'Being gentle' and being ‘firm’: an extended vocabulary of care as dynamic practice at work

Clare Mumford, David Holman, Leo Mccann, Maurice Nagington, Laurie Dunn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Framed by Tronto’s (1993) description of care as social process, and her third and fourth phases of ‘care-giving’ and ‘care-receiving’ as part of this process, this chapter deals with the issue of how care might be performed competently as a practical accomplishment in social interaction. From a discourse analysis of interview texts about ‘being gentle’ at work, we identify three different root metaphors from which practices of care are socially constructed. We project these root metaphors to build an extended vocabulary of care that helps to describe interpersonal care-giving as a changing dynamic practice. From this vocabulary, we offer some practical thoughts on the symbolic resources through which meanings of care may be generated. We also identify three potential areas for future research questions: around the multimodal nature of care; care within challenging work situations; and how competence may be defined in dynamic care-giving.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBusiness Ethics and Care in Organizations
EditorsMarianna Fotaki, Islam Gazi, Anne Antoni
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780429029943
ISBN (Print)9780367140601
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2019

Publication series

NameRoutledge Studies in Business Ethics


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