Performance at work: Identifying the smart workforce
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A compelling reason to understand the skill requirements of contemporary work practice is to determine how best to develop these skills. To paraphrase Glaser (1990), unless we understand clearly what is required for performance it is difficult to organise instruction to secure that performance. Moreover, it seems at this time there is a growing gap between the requirements of emerging and contemporary work practice and the ability of educational institutions and educational provisions to meet these requirements. Therefore, in order to identify the measures to be adopted in educational provisions for both preparing and enhancing further the ability to perform in the workplace, it is necessary to understand more fully those requirements. Taking up this theme, this chapter proposes bases for understanding what constitutes work practice. This is achieved through identifying dimensions of workplace activity and their demands for performance. It is proposed that smartness is defined in different ways in particular workplaces. Hence, contextual and situational factors are central to accounts of performance at work. A framework comprising dimensions of work practice is used to identify common aspects of work and their variables to determine how they are manifested in particular workplaces. These dimensions of work practice go beyond identifying 'technical skills' and work organisation to include the ways individuals engage in work required to be variously flexible, adaptable or, conversely, highly consistent given the particular requirement of the work practice. The chapter concludes with views about how these skills can be best developed.
training for a smart workforce
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