Abstract

The interest that has centred on skills has developed from reflections on case studies carried out in the late seventies and early eighties. These case studies were of problems that arose in the workplace, and included nurses, doctors, foresters, social insurance office staff, meteorologists and others. The focus was on the epistemology of skill in working life. Increasingly, as the question “what is skill?” emerged at the center of worklife research, it was felt that work had to be understood from the perspective of the philosophy of science. Traditional epistemology was of little help in shedding light on this issue, because its concerns were too abstract. Skill, on the other hand, is something very particular, and its particularity cannot be captured in general theories, it can only be grasped through case studies. These case studies provide examples of the way solid judgement is built up over time, as a novice gradually develops his or her competence and, with talent and perseverance, expertise in the workplace. Both confidence and certainty are the hallmarks of the expert judgement that develops as a result of this process. Its distinctive characteristic is its success in dealing with unforeseen problems. Expertise, skill in the fullest sense, is less a matter of knowing more than it is a matter of knowing better.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bo Göranzon

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