. Lewicki, R. J., Saunders, D. M., & Barry, B. (2006). Negotiation (5th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.Google Scholar
  36. Menkel-Meadow, C. (2009). Chronicling the complexification of negotiation theory and practice. Negotiation Journal, 25(4), 415–429.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Mezirow, J. (1991). Transformative dimensions of adult learning. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.Google Scholar
  38. Mezirow, J. (2000). Learning to think like an adult: Core concepts of transformation theory. In J. Mezirow & Associates (Eds.), Learning as transformation: Critical perspectives on a theory in progress (pp. 3–34). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  39. Noon, M., & Blyton, P. (2002). The realities of work (2nd ed.). New York: Palgrave Publishers.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Ratner, C. (2000). Agency and culture. Journal of the Theory of Social Behaviour, 30(4), 413–434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Rousseau, D. (2005). I-deals: Idiosyncratic deals employees bargain for themselves. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe.Google Scholar
  42. Saner, R. (2005). The expert negotiator (2nd ed.). Leiden, The Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.Google Scholar
  43. Sartre, J. P. (1989). Being and nothingness: An essay on phenomenological ontology (Hazel E. Barnes, Trans.). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  44. Smith, R. (2005). Epistemological agency and the new employee. Australian Journal of Adult Learning, 45(1), 29–46.Google Scholar
  45. Smith, R. (2006). Epistemological agency: A necessary action-in-context perspective on new employee workplace learning. Studies in Continuing Education, 28(3), 291–304.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Stevenson, J. (2003). Developing vocational expertise: Principles and issues in vocational education. Crows Nest, Australia: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  47. Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning and identity. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wertsch, J. V. (1995). The need for action in sociocultural research. In J. V. Wertsch, P. del Rio, & A. Alvarez (Eds.), Sociocultural studies of mind (pp. 56–74). New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Wertsch, J. V. (1998). Mind as action. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  50. Zartman, I. W. (1988). Common elements on the analysis of the negotiation process. Negotiation Journal, 4(1), 31–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Zartman, I. W. (2008). Negotiation and conflict management: Essays on theory and practice. London: Routledge.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raymond Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.Griffith UniversityBrisbaneAustralia

Personalised recommendations