University of Oulu

Adaptive expertise in work life : implications for collaboration and shared expertise

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Author: Palosaari-Aubry, Päivi1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Education, Department of Educational Sciences and Teacher Education, Educational Sciences
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 28.9 MB)
Persistent link: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:oulu-201409051832
Language: English
Published: Oulu : P. Palosaari-Aubry, 2014
Publish Date: 2014-09-08
Physical Description: 96 p.
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Hyvönen, Pirkko
Reviewer: Hyvönen, Pirkko
Järvelä, Sanna
Description:

Abstract

This study aims at drawing a picture of adaptive expertise in work life, more precisely in the context of collaboration and shared expertise. The need for my study stems from the complex nature of today’s work life, which is under constant change. Thus, mere domain-specific expertise and routine expertise are not sufficient. There is a need for adaptive experts who are flexible, able to adapt to uncertain situations (Bransford, 2004; Hatano & Inagaki, 1986), successful learners and able to develop themselves along their careers (Bereiter & Scardamalia, 1993; Bransford et al., 2000; Brophy et al., 2004).

Expert studies have traditionally focused on specific areas of individual expertise in limited domains. Studies on expertise in complex and multidisciplinary contexts are mostly lacking as well as studies focusing on horizontal expertise, that is the expertise of the whole working group instead of mere individual expertise (Engeström, 2006). In my study the focus is on professional expertise and horizontal expertise at the same time, exploring experts’ performance in their complex collaborative work situations. Collaboration is necessary and inevitable in today’s expert work. On one hand collaboration offers many advantages for expert work. On the other hand, as shown by the previous studies (Hyvönen, Impiö, & Järvelä, 2014), the challenges in experts’ work are often related to collaboration.

My study seeks to explore how adaptive experts perceive collaboration and shared expertise as a part of their work, what kind of challenges they face in collaboration and how they act in those challenging situations. In addition, I examine what are the most important skills for adaptive experts in complex work domains. This understanding about adaptive expertise has implications for promoting adaptive expertise and collaboration in business life and in education.

The participants to this study are seven experts from environmental domain. I collected the data with semi-structured interviews and analyzed it with qualitative content analysis method. Following the guidelines for qualitative research I seek to understand and interpret the phenomenon under study. In addition, I pay attention to my role as a researcher as well as to other aspects of reliability and validity.

The results of my study confirm that collaboration is an important and inevitable part of expert work. The experts see many advantages in teamwork. Thus the employers should provide more opportunities for collaboration as well as adequate tools for collaboration and sharing of expertise. The findings of my study emphasize the importance of communication, interpersonal and teamwork skills as well as information and multidisciplinary skills in expert work. The findings are in line with previous studies (Hyvönen et al., 2014) showing the future-oriented nature of adaptive expertise.

Adaptive expertise has relevance across a variety of disciplines. Thus, the findings of my study can be transferred to other work contexts. Therefore, I give practical implications for enhancing collaboration and sharing of expertise in work life.

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Copyright information: © Päivi Palosaari-Aubry, 2014. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.