This paper aims to present findings from an interpretative study documenting how mobile project workers develop their conceptions of work performed in liminal (in-between) positions. The overall purpose of the paper is to elucidate how people in time-limited and ambiguous work positions develop competences to manage their dynamic work conditions.
This research relies on two narratives of mobile project workers drawn from a larger longitudinal study. The empirical material includes diaries and multiple interviews. The analysis takes a narrative approach and identifies how and when the mobile project workers enhance their level of liminality competence.
Three processes were identified as significant in developing higher liminality competence: understanding the value of in-betweenness, embracing the role as an inside-outsider and translating the liminal experience through reflexivity.
The paper demonstrates the need for employers to support individuals in passing through the three processes and to support thoughtful mobility across different project settings to improve the liminality competence of their employees.
In the dual ambition of offering insights based on interpretative research on competence and putting greater emphasis on people working in in-between positions, this study enhances the understanding of how individuals develop their conceptions of work in general, and their conceptions of liminality at work in particular.
Borg, E. and Soderlund, J. (2015), "The nature and development of liminality competence: Narratives from a study of mobile project workers", Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 27 No. 3, pp. 176-192. https://doi.org/10.1108/JWL-12-2013-0110Download as .RIS
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