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Article
Publication date: 17 October 2022

Marta Piria, Mara Gorli and Giuseppe Scaratti

The study refers to a health-care organization engaged in adopting “home health care” as a new object of activity. This study aims to explore how the reconfiguration of…

Abstract

Purpose

The study refers to a health-care organization engaged in adopting “home health care” as a new object of activity. This study aims to explore how the reconfiguration of the object influences the transformative perspective, affecting not just a service but a broader approach and meaning behind patient care. It also investigates the main contradictions at play and the levers to support inter-organizational learning while facing the new challenges and change processes.

Design/methodology/approach

The work is based on a qualitative and ethnographic methodology directed to examine cultural, practical and socio-material aspects. The activity theory is assumed as a powerful approach to understand collective learning and distributed agency processes.

Findings

The renewal of the new object of work is analyzed as a trigger for shifts in representations, cultural processes and collective support implemented by the organization. Three agentic trajectories – technical, dialogical and collaborative agency – were cultivated by the management to deliver home health care through joint exercises of coordination and control, dialogical spaces and collaborative process.

Research limitations/implications

The data collection was disrupted by the pandemic. A follow-up study would be beneficial to inquire how the learning processes shifted or were influenced by the contextual changes.

Practical implications

This contribution provides a practical framework for health-care organizations aiming to navigate and explore the physiological tensions and contradictions emerging when the object of work is changed.

Originality/value

The paper develops the field of intra- and inter-organizational learning by presenting an intertwined and structural connection between these processes and the renewing of the object of work. It advises that processes of transformation must be handled with attention to the critical and collective dynamics that accompany sustainable and situated changes.

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

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