The Intra-Action of Employees and Materiality in the Constitution of Work-Related Identity

Pekka Pälli, Ari Kuismin, Emma Nordbäck

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articleScientificpeer-review


Applying a sociomaterial view to the material and human agency in doing work, this study explores the interdependent role of material arrangements and people doing knowledge-work. Using a Nordic university organization as an example, the study specifically highlights how material-physical environment and its affordances, including spaces of work as well as “high technology” such as electronics and “low technology” such as furniture – gain agency and become significant in terms of work-related identity. We introduce three modes of work: cognitive-, embodied-, and emotional work, which describe cognitive, bodily, and emotional actions that are entangled in the expressions of knowledge workers’ work-related identities. Focusing on identity as an achievement in agentive “intra-action” between the human and the material, the article contributes to the research on the effects of material arrangements and technology in the activities that knowledge-work in a digitalized workplace in particular consists of. Keywords: work-related identity, sociomateriality, material agency"
Original languageEnglish
ProceedingAcademy of Management Proceedings
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)16940
Publication statusPublished - 29.07.2020
MoE publication typeA4 Article in conference proceedings


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