Dimensions of expansion for configuring learning spaces in global work

Hanna Toiviainen, Sahara Sadik, Helen Bound, Pier Paolo Pasqualoni, Padma Ramsamy-Prat

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Purpose: Technological innovation and the flexibilisation of labour markets have expanded the pool of workers engaged in globally distributed work. This paper aims to propose an analytical framework to understand and support the productive professional learning of those engaged in global work. Drawing on the theory of expansive learning in the cultural-historical activity theory tradition the study aims to stimulate and enrich the conceptual notion of work as a learning space in the discussion of workplace learning particularly in global work. Design/methodology/approach: Iteration between theory and data is applied to identify the dimensions of expansion for the configuration of learning spaces in global work. Data are drawn from the experiences of 10 professionals selected by purposive sampling in Austria, Italy, the Netherlands and Singapore. Findings: Six dimensions of expansion are identified as challenging and potentially empowering for professionals’ configuration of learning spaces in global work: social-spatial, material-instrumental, moral-ethical, political-economic, personal-professional and temporal-developmental. Originality/value: The conceptual framework for the dimensions of expansion of learning spaces provides the broad strokes for reflexive curricula that democratise the learning and development of professionals in global work, who are currently underserved given the national orientation of vocational education and training and professional development ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Workplace Learning
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Cultural-historical activity theory
  • Expansive learning
  • Global work
  • Learning space
  • Narratives of learning
  • Transnational careers

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Development
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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