chapter  5
25 Pages

A tale of one factory: teams at work

WithJames Paul Gee, Glynda Hull, Colin Lankshear

Worker teams with a good deal of responsibility are a core feature of many new-capitalist businesses. They are intended to motivate and empower workers and engender full commitment to the business. A Discourse allows people to coordinate with other people, with various tools and technologies, including literacy practices, as well as with characteristic ways of talking, acting, interacting, and valuing so as to recognize and display various social identities. Teamco's training room was on the periphery of the building, off but adjacent to the shop floor. People who make their living with language are apt to be pleased with the wider literacy requirements of Teamco, viewing the practices as potentially humanizing. So, at Teamco, workers and managers alike must be Janus-faced. Managers, on the one side, must do whatever is necessary to keep their company afloat; on the other, they must treat their employees with trust and respect, for this is the way for a business to succeed these days.