'Working' knowledge and 'Working' identities: learning and teaching the new word order of the new work order

Year: 1999

Author: Farrell, Lesley

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper is concerned with the role that enterprise based teachers play in attempting to induct workers on the periphery of the global economy into the discourses of the global marketplace. It focusses on the micro-politics of language, arguing that economic globalisation is a social achievement that generates, and requires, new language and literacy practices. Workplace language and literacy practice changes to accommodate the demands of global networks of accountability (for instance, various Quality documentation mechanisms) and associated management structures like cross functional teams and these changes have a significant impact on work practice, work identities and constructions of working knowledge. Enterprise based language and literacy teachers can be implicated in the social and political processes by which new working identities and new working knowledges are constructed. The paper draws on an intensive eight month study of a restructuring textile manufacturing company as the company attempts simultaneously to achieve a QS 9000 rating, to establish a cascading set of cross functional teams and to implement an Action Learning Team training program.