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A practice-Based approach to safety as an emergent competence

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This chapter proposes to look at safety as a collective knowledgeable doing, i.e. a competency embedded in working practices. Therefore, by adopting a practice-based approach to inquire into how work is actually accomplished, we can study how knowing safe and safer working practices is kept and maintained within situated ways of working and talking about safety. The knowledge object ‘safety’ is constructed—materially and discursively—by a plurality of professional communities, according to specific scientific disciplines, controlling specific leverages within an organization, and talking different discourses. In a workplace, there are competing discourses: technological, normative, educational, economic, and managerial. Therefore, learning safer working practices is mediated by comparison among the perspectives of the world embraced by the co-participants in the production of safety as an organizational practice. Training and learning based on situated working practices presumes the collective engagement of researchers and participants in reflexivity, which can help to bring to the surface the experience knowledge embedded in practicing and transform it into actionable knowledge to produce practice changes. In fact, the engagement of practitioners, their experience knowledge and their care for what they do may enhance workplace resilience.




Gherardi, S. (2018). A practice-Based approach to safety as an emergent competence. In SpringerBriefs in Applied Sciences and Technology (pp. 11–21). Springer Verlag.

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