Exploring the Work Practices of Site Managers as Processes of Embodiment
Paper in proceedings, 2016
In construction, site managerial work has often been depicted as ‘muddling through’, skilfully solving problems as these inevitably crop up and trying to be everywhere at the same time. This perspective seems to give precedence to structural conditions in the industry when explaining micro-level practice on construction sites. Recently, however, organisation scholars have highlighted a need to investigate managerial practices as these unfold in everyday work. This means we ought to take into account the actual work activities that influence expectations, meanings and values about what is desirable and necessarily relate to everyday work. The purpose of this paper is to further explore how practice enactment and outcomes are embedded in the lived, everyday work activities of real human beings working on site. The focus is on the work stories of two site managers, a man and a woman, in a large Swedish construction company. Drawing on their stories we take a critical stance towards the established view that certain structural and cultural conditions are strong and sufficient precursors to predict work practice outcomes. We propose instead that practices enacted on site can better be understood as various processes of embodiment.