02 SES 04 B, Slow Work and Learning Culture in Organisations and Schools
Work-based learning is increasingly prioritised in the different VET policy agendas and educational practices targeted to cope with the structural unemployment and skills mismatch. Policy makers, training providers and involved stakeholders of labour market pay a lot of attention to the different isues of organisation of work and learning activities and their smooth integration for attainment of the skills and competences relevant to the real work processes (European Commission, 2017). However, the fit of the work process for the learning purposes is still rather under-rated or considered through the lense of economic and organisational interests and ergonomic requirements. One of the fundamental characteristics of the work process that is highly important for the work-based learning is the duration or the pace of execution of work, generally considered as a key predisposition of work productivity. Productive work is predominantly understood and treated as a fast work oriented the maximisation of output (Bruni, 2014).
This paper aims to analyse the importance and value of the 'slow' work by disclosing the potential of 'slow' work in enabling holistic learning in the work process and acquisition of the corresponding competences and skills.
It starts from the discussion of the concept of 'slow' work by outlining the features of the 'slow' work that favour learning. Then there is analysed philosophical and cultural background of slow work by stressing importance of the national and sectoral contexts of 'slow' work. Finally, there are outlined and discussed methodological and societal challenges for the 'slow' work, such as globalisation of the labour market, international competition, technological development (Industry 4.0), restricted access of employment and work for youth.
Conceptual framework of research is based on the theories and concepts that highlight 'humanist' approach to work, as fulfillment of the destination and goal of human. Perretti (2011, 2015) describes the features of ideal work which enables and facilitates self-fulfillment of person in a society. Bruni (2014) pays attention to the detrimental effect of the current 'neoliberal' socio-economic climate to the work and labour market. Brown, Ashton and Lauder (2010) explore the implications of the 'global' auction in the labour market and dynamically changing global competition for jobs and high-skilled workforce for the accessibility of and value of the 'high-skilled' work. Looking from the perspective of the work psychology, Clot (2017) claims, that paying more attention to the affective aspects of work and their expression in the work process permits to prevent the degrading of psychical hygiene typical for only economically oriented approaches of work organisation. Clot examines the affectivity of work by stressing the importance of the empowering of person to act by converting the passions and ideas of actors into actions and vice-versum (Clot, 2017). He also claims, that the pace and rythm of work, it's intensiveness tend to eliminate the possibility of development of objects, destination and instruments of work. Intensification of work reduces it's affective intensiveness what has negative impact to the learning. On the opposite, reduction of the rythm of work operations may lead to the increase of the rythm of the psychological activity as organiser of the affective acting (Clot, 2017). The concept of the skilled work implies that skill and learning are the inherent features of the work. In the same time this concept contains a range of tensions between the skill formation (learning and training) and deployment of skilled labour in the work, where the pace or speed of work execution is important factor (Green, 2013). Current approaches of competence-based education are largelly driven by the goals of economic productivity and rationalisation of the wlork and learning time (Grugulis, 2007).
This is a conceptual paper. Research is based on the critical review of the literature and metha-analysis of the previous research in the field.
The concept of 'slow' work combines not only observable duration of performance, but also the scope and meaning of work, the role of actor in defining the scope and content of work, possibilities of critical reflection of the content of work and it's ethical, environmental and socioeconomic implications. Value driven performance of work, as well as reciprocity and gratuitousness in the creation and usage of work outputs are important elements of the 'slow' work, which favours learning of actor. The potential of application of 'slow' work in the work-based learning is limited by the existing dominant economic regimes of labour market, as well as by the performance driven human resource management and development practices. The main challenge in this field is how to create the niches of 'slow' work in this environment in order to facilitate development of holistic work-based learning. 'Slow' work is helpful for the realisation of approaches of learning outcomes based and competence-based vocational education. However, most of the current instruments and measures of competence-based vocational education and training, especially those based on functional behaviourism (Mulder, 2017), are oriented and adapted to the requirements of work based on 'fast' and narrowly 'output-oriented' performance.
Bruni, L. (2014). Fondati sul lavoro. Milano: Vita e Pensiero. Green, F. (2013), Skills and Skilled Work– An Economic and Social Analysis, Oxford University Press, Oxford. Grugulis, I. (2007), Skills, Training and Human Resource Development, Palgrave Macmillan, London. Lallement, M. (2007), Le travail, Une sociologie contemporaine, Éditions Gallimard, Paris. Mulder, M. (2017), “Competence and the Alignment of Education and Work”, in Mulder, M. (Ed.) Competence –Based Vocational and Professional Education. Bringing the Worlds of Education and Work, Springer International Publishing Switzerland, Bern, pp. 229-254. Nanteuil, de M. (2016), Rendre justice au travail, Presses Universitaires de France, Paris. Peretti, A. (2011), La sindrome di Starbuck e altre storie. Il lavoro attraverso la letteratura, Guerini e Associati, Milano. Peretti, Al (2015), Genius Faber. Il lavoro italiano come arte di vivere, IPOC, Milano. Schwab, K. (2016), The Forth Industrial Revolution, Penguin Random House, London.
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