About Me

Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Professions and expertise

My current research has made it obvious that in the workplace expertise in the profession is equated with "knowledgeable" or "intelligent." A specialist often is hired over a generalist. However, is this truly the best use of organizational resources?

My husband was complaining that the last 3 consultants (specialists) that his department had hired have not worked out. Why? Because they are not able to take initiative and see the big picture. They can do their small piece as long as they receive direction outside of their specialization. They don't take the time to figure out what is needed outside of their small scope of work.

In looking at cross specialization, I have found that there is a long time frame for those from different professions and specialties to create shared knowledge. The reason is that initially each person comes in with their own sense of what is viable knowledge, often based on their profession. Even if these divergent ideas can be combined, there is also a need to create a shared understanding of the task and knowledge from the various departments.

It would seem to me that the first step in any group work should be to create a shared understanding of knowledge, standards, and group processes. This means that any use of a wiki or google docs for example, should begin with some discussion as to what and whose standards for knowledge will be used. This may take some time, but I would think the outcome would be a much deeper understanding and creation of knowledge.

Unfortunately, I am finding in our fast paced world, this is not considered good use of time. It is hard to measure "outcomes" especially if the group will not stay together. Of course, if an instrument were developed to measure the impact the knowledge would have on company production (like the multiplying effect in economics), then this time spent would have some economic basis.

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