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Competence and boundary less work contexts: A frame of reference in progrss
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
2007 (English)Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]


Structural changes in the transition into post-industrial society are associated with dissolved time and space boundaries of work, here referred to as boundaryless work. This seems to require more complex and autonomic ways of knowing and acting, individually as well as collectively which call for theoretical considerations.

A frame of reference

The aim of the paper is to present a tentative theoretical frame of reference, entitled a transactional approach, generated from studies of unemployment and young people’s work socialization. Four broad competencies have been found to be of interest, namely, cognitive, communicative, collective and existential competence dimensions. Each of these refers to both capabilities of the individual and possibilities in the environment which underlines competence as an interaction between man and the external world.

Findings and discussions

Demands associated with boundaryless conditions will be elucidated in terms of the four

competence dimensions on the base of e.g. studies of persons in work contexts such as independent consultants, mobile working civil servants and free lancing journalists. Results indicate that the more boundaryless work contexts, the higher the demands on collective and existential competence. Furthermore advantages regarding individual autonomy appeared as connected with disadvantages regarding communication and collective integration. Generally the competence needed to master boundaryless conditions seemed to include all of the four competence dimensions integrated on a “meta-cognitive” level.


The frame of reference in progress has proved to be a fruitful approach so far and will be elaborated further in order to study decentralized work settings. This bring to the fore issues regarding the interconnections between the competence dimensions, what hampers and promotes transformations towards more complex competence levels and how individual and collective aspects are interrelated.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-18726OAI: diva2:185249
Paper vid 5th Conference on Researching Work and Learning (RWL5), Cape Town. South africa, 2-5 December 2007Available from: 2009-01-27 Created: 2009-01-27Bibliographically approved

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