Yrjö Engeström's research while affiliated with University of Helsinki and other places

Publications (105)

Article
Theories of agency are often borrowed from psychology and sociology; truly educational theories of agency are rare – theories that not only classify and measure dimensions of agency but enable us to understand how its formation can be pedagogically facilitated. Based on Sannino’s recent work on transformative agency by double stimulation (TADS), a...
Article
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The article outlines four generations of theorizing and research on work and learning within the Finnish school of activity theory. The main focus of the paper is on the evolution of the unit of analysis through the four generations, from mediated action to a collective activity system, to multiple-interconnected activity systems, and most recently...
Article
This article introduces key concepts of activity theory and expansive learning. Expansive learning builds on the foundational ideas of the cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT). It is a research approach designed for studying the complexities and contradictions in authentic workplace environments. Change Laboratory is a formative intervention...
Article
The article examines the potential of the dialectical principle of ascending from the abstract to the concrete for transforming practices of learning. It is shown that V.V. Davydov’s work has created a foundation for such transformation. The theory of expansive learning builds on Davydov’s legacy and brings the principle of ascending from the abstr...
Book
Cambridge Core - Organisational Sociology - Expertise in Transition - by Yrjö Engeström
Article
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Artiklis analüüsitakse, kuidas Brasiilias São Paulos loodi haridusjuhtidele mõeldud kujundava sekkumisprojekti käigus uus hariduskorralduse kontseptsioon. Võgotskile ja Leontievile tuginedes esitasime küsimuse, milline on osalejate isikliku arusaama ja hariduskorralduse sotsiaalse tähenduse vastastikmõju ühise kontseptsiooni kujundamisel. Ühise kon...
Article
The purpose of this paper is to analyze how a new concept of educational management was produced in a formative intervention project for manager educators in the city of São Paulo, Brazil. Drawing on Vygotsky and Leontiev, we asked: What is the nature of the interplay between participants’ personal senses and the societal meaning of educational man...
Chapter
Mobile workers are professionals who frequently work on the move, far from a fixed workplace, often performing knowledge-intensive activities. Mobility challenges creation and sharing of knowledge among these professionals, and the existing literature lacks powerful theoretical frameworks conducive to creating supportive learning pathways for them...
Article
Статья посвящена основным идеям культурно-исторической теории деятельности и вызовам нового времени, встающим перед ней. Особое внимание уделяется работе так называемой Хельсинской школы теории деятельности. В первой части статьи мы описываем революционные идеи, лежащие в основе теории и уходящие корнями в работы Маркса и Выготского, а также рассма...
Article
The study examines learning in home care visits aimed at systematic facilitation of clients’ physical mobility. Building on the theory of expansive learning, the article asks what kinds of learning cycles may be identified in home care encounters charged with implementing the new Mobility Agreement practice, what kinds of interplay may be detected...
Article
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine the generation of innovations by employees and the creation of initiative paths, and to discover which factors contribute to the implementation of an initiative. Design/methodology/approach Based on longitudinal qualitative research, the study explores the profiles of initiative paths and the types...
Chapter
The context of science education is expanding beyond the classroom. This chapter examines five layers of this expansion, namely, (1) bringing elements of societal practices into classroom instruction, (2) understanding the entire school as an activity system and community of learning, (3) pursuing science learning in activity systems outside the sc...
Article
This commentary explores conflicts and dissonances between my own views, based on cultural-historical activity theory, and three key ideas presented in the articles of this special issue, namely (a) technology as partner, (b) agency as hybridization, and (c) historicity without contradictions. I hope that the dissonances I put forward will evoke cu...
Article
Formative interventions and the specific method of the Change Laboratory (CL) are presented as examples of intervention research that generates actionable and societally impactful knowledge. In contrast with stabilization knowledge that fixates phenomena into static categories, actionable knowledge is understood here as collaborative and generative...
Article
O artigo explora a possibilidade de desenvolver uma metodologia para estudar o surgimento da ação agentiva experimentalmente. Ele discute as limitações da pesquisa experimental clássica e busca uma perspectiva diferente sobre a questão do controle. O argumento começa por analisar como o conceito de uma experiência tem se expandido ao longo dos anos...
Article
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This commentary focuses on the ways the set of articles in this issue, taken together, engage an important and much needed conversation in design-based approaches to inquiry: that is, what does it mean to do work in and with nondominant communities? Drawing on cultural historical activity theory, decolonizing methodologies, and indigenous perspecti...
Article
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The article examines formative interventions as we understand them in cultural-historical activity theory, and reflects upon key differences between this intervention research tradition and design-based research as it is conceived in the learning sciences tradition. Three projects, including two Change Laboratories (CL), are analyzed with the help...
Article
The article argues that the crucial task of expansive learning is to generate alternatives to capitalism in human activities, organizations and communities. To meet this challenge, the article discusses two areas of current development in the theory of expansive learning. The first area is transformative agency and double stimulation; the second ar...
Article
Purpose The paper aims to examine organizational authoring understood as a longitudinal, material and dialectical process of transformation efforts. The following questions are asked: To which extent can a Change Laboratory intervention help practitioners author their own learning? Are the authored outcomes of a Change Laboratory intervention futil...
Article
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Abstract The paper analyzes a collaborative learning process among Finnish pre-service teachers planning their own learning in a self-regulated way. The study builds on cultural- historical activity theory and the theory of expansive learning, integrating for the first time an analysis of learning actions and an analysis of types of interaction. We...
Article
This study presents a systemic innovation in the context of Integrated Pest Management – IPM. We introduce the Change Laboratory method as a tool for transforming pest management in a community of greenhouse firms that are interdependent through a shared pest. The objective of the study was to see if the Change Laboratory method, based on an activi...
Article
This article analyzes the problems of bringing in social media in a traditional, hierarchical organization. Difficulties rise from the contradiction between the bureaucratic approach of an organization and the collaborative community approach connected to social media. A change in the role of a developer is analyzed through a case study. The data w...
Article
Inspired by Susan Leigh Star’s work, we propose a conceptual grammar for analyzing and comparing culturally and historically different kinds of collaboration. Drawing on cultural-historical activity theory and Bakhtin’s theorizing, the grammar is tested and concretized with the help of the macroscale case of different types of social movements and...
Article
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What are the key characteristics of double stimulation in an everyday work activity facing transformations? We will present and test a conceptual model of the critical encounter as a potential site of double stimulation at work. Our data consist of 26 videotaped home care visits understood as critical encounters. The home care workers and the elder...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This symposium will introduce and illustrate the Socio-cultural/CHAT family of approaches to Design Research. Design Research has become central to the Learning Sciences. It is a key strategy for the study of learning in settings outside the laboratory, and it embodies the twin goals building theoretical knowledge about learning and contributing to...
Article
Changes and transformations in organisations are traditionally initiated by the management. This approach does not, however, encourage the agency of all the members in an organisation to engage in cooperative development of the activity. This paper presents an analysis of the development of participants’ transformative agency in a Change Laboratory...
Article
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Knotworking w bibliotekach uniwersyteckich: studium dwóch przypadków z Uniwersytetu Helsińskiego Streszczenie: Bibliotekarze z bibliotek uniwersyteckich muszą sprostać ogromnym zmianom w swojej pracy. Zmiany te związane są m.in. z rozwojem Internetu, digitalizacją zasobów czy rosnącym użyciem nowych kanałów wyszukiwania informacji przez najważniejs...
Article
In this interview Prof. Engeström discusses his professional trajectory and interest in cultural-historical activity theory with a focus on its insights into the fields of work and human development. He comments on recent transformations within this theoretical orientation, many of them promoted by his research into a variety of workplaces and orga...
Article
The article presents a process of collective formation of a new concept of mobility between home care workers and their elderly clients, who are at the risk of losing physical mobility and functional capacity. A new tool called mobility agreement was introduced to facilitate the inclusion of regular mobility exercises in home care visits and in the...
Article
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Librarians in academic libraries are facing major changes in their work due to, e.g., the internet, digitization, and increasing use of new channels for information retrieval by their most important clients, namely researchers. This creates challenges for librarians: both to deepen their own expertise and to develop innovative service models for th...
Article
The theory of expansive learning has been applied in a large number of studies on workplace learning and organizational change. However, detailed comprehensive analyses of entire developmental interventions based on the theory of expansive learning do not exist. Such a study is needed to examine the empirical usability and methodological rigor affo...
Article
The article examines strengths and limitations of three examples of well known post-behaviorist process theories of learning: Norman and Rumelhart, Kolb, and Nonaka and Takeuchi. Two central shortcomings are found in these theories, namely universalism and separation of learning from instruction. After that the article analyzes Davydov's theory of...
Article
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to introduce a new methodological framework for the identification and analysis of different types of discursive manifestations of contradictions. Design/methodology/approach – The paper is based on the dialectical tradition of cultural-historical activity theory. The methodological framework is developed by m...
Chapter
Our analysis focuses on a long-term process of design that took place as collaboration between different stakeholder groups and aimed at creating a complex set of artifacts for the purpose of facilitating learning in a work organization. We will put particular emphasis on the emergence of hybrid language, hybrid concepts, and hybrid forms of knowle...
Article
Der Beitrag von Yrjö Engeström „Activity Theory and learning at Work“ wurde 2010 zum ersten Mal in dem Handbuch „The Sage Handbook of Workplace Learning“ veröffentlicht. Yrjö Engeström hatte uns einen aktuellen Beitrag für unser Buch zugesagt, konnte diese Zusage aber auf Grund einer längeren Krankheit leider nicht einhalten. Deshalb haben wir uns...
Chapter
The article argues for a historical perspective on mobility and learning. In social production or peer production, mobility takes the shape of expansive swarming, sideways transitions and boundary-crossing. The notion of wildfire activities is proposed to point out that activities such as birding, skateboarding, and disaster relief of the Red Cross...
Article
Change Laboratory, a developmental work research methodology that stands at the crossroad of education, knowledge management and knowledge creation, is presented as a meta-tool for involving growers in transforming the innovation process of pest management. The tool was used in Finnish Ostrobothnia greenhouse cluster to develop collective managemen...
Article
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The paper examines studies based on the theory of expansive learning, formulated in 1987. In recent years the theory has been used in a wide variety of studies and interventions. The theory builds on foundational ideas put forward by Vygotsky, Leont’ev, Il’enkov, and Davydov, key figures in the Russian school of cultural–historical activity theory....
Conference Paper
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This panel will analyze the research activities (including objectives, theoretical foundations, developments, synergy, and differences) of three research centers: • Center for Research on Activity, Development, and Learning (CRADLE), University of Helsinki, with a research focus on "expansive learning"; • Center for LifeLong Learning and Design (L3...
Chapter
Full-text available
The examination of an effort to move home care from mass production toward co-configuration and as an example of expansive concept formation at work based on the analysis of the new forms of agency generated through the use of the Mobility Agreement.
Article
In a previous attempt to outline the challenges facing cultural-historical activity theory, I observed two opposite tendencies in our field: One force pulls researchers toward individual applications and separate variations of certain general, often vague ideas. The other force pulls researchers toward learning from each other, questioning and cont...
Article
Contrarily to most workplace studies which focus on temporally and spatially compact and stable “centers of coordination”, this paper attempts to direct attention to an almost opposite type of work organization. It refers to work which requires active construction of constantly changing combinations of people and artifacts over lengthy trajectories...
Article
Attempts to identify an intermediate unit between collective activity and individual action within activity theory are useful and necessary. While several possible conceptualizations have been put forward, engagement is a relevant candidate for naming such a unit. However, the elaboration of such a unit opens up difficult theoretical questions whic...
Chapter
The Setting, the Intervention and the InnovationActivity—Theoretical ConceptualizationDesign and Implementation of the ‘Final Project’: Transforming the Teachers' Construction of StudentsThe Power of Multi-voicednessConclusion
Conference Paper
The discussion of design experiments has largely ignored the Vygotskian tradition of formative interventions based on the principle of double stimulation. This tradition offers a radical approach to learning reasearch which focuses on the agency of the learners. The principle of double stimulation is used and developed further in the intervention m...
Book
Teams are commonly celebrated as efficient and humane ways of organizing work and learning. By means of a series of in-depth case studies of teams in the United States and Finland over a time span of more than ten years, this book shows that teams are not a universal and ahistorical form of collaboration. Teams are best understood in their specific...
Article
INTRODUCTION. This chapter examines Vygotsky's method of double stimulation as a basis for formative interventions in the workplace. I argue that double stimulation is radically different from such intervention approaches as the design experiments currently discussed in educational research. Double stimulation is, above all, aimed at eliciting new,...
Article
An intervention study aimed at analyzing and transforming work and learning in three organizations (a bank, a primary health care center, and a hi-tech company) allowed us to investigate forms of coconfiguration work in which there is a focus on the development of products and services that adapt to the changing needs of users. The working hypothes...
Article
INTRODUCTION In this paper, I will approach interaction design from the viewpoint of cultural-historical activity theory (Leont'ev, 1978, Engeström, Miettinen & Punamäki, 1999). My central arguments may be condensed in the following five.
Article
In psychology and education, values are usually understood as personal preferences or subjective orientations toward the world. In other words, values are firmly located inside the individual subject's mind. While this may correspond to much of our everyday experience, there is also a very different, if not diametrically opposite, way of locating v...
Article
The chapter makes an attempt at hybridization between three relatively separate fields of inquiry: (a) theories and studies of collective intentionality and distributed agency, (b) theories and studies of social capital in organizations, and (c) cultural–historical activity theory. Employees’ collective capacity to create organizational transformat...
Article
The use of e-learning environments to support teaching and learning has had great impact on the way content is developed and managed. In most cases, both teachers and students have had to re-adapt the way they prepare, access and engage with educational matter. The adjustment in human mechanisms for organising and interacting with educational conte...
Article
On China’s current path toward modernization, information sharing and effective communication become major learning challenges. This article explores how the change and emerging tensions are managed. Data collected from a Sino-foreign joint venture and a Chinese joint-stock company, analyzed within the framework of cultural-historical activity theo...
Article
Focuses on the theories and study of organizational and workplace learning. Outlines the landscape of learning in co-configuration settings, a new type of work that includes interdependency between multiple producers forming a strategic alliance, supplier network, or other such pattern of partnership which collaboratively puts together and maintain...
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The following theoretical challenges concerning learning in organizations and at work are examined in the study. First, organizational learning is not only the formation of collective routines; it is also tool-creation and implementation. Second, tools evolve as they are implemented. Third, tools become powerful when they become an interconnected i...
Article
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Professionals make history in future‐oriented discursive actions that can be made visible and analysable. The article analyses sessions in which medical professionals, together with the patient and researcher‐interventionists, discuss the care of a patient with multiple chronic illnesses, aiming at the creation of a new, collaborative...
Article
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The concept of e-learning is increasingly being used to describe the deployment of information and communication technologies (ICT) to support educational activities in various spheres of life. As a result, ICT is being heralded as a catalyst for innovations in teaching and learning. For developers of educational technology, this perspective highli...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
this paper, the entire teaching staff of a middle school engaged in a year-long effort to change their instructional practices by means of incorporating in formation and communication technologies in pilot curriculum units. However, the means were not seen as the end -- or to put in activity-theoretical terms, the tools were not confused the object...
Conference Paper
A viable theory of work-related learning needs to be founded on an analysis of the historical development of work. A new landscape of learning emerges as work is transformed from mass production and mass customization toward co-configuration of customer-intelligent products and services with long life cycles. The purpose of this three-year project...
Conference Paper
Technology-driven CSCL solutions are often difficult to integrate into the instructional practices of a school community. We report on an intervention study in a middle school where the entire teaching staff engaged in a year-long effort to change their instructional practices by means of incorporating information and communication technologies in...
Article
Cultural-historical activity theory has evolved through three generations of research. The emerging third generation of activity theory takes two interacting activity systems as its minimal unit of analysis, inviting us to focus research efforts on the challenges and possibilities of inter-organizational learning. Activity theory and its concept of...
Article
Cultural-historical activity theory (Cole & Engeström, 1993; Engeström, Miettinen & Punamäki, 1999; Leont’ev, 1978) places decision making in the context of object-oriented, collective and artifact-mediated activity systems constantly undergoing developmental transformations. Decisions are not made alone, they are indirectly or directly influenced...
Article
Cultural-historical activity theory is a new framework aimed at transcending the dichotomies of micro- and macro-, mental and material, observation and intervention in analysis and redesign of work. The approach distinguishes between short-lived goal-directed actions and durable, object-oriented activity systems. A historically evolving collective...
Article
Why are developers, in many cases, unable to identify user problems, even when the information is ready and available? How do such miscommunication situations actually emerge and how could research and information technology help developers and users to overcome this problem? To tackle these questions, we examine a critical phase in the lifespan of...
Article
Work is commonly made visible along two dimensions: the linear and the socio-spatial. Both are limited to depicting work in terms of relatively discrete actions. Activity theory introduces the crucial distinction between collective activity systems and individual actions. Expansive visibilization of collective activity systems offers a powerful int...
Article
Work is commonly made visible along two dimensions: the linear and the socio-spatial. Both are limited to depicting work in terms of relatively discrete actions. Activity theory introduces the crucial distinction between collective activity systems and individual actions. Expansive visibilization of collective activity systems offers a powerful int...
Article
Argues for a multidimensional view of expertise in which both the vertical and the horizontal dimensions are relevant for the understanding and acquisition of expertise. Two features of this view of expertise are polycontextuality (engagement in multiple ongoing tasks) and boundary crossing (transporting of ideas, concepts, and instruments from see...
Article
Activity theory suggests three principles for contextual analysis of clinical cognition: orientation to objects in cognition, role of contradictions in cognition, and the importance of collaboration in cognition. Focusing on the objects of cognition calls attention to differences across medical work settings. There is an interconnection between the...
Article
Kirjoituksessa esitetään laajaa ja moniulotteista asiantuntemuksen mallia, missä pystysuoran ulottuvuuden rinnalla on myös vaakasuora ulottuvuus. Asiantuntijat joutuvat työssään toimimaan lukuisten rinnakkaisten toimintakontekstien puitteissa ja liikkumaan niiden välillä.
Article
Aineisto on Opiskelijakirjaston digitoimaa ja Opiskelijakirjasto vastaa aineiston käyttöluvista
Article
The separation of school learning from experience and cognition outside the school is illustrated with the help of a study of students' misconceptions of the phases of the moon. Three new approaches to overcome the encapsulation of school learning are discussed: Davydov's theory of ascending from the abstract to the concrete in learning and instruc...
Article
[examines] collective remembering and collective forgetting from the point of view of activity theory / put forward a conceptual framework for analysing phenomena of organizational remembering and forgetting / this conceptual framework will be applied in analyses of data from two settings of medical work / the first setting is a hospital clinic in...
Conference Paper
In this paper, we describe the influence of physical proximity on the development of collaborative relationships between scientific researchers and on the execution of their work. Our evidence is drawn from our own studies of scientific collaborators, ...
Article
First published in 1987, Learning by Expanding challenges traditional theories that consider learning a process of acquisition and reorganization of cognitive structures within the closed boundaries of specific tasks or problems. Yrjö Engeström argues that this type of learning increasingly fails to meet the challenges of complex social change and...
Article
I will argue that employees'collective capacity to create organizational transformations and innovations is becoming a crucially important asset that gives a new, dynamic content to notions of social and collaborative capital. In philosophy, sociology, anthropology and cognitive science, such capacity is conceptualized as distributed agency or coll...

Citations

... The concept of hegemony refers to "a particular way of conceptualizing power which among other things emphasizes how power depends upon achieving consent or at least acquiescence rather than just having the resources to use force, and the importance of ideology in sustaining relations of power" (Fairclough, 2003, p. 45). The observation of serious inequalities in access to educational success for pupils from disadvantaged social backgrounds could lead to a pessimistic vision, suggesting that any possibility of transformation of the system is doomed to fail (Engeström, 2017). However, for Sannino and Vaino (2015), who pointed out the importance of the concept of hegemony in a study on gender inequality in Finnish universities, "dominance based on consensus is a contradictory phenomenon that is historically constructed and thus bound to transformations" (p. ...
... Learning attained in boundary-crossing between academic and work contexts is an important resource for learning. Engeström, Engeström, and Kärkkäinen [21] examine it, referring to boundary learning as facing norms, knowledge and power. Communities of inquiry supported by instructional technology are seen as a means to transform higher education [22]. ...
... The ultimate goal of Learning Lab is facilitating expansive learning-learning what is not there yet (Engeström, 2016). Expansive learning is about production of objectively new systems out of actions manifesting the contradictions of the preceding system, such as racial disproportionality (Engeström, 2016 Ko et al., 2021). ...
... Arthur Bakker et al. (2011) note that in sociocultural and cultural-historical theories, challenges in communication between practices are often conceptualised in terms of boundaries. Activity theory (Engeström et al. 1997) has been employed as a theoretical lens to analyse workplaces and their boundaries as characterised by their own object of activity. Evans, Waite and Kersh (2011) look at workplace contexts and spaces through the lens of social ecology theories. ...
... They took this idea back and worked over several years with a nearby school -Creative Academy. Micro-projects began as a germ cell, a compressed idea that ascended and expanded into diverse concrete forms (Engeström, 2020). It was a practical idea that could embody the eight principles. ...
... Such a situation helped them to improve their didactic skills, and to develop the organisation as a whole. The Hong Kong case is here in line with knowledge obtained from different societal, cultural, and regional contexts, in which pedagogical and relational agency has been found to strengthen teachers' professional identities, with possibilities to improve and even transform classrooms and community practices amid educational changes and innovations (e.g., Engeström, Nuttall, and Hopwood 2020;Vähäsantanen 2015). ...