Understanding translation work: the evolving interpretation of a trade union idea

Catherine Cassell, Bill Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
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This paper uses data from a longitudinal, seven-year, cross-national study to explore the translation of a trade union idea. The aim of the paper is to examine and explicate the nature of the translation work undertaken to translate a trade union idea in a multi-organizational setting. In examining how the idea of the
learning representative initiative was translated into the New Zealand context we draw upon a narrative analysis to reveal the complexities of the dynamic and ongoing translation of the idea and identify the nature of the translation work required. As such we contribute to the literature on the translation of ideas firstly by explicating the concept of real-time translation work in a novel empirical context, and secondly theoretically, by drawing attention to the distinctive characteristics of trade union translation work. In doing so we argue
that translation work in this distinctive socio-political context requires ongoing vigilance and proprietorship of the idea by trade union actors and that such proprietorship is crucial in other cases where translators are coming from subordinate positions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1085-1106
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number8
Early online date19 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017


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