Complex problem solving in a workplace setting

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Middleton, Howard
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Lorin Anderson

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2002
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Abstract

This chapter addresses the nature of complex problems in the tourism and hospitality industry, and the way in which workers within that industry identify and attempt to solve those problems. The data source for this study consisted of interviews with office staff and managers in each business. Cognitive theory is used to analyze and interpret the data. There were two important findings. First, it was possible to construct a taxonomy of problem types and problem-solving strategies from the features of each work site. Second, the most widely used problem-solving strategies across sites were those that could be termed "trial and error". However, in all sites the nature of the problems encountered and the strategies employed to solve them varied as a function of quite site-specific circumstances. Although there were apparent similarities across sites that allowed the categories to be identified, the level of abstraction at which similarity was established was limited in the degree to which it was meaningful in specific situations. The chapter concludes with a number of implications for teaching.

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International Journal of Educational Research

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37

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1

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© 2002 Elsevier : Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher : This journal is available online - use hypertext links.

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Education

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