In participatory activities in the workplace, employees are invited to raise problems and suggest improvements to the management. Although it is widely acknowledged that employees rarely control decisions in these settings, little is known about the interactional resources that employees and managers draw upon when negotiating consensus about which initiatives to pursue in the future. We analyse interactions from participatory meetings in an industrial setting in relation to the topic of work shoes, showing how the participants orient to both their relative deontic rights (e.g. who can suggest and decide on initiatives) and epistemic rights (e.g. who can define a situation as problematic and assert what can be done about it). The analysis suggests that besides their low deontic status, employees’ fragile epistemic status constitutes an important but overlooked challenge to achieving improved working conditions through the participatory activities.
Bibliographical notePublished online: September 25, 2019
- Conversation analysis
- Problem and solution work
- Safety and well-being
- Workplace health