I am Professor of Adult Education and Director of the Center for Activity Theory and Developmental Work Research at University of Helsinki. I am also Professor of Communication at University of California, San Diego, where I served as Director of the Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition from 1990 to 1995. I am Honorary Professor in the School of Education at University of Birmingham, UK.
I work within the framework of cultural-historical activity theory. I am known for my theory of expansive learning. I study transformations in work and organizations, combining micro level analysis of discourse and interaction with historical analysis and modeling of organizations as activity systems working through developmental contradictions.
My research groups use intervention tools such as the Change Laboratory, inspired by Vygotskys method of dual stimulation, to facilitate and analyze the redesign of activity systems by practitioners. My current research is focused on health care organizations, a bank, and a telecommunications company striving toward new forms of co-configuration and knotworking.
My recent books include Cognition and Communication at Work (edited with David Middleton, 1996), Perspectives on Activity Theory (edited with Reijo Miettinen and Raija-Leena Punamäki, 1999), and Between School and Work: New Perspectives on Transfer and Boundary Crossing (edited with Terttu Tuomi-Grohn, 2003). I have just finished a new book, Collaborative Expertise: Expansive Learning in Medical Work, to be published by Cambridge University Press.
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Engestrom, Yrjo (1999): Expansive Visibilization of Work: An Activity-Theoretical Perspective. In Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 8 (1) pp. 63-93.
Engestrom, Yrjo, Engestrom, Ritva, Saarelma, Osmo (1988): Computerized Medical Records, Production Pressure and Compartmentalization in the Work Act. In: Greif, Irene (eds.) Proceedings of the 1988 ACM conference on Computer-supported cooperative work September 26 - 28, 1988, Portland, Oregon, United States. pp. 65-84.
(1996): Cognition and Communication at Work, Cambridge University Press,
(1999): Perspectives on Activity Theory (Learning in Doing Social, Cognitive and Computational Perspectives), Cambridge University Press,
Engestrom, Yrjo, Sannino, Annalisa, Fischer, Gerhard, Moerch, Anders I., Bertelsen, Olav W. (2010): Grand challenges for future HCI research: cultures of participation, interfaces supporting. In: Proceedings of the Sixth Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction , 2010, . pp. 863-866. http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1868914.1869049
(1990): Learning, Working and Imagining, Orienta-Konsultit Oy,
(2009): Activity Theory in Practice: Promoting Learning Across Boundaries and Agencies, Routledge,
Engestrom, Yrjo (2008): From Teams to Knots: Activity-Theoretical Studies of Collaboration and Learning at Work (Learning in Doing: Social, Cognitive and Computational Perspectives), Cambridge University Press,
Cole, Michael, Engestrom, Yrjo (1993): A cultural-historical approach to distributed cognition. In: "Distributed Cognitions: Psychological and Educational Considerations (Learning in Doing: Social, Cognitive and Computational Perspectives)" Cambridge University Press .