Work, Learning, and Negotiation

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


This chapter is the introductory chapter to a book that explores the nature and veracity of the concept of negotiation as a means to describe and explain the socio-personal practice of learning in and through work. The chapter has two objectives. First, it outlines and discusses the conceptual perspectives underpinning the book’s exploration and locates these ideas and challenges within the socio-cultural constructivist context of work-learning research and the key issues in which the book is immersed and on which it builds. Central to this is argument about the inadequacy of the concept of negotiation as it has been commonly deployed in work-learning research as a metaphor and synonym for interaction. Such use is deemed insufficient to the task of accurately capturing the socio-personal qualities of work-learning practice. A primary focus is the ‘personal’ that emphasises the need of grounding understandings of work-learning in the person of the worker, the self-in-action, who is the locus of learning and who ‘brings together’ the range of resources that generate learning within the social press of transforming practice for the goals that drive work. Second, The Three Dimensions of Negotiation framework is briefly outlined. This framework conceptualises negotiation specific to its deployment as a means of investigating work-learning beyond understandings of the concept that typically align with its use in business and legal contexts. The framework is fully elaborated through chapters five, six and seven where each of the dimensions is respectively addressed. In this chapter one, the framework is sketched as a foregrounding of the focus and purpose of the whole of the book – which is the further development of the concept of negotiation for its use in work-learning research.


  1. Andersson, A., & Lindstrom, B. (2017). Making collaboration work- developing boundary work and boundary awareness in emergency exercises. Journal of Workplace Learning, 29(4), 286–303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Archer, M. (1988). Culture and agency. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Archer, M. (2000). Being human: The problem of agency. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2003). Employer training expenditure and practices, 2001–2002. Retrieved from Accessed 24 June 2011
  5. Bailey, T., Hughes, K., & Moore, D. (2004). Working knowledge: Workbased learning and education reform. New York: RoutledgeFalmer.Google Scholar
  6. Bakhtin, M. (1986). Speech genres and other late essays (C. Emerson & M. Holquist, Eds., & V. W. McGee, Trans.). Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
  7. Bauman, Z. (1998). Work, consumerism and the new poor. Buckingham, UK: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Bauman, Z. (2000). Liquid modernity. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  9. Beck, U. (2000). The brave new world of work (P. Camiller, Trans.). Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  10. Beckett, D. (2001). Hot action at work: A different understanding of ‘understanding’. In T. Fenwick (Ed.), Sociocultural perspectives on learning through work (pp. 73–84). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  11. Beckett, D., & Hager, P. (2001). Life, work and learning: Practice in postmodernity. London: RoutledgeFarmer.Google Scholar
  12. Belanger, P. (2016). Self-construction and social transformation: Lifelong, lifewide and life-deep learning. Paris: UNSECO Institute for Lifelong Learning.Google Scholar
  13. Billett, S. (2001). Learning in the workplace: Strategies for effective practice. Sydney, Australia: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  14. 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
  15. Billett, S. (2006). Relational interdependence between social and individual agency in work and working life. Mind, Culture and Activity, 13(1), 53–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 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
  17. Billett, S. (2010). Learning through practice: Models, traditions, orientations and approaches. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Billett, S. (2014). Mimetic learning at work: Learning in the circumstances of practice. Cham, Switzerland: Springer.Google Scholar
  19. Billett, S. (2014b). Mediating learning at work: Personal mediations of social and brute facts. In C. Harteis, A. Rausch, & J. Seifried (Eds.), Discourses on professional learning: On the boundary between learning and working (pp. 75–93). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.Google Scholar
  20. Billett, S., Fenwick, T., & Somerville, M. (Eds.). (2006). Work, subjectivity and learning. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.Google Scholar
  21. Billett, S., & Smith, R. (2006). Personal agency and epistemology at work. In S. Billett, T. Fenwick, & M. Somerville (Eds.), Work, subjectivity and learning (pp. 141–156). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Billett, S., Smith, R., & Barker, M. (2005). Understanding work, learning and the remaking of cultural practices. Studies in Continuing Education, 27(3), 219–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Bourdieu, P. (1984). Distinction: A social critique of the judgement of taste. London: Routledge & Keegan Paul.Google Scholar
  24. Bourdieu, P. (1998). Practical reason. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  25. Braverman, H. (1974). Labor and monopoly capital. New York: Monthly Review Press.Google Scholar
  26. Brenninkmeijer, V., & Hekkert-Koning, M. (2015). To craft or not to craft: The relationships between regulatory focus, job crafting and work outcomes. Career Development International., 20(2), 147–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Brown, J., & Duguid, P. (1991). Organisational learning and communities of practice; Towards a unified view of working, learning and innovation. Organisation Science, 2(1), 40–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Carnoy, M. (2001). The family, flexible work and social cohesion at risk. In M. Loutfi (Ed.), Women, gender and work (pp. 305–325). Geneva, Switzerland: International Labour Organisation.Google Scholar
  29. Casey, C. (2006). Workers, subjectivity and decent work. In S. Billett, T. Fenwick, & M. Somerville (Eds.), Work, subjectivity and learning (pp. 229–245). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.Google Scholar
  30. CEDEFOP. (2016). European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training. Future skill needs in Europe: Critical labour force trends (Cedefop research paper no. 59). Luxembourg, Luxembourg: Publications Office. Available at:
  31. Cole, M. (1985). The zone of proximal development: Where culture and cognition create each other. In J. Wertsch (Ed.), Culture, communication and cognition: Vygotskian perspectives (pp. 146–161). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. (2011). Building Australia’s Future Workforce. Retrieved from
  33. Department of Education, Science and Training. (2005). Budget information at a Glance. Retrieved July 20, 2008, from
  34. DET Department of Education and Training. (2015). Department of Education and Training Annual Report 2015–16: Opportunity through learning. Australian Government.Google Scholar
  35. Dewey, J. (1896). The reflex arc concept in psychology. Psychological Review, 3, 357–370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Dewey, J. (1961). Democracy and education: An introduction to the philosophy of education. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  37. Dewey, J. (2002). Human nature and conduct: An introduction to social psychology. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.Google Scholar
  38. Dewey, J., & Bentley, A. F. (1975). Knowing and the known. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
  39. Edgell, S. (2006). The sociology of work: Continuity and change in paid and unpaid work. London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  40. Engestrom, Y. (1987). Learning by expanding: An activity-theoretical approach to developmental research. Orienta-Konsultit: Helsinki, Finland.Google Scholar
  41. Engestrom, Y. (1999). Innovative learning in work teams. In Y. Engestrom, R. Miettinen, & R. Punamaki (Eds.), Perspectives on activity theory (pp. 377–406). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Engestrom, Y. (2001). Expansive learning at work: Toward an activity theoretical reconceptualisation. Journal of Education and Work, 14(1), 133–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Engestrom, Y. (2004). The new generation of expertise: Seven theses. In H. Rainbird, A. Fuller, & A. Munro (Eds.), Workplace learning in context (pp. 145–165). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  44. Engestrom, Y. (2008). From teams to knots: Activity-theoretical studies of collaboration and learning at work. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Engestrom, Y. (2011). From design experiments to formative interventions. Theory and Psychology, 21(5), 598–628.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Engestrom, Y. (2016). Studies in expansive learning: Learning what is not yet there. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 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
  48. Filliettaz, L., de Saint-Georges, I., & Duc, B. (2010). Skiing, cheese fondue and Swiss watches: Anological discourse in vocational training interactions. Vocations and Learning, 3(2), 117–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Fiske, A. P. (1991). Structures of social life: The four elementary forms of human relations. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  50. Gallie, D., Felstead, A., Green, F., & Inanc, H. (2016). The hidden face of job insecurity. Work, employment and society. Published online before print January 29, 2016,
  51. Gibney, R., Zagenczyk, T., & Masters, M. (2009). The negative aspects of social exchange: An introduction to perceived organisation obstruction. Group and Organisation Management, 34(6), 665–697.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Giddens, A. (1984). The constitution of society. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  53. Giddens, A. (1991). Modernity and self-identity: Self and society in the late modern age. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  54. Goffman, E. (1959). The presentation of self in everyday life. New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  55. Hanninen, S., & Etelapelto, A. (2008). Promoting professional subjectivities and personal agency. In S. Billett, C. Harteis, & A. Etelapelto (Eds.), Emerging perspectives of workplace learning (pp. 97–112). Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense.Google Scholar
  56. Hegel, G. W. F. (1977). Phenomenology of spirit (A. V. Miller, Trans.). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  57. 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
  58. Holland, D., Skinner, D., Lachicotte, W., & Cain, C. (1998). Identity and agency in cultural worlds. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  59. Illeris, K. (2002). The three dimensions of learning. Roskilde, Denmark: Roskilde University Press.Google Scholar
  60. Illeris, K. (2007). How we learn: Learning and non-learning in school and beyond. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  61. Illeris, K. (2011). The fundamentals of workplace learning: Understanding how people learn and work in life. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  62. Jarvis, P. (2006). Towards a comprehensive theory of human learning. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  63. Jarvis, P. (2007). Globalisation, lifelong learning and the learning society. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  64. Jarvis, P. (2009). Learning to be a person in society: Learning to be me. In K. Illeris (Ed.), Contemporary theories of learning: Learning theorists in their own words (pp. 21–34). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  65. Kalleberg, A. (2011). Good jobs. Bad jobs: The rise of polarized and precarious employment systems in the United States, 1970s to 2000s. New York: Sage.Google Scholar
  66. Kirpal, S., Brown, A., & Dif, M. (2007). The individualisation of identification with work in a European perspective. In A. Brown, S. Kirpal, & F. Rauner (Eds.), Identities at work (pp. 285–313). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Kramer, R., & Messick, D. (1995). Negotiation as social process. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Leontyev, A. N. (1978). Activity, consciousness and personality. (M. Hall, Trans.). London: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  70. Lewicki, R., Barry, B., & Saunders, D. (2010). Negotiation (6th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.Google Scholar
  71. Littlejohn, A., Milligan, C., Fontana, R., & Margaryan, A. (2015). Professional learning through everyday work: How finance professionals self-regulate their learning. Vocations and Learning, 9(2), 207–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Macmurray, J. (1961). Persons in relation. London: Faber and Faber.Google Scholar
  73. Macquarie, J. (1973). Existentialism. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin.Google Scholar
  74. Malle, B. F., Moses, L. J., & Baldwin, D. A. (2001). Introduction: The significance of intentionality. In B. F. Malle, L. J. Moses, & D. A. Baldwin (Eds.), Intentions, and intentionality: Foundations of social cognition (pp. 1–26). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  75. McBrier, D., & Wilson, G. (2004). Going down? Race and downward occupational mobility for white collar workers in the 1990s. Work and Occupations, 31(3), 283–322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. McCann, H. J. (1998). The works of agency: On human action, will and freedom. New York: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  77. McGann, M., White, K., & Moss, J. (2016). Labour casualization and the psychosocial health of workers in Australia. Work, Employment and Society, 30(5), 766–782.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Merriam, S. B., & Caffarella, R. S. (1991). Learning in adulthood. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  79. Mezirow, J. (1991). Transformative dimensions of adult learning. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.Google Scholar
  80. 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
  81. NCVER. (2015). Australian vocational education and training statistics: Total VET students and course 2015. Adelaide, Australia: NCVER.Google Scholar
  82. NIACE. (2009). National Institute of Adult Continuing Education. In The private training market in the UK: Enquiry into the future for lifelong learning – Sector Paper 2. Leicester, UK: NIACE.Google Scholar
  83. Noon, M., & Blyton, P. (2002). The realities of work (2nd ed.). New York: Palgrave Publishers.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. OECD. (2014). Organisation for economic cooperation and development. Skills beyond school: Synthesis report. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  85. Piaget, J. (1977). The essential Piaget (H. E. Gruber & J. J. Voneche, Eds.). London/Henley, UK: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  86. Pinkard, T. (1996). Hegel’s phenomenology: The sociality of reason. Cambridge, NY: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  87. Pruitt, D. (1981). Negotiation behaviour. New York: Academic.Google Scholar
  88. Pusey, M. (2003). The experience of middle Australia: The dark side of economic reform. London: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Raiffa, H. (1990). The art and science of negotiation (2nd ed.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  90. Rainbird, H., Fuller, A., & Munro, A. (2004). Workplace learning in context. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  91. Richardson, S. (2004). Employers contribution to training. Adelaide, Australia: National Centre for Vocational Education Research.Google Scholar
  92. Rifkin, J. (1995). The end of work: The decline of the global labor force and the dawn of the post-market era. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons.Google Scholar
  93. Rogoff, B. (1995). Observing sociocultural activity on three planes: Participatory appropriation, guided participation and apprenticeship. In J. V. Wertsch, P. del Rio, & A. Alvarez (Eds.), Sociocultural studies of mind (pp. 139–164). New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Rule, J., Dunston, R., & Solomon, N. (2016). Learning and change in the redesign of a primary health care initiative. Journal of Workplace Learning, 7(4), 451–467.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Saner, R. (2005). The expert negotiator (2nd ed.). Leiden, MA: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.Google Scholar
  96. Sassen, S. (2014). Expulsions: Brutality and complexity in the global economy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Schaap, H., van de Schaff, M., & de Bruijn, E. (2017). Interactions in vocational education: Negotiation of meaning of students and teaching strategies. Studies in Continuing Education, 39(1), 52–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  98. Sennett, R. (2006). The culture of new capitalism. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  99. Smith, R. (2005). Epistemological agency and the new employee. Australian Journal of Adult Learning, 45(1), 29–46.Google Scholar
  100. 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
  101. Solomon, N. (1999). Culture and difference in learning. In D. Boud & J. Garrick (Eds.), Understanding learning at work (pp. 119–131). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  102. Soreide, G. (2016). High skilled newcomers’ identity: Learners or experts? Journal of Workplace Learning, 28(1), 2–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  103. Strauss, A. (1978). Negotiations: Varieties, contexts, processes and social order. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  104. Sturgess, J. (2013). A matter of time: Young professionals’ experiences of long work hours. Work, Employment and Society, 27(2), 343–359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  105. Swann, W. (1987). Identity negotiation: Where two roads meet. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 53(6), 1038–1051.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  106. Training (2015). 2015 Training Industry Report. Available at: Accessed 9 Dec 16.
  107. Vahasantanen, K., & Billett, S. (2008). Negotiating professional identity. In S. Billett, C. Harteis, & A. Etelapelto (Eds.), Emerging perspectives of workplace learning (pp. 35–49). Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense.Google Scholar
  108. Valsiner, J., & van der Veer, R. (2000). The social mind: Construction of the idea. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  109. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes (M. Cole et al., Eds.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  110. Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning and identity. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  111. 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
  112. Wertsch, J. V., del Rio, P., & Alvarez, A. (Eds.). (1995). Sociocultural studies: History, action and mediation. In Sociocultural studies of mind (pp. 1–35). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  113. Wilkins, R., & Wooden, M. (2014). Two decades of change: The Australian labour market 1993–2013. The Australian Economic Review, 47(4), 417–431.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  114. Williams, S. (2002). Individual agency and the experience of new deal. Journal of Education and Work, 15(1), 53–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  115. 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