Re: [xmca] A Culture of Safety at Work

From: Marcia sueli pereira da silva SCHNEIDER <marciasu who-is-at>
Date: Wed Jan 16 2008 - 16:11:02 PST


I don't know if I'm right but according to Marcuschi, a brazilian author, a
non-responses can indicate or could be interpreted as a moment for
organizing and planning our thoughts


2008/1/16, Mike Cole <>:
> Its always difficult to interpret non-responses on XMCA, but the note that
> Helena sent in the middle
> of the culture discussion growing out of discussion of Andy's paper
> appears
> not to have been given
> much attention. Its a practical issue for Helena and for the workers and
> company involved.
> I sent the note re "web culture" in hopes of moving discussion in the
> direction of consideration
> of Helena's message, but also to doubtful effect.
> So, let me take a stab at being useful and thereby providing people
> another
> invitation to lend a hand.
> In my intermittent thinking about the question, my thoughts have returned
> often to the idea of "cultural
> styles" because, as in that literature, there appears to be a claim that
> there is some shared pattern of
> meaning and associated practices that apply, more or less, to condition
> all
> of the interactions among
> people in a common social group living in more or less common
> circumstances.
> "Culture of the classroom"
> and DIFFERENT "cultures of the classroom" may be at this level of
> generality. Perhaps "culture of machismo"
> in some societies or parts of societies?
> I also thought about the pilot's in Ed Hutchin's aircraft who have safety
> check lists and routines for going
> through them, and routines for ensuring that the routines are gone
> through,
> and rules about how to go
> through those routines, and sanctions for not going through those
> routines.
> A preliminary guess about how to talk about such group-specific, but
> presumably within-group pervasive
> phenomena in the case of a factory or workplace. In such cases culture
> refers to a combination of values
> and their associated practices which members recognize, recognize that
> others recognize them, and can be
> referred to with the expectation that they will be understood by others,
> so
> they are tools for constructing joint activity,
> a "shared reality." Gary Alan Fine in more elaborated treatments called
> this sort of cutlural system an idioculture.
> (Fine's definition can be interpreted a la Geertz, as an interpretive,
> idealistic approach to culture. This is not my
> reading; I prefer, a s n the parts of Geertz I use, to use it as a way
> to
> keep both material and ideal aspects of
> culture in mind).
> Perhaps this way of looking at things could prove useful, Helene. I got
> to
> thinking that if ALL that constituted the
> "Culture of the workplace" you were studying was safety, people would
> enter
> the building, sit down in a chair, and
> not move a muscle all day to be sure they were safe. Absurd, of course.
> They are engaged in productive activity
> and earning their livings, so they must, like Hutchin's pilots, do things
> that are not guaranteed safe. So as part
> of many of the practices constituitive of the particular activity system,
> safety is a value that gets included, with
> others, in what people do.
> If this is approximately correct, the place to start may be with the
> explicit practices where safety is named and
> included. And then work to ferret out implicit practices where it is
> present, although perhaps not explicitly
> named. And , passim Yrjo, look for the contradictions that arise when
> this value and its associated practices
> and shadings of practices conflict with other, co-existing cultural
> features of the setting.
> A glance at google suggests that there is a n existing
> literature applied
> to workplaces where some such approach
> as I am gesturing toward may live.
> mike
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Received on Wed Jan 16 16:12 PST 2008

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