Mobility Work: The Spatial Dimension of Collaboration at a Hospital
We posit the concept of Mobility Work to describe efforts of moving about people and things as part of accomplishing tasks. Mobility work can be seen as a spatial parallel to the concept of articulation work proposed by the sociologist Anselm Strauss. Articulation work describes efforts of coordination necessary in cooperative work, but focuses, we argue, mainly on the temporal aspects of cooperative work. As a supplement, the concept of mobility work focuses on the spatial aspects of cooperative work. Whereas actors seek to diminish the amount of articulation work needed in collaboration by constructing Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs), actors minimise mobility work by constructing Standard Operation Configurations (SOCs). We apply the concept of mobility work to the ethnography of hospital work, and argue that mobility arises because of the need to get access to people, places, knowledge and/or resources. To accomplish their work, actors have to make the right configuration of these four aspects emerge.