Moving in, moving on: liminality practices in project-based work
2014 (English)In: Employee relations, ISSN 0142-5455, E-ISSN 1758-7069, Vol. 36, no 2, 182-197 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the practices mobile project workers rely upon to deal with their liminal work situation, i.e. a work situation in which they are “in-between” and do not have a clear long-term belonging to any specific organisation or project.
Design/methodology/approach – The study employs a qualitative approach and draws upon in-depth interviews with 24 engineers working for one of Scandinavia's leading technical consultancies. The aim of the qualitative data analysis was to identify a set of commonalities and differences in their experiences and ways of dealing with liminality.
Findings – The data indicate that mobile project workers experience their liminality in two separate dimensions; one which is primarily technical and task related, and one that is predominantly group related and social. These types of liminality are dealt with either actively, to lower or handle the ambiguity in the situation, or passively when the individual waits for the situation to be dealt with by others. Based on these two dimensions and types, the paper identifies and discusses four kinds of liminality practices.
Research limitations/implications – The paper demonstrates the importance of focusing on individuals in project-based work, and specifically how they deal with work in-between. The paper shows when and how individuals make use of different liminality practices in their work, and calls for further research on the different skill sets and competencies that are needed to deal with liminality.
Originality/value – By identifying four liminality practices applied in situations signified by the experience of being in-between, this study offers an important contribution to the literature on flexible and mobile work conditions. Thus, the paper contributes to the knowledge of threshold-like employment positions that denotes the everyday work situation for an increasing number of individuals engaged in knowledge-intensive and project-based work.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2014. Vol. 36, no 2, 182-197 p.
Employee attitudes, Employee involvement, Employee relations, Flexible labour, Labour mobility, Qualitative methods
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-103345DOI: 10.1108/ER-11-2012-0081ISI: 000346112000005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-103345DiVA: diva2:688590