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ABS031 - Within “our” reach: Collective possessive expansion among manufacturing managers at the end of the millennium

3.4 Transformative agency
2:10 PM, Thursday 31 Aug 2017 (20 minutes)
Possessive expression can be empirically examined as a barometer of psychological ownership—a measure of participation in activity—and its rise and fall and contents a view into cultural cognition in action. Possessive expression was measured as a gauge of psychological ownership among middle managers and supervisors employed at a gear manufacturing company at the turn of the millennium, in 1998. The uses of my and our were measured in texts written by 34 of 48 participants across consecutive sessions of a training workshop. Writing collected between weekly sessions was examined for changing rates of possessive expression, my and our, across sessions to test the hypothesis of possessive expansion across collective constructive activity. Pronoun rate analysis revealed a statistically significant increase in the rate of our across sessions. Negative correlations between company tenure and the rate of our suggested an effect of working years on quelling collective possessive expression in the workshop experience. Owned terms, cultivated by the workshop experience across sessions, were collated across writers and analyzed qualitatively for the ethnographic universe they together illuminated, the cultural portrait of manufacturing they comprised. Collective possessive expansion across workshop writing illustrated the developmental effect of constructive activity, revealed the cultural reach of possessive expression, and comprised a lens into the sociocultural priorities of manufacturing work at the dusk of a manufacturing era.
The City University of New York Graduate Center
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