Creating and sharing stories of work: from individual experience to collective reflection

Rydzik, Agnieszka (2017) Creating and sharing stories of work: from individual experience to collective reflection. In: Euro-TEFI Conference, 20- 22 August 2017, Aalborg University, Copenhagen.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Presentation)
Item Status:Live Archive


This paper explores the preposition that individual stories when shared collectively can become powerful catalysts for learning, reflection and empowerment. Individuals ‘use story to make sense of their lives’ (Boland & Griffin, 2015: 90) and ‘to make sense of the world that surrounds them, and their place in it’ (Forster et al., 1999). This paper argues that whilst individually stories are valuable and can foster reflection, it is when shared collectively that new understandings can emerge.

The interest of this paper lies in the often untold stories of work, specifically in students working part-time in tourism and hospitality. Students increasingly work while studying and due to these jobs being easy to get and promising flexibility of hours, tourism and hospitality has become a key employer of students. Early employments such as these can be fundamental for young people’s socialisation into the world of work, transitioning into adulthood, the formation of their career identities, attitudes to and perceptions of work (Pavis, Platt and Hubbard, 2002; Saks & Ashforth, 1997; Walmsley, 2016). Yet, little is known about student workers’ experiences of work, leaving their stories untold. Storytelling has been used in organisational research but the focus here is on how worker stories can be used to co-create new knowledge and provide learning opportunities.

This paper explores the potential of engaging students in storytelling to help them develop into more reflective, critical and ethical future tourism practitioners. Of interest here is an exploration of how young people narrate their stories of work and how they make sense of the critical incidents that take place in their workplace. These stories can be of
empowerment as well as disempowerment, transformation and trust, as well as exploitation and inequality.

The paper explores the potential of sharing these individually created stories collectively to foster group understanding of and critical refection on working conditions of student workers in tourism and hospitality. Through identifying shared experiences, these subjective, individualised incidents can become multi-voice collective shared understandings
and provide a new angle to examine these workplaces. Thus, enabling students to move from the perception of workplace experiences being isolated and normalised to ones shared among student workers.

Keywords:stories of work, tourism and hospitality labour, experiences, reflection
Subjects:L Social studies > L300 Sociology
N Business and Administrative studies > N800 Tourism, Transport and Travel
Divisions:Lincoln International Business School
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ID Code:28745
Deposited On:04 Oct 2017 07:21

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