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The importance of understanding Work-as-done: Implications for research and practice in organizational psychology

Thompson, Neill; Shapiro, Ethan; Ponton, Hazel


Neill Thompson

Hazel Ponton


This paper aims to describe how the concept of ‘work-as’ proxies can offer important insights for work and organizational psychologists. We explore how routine work activities can reflect those that are actually carried out when following a work-as-done perspective, rather than through the commonly used perspective of work-as-imagined. In highlighting these different perspectives, we suggest that they allow for a more in-depth understanding of what workers do and the processes they use. The value of this approach is illustrated through three case studies of applied research that have examined work in practice across the different contexts of job interviews, clinical handovers and decision making in teams. The paper challenges some of our existing assumptions of how we view work and highlights the benefits of adopting a work-as-done approach for practitioners and researchers.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 25, 2023
Online Publication Date Oct 27, 2023
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date Nov 15, 2023
Publicly Available Date Nov 15, 2023
Journal European Work and Organizational Psychology in Practice
Print ISSN 1736-6399
Publisher European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 17
Issue 2
Pages 116-142
Keywords observation, qualitative, work-as proxies, reality-based, work-as-done, work-as-imagined
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