Coparticipation at work as a means to conceptualise the reciprocal bases for thinking, acting and learning, that constitutes knowing through paid work. Coparticipation emphasises the reciprocity between contributions to learning afforded by the social practice of work and how individuals decide to act in that practice. Coparticipation at work advances a view of learning through work. It also aims to contribute to deliberations about the relations between individuals and the social world in which they act.
There is a reciprocity between the social practice in which individuals participate and how individuals participate and engage with the practice. Reciprocally, these comprise two different bases for participation in work and learning – coparticipation at work. This reciprocal learning occurs at the intersection between the trajectories of the evolving social practice of particular workplaces and individuals’ socially-influenced personal histories or ontogenies (see Figure 1). Coparticipation also emphasises mutuality between contributions to knowing (thinking, acting, learning) afforded by the workplace, on the one hand, and how individuals decide to act in that practice, on the other hand.
Conceptually, it highlights the mutuality and irreducibility of these relations in ongoing processes that are associated with conscious thought and action. There is also intersubjectivity or relatedness that arise in these relations that are infinitely variable. Central to these relations are interpsychological processes that mutually transform both the object and subject. These transformations may be transformed qualitatively over time through ongoing coparticipation. The agency of the individual plays an important role.
Relations between doing, knowing and learning have been exercised and some fragments of these relations identified and some of their complexity illustrated. These only serve to indicate the extent of the task before psychological theories and practice. These include, understanding the relations between social practice and individuals’ thinking and acting further requires delineating and identifying the nature of the intersections, between social practice (i.e. workplaces) and how individuals engage in the social practice, the different kinds of intersections and relations, the different kinds of transformations in both interpsychological and intrapsychological processes as they occur and are embedded in both history and ontogeny (see Figure 2).