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Epistemology of practice and its consequences in practice: Educating for knowing-in-action in working life
Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Health and Welfare. Högskolan Dalarna, Sweden. (HAL)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6716-5972
2021 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Education and competence development are of increased interest in today’s society and organizations, to increase the wellbeing, lifelong learning, and mobility of the labor force, and contribute to companies’ global competition. As a consequence, formal and informal education is growing. However, there are dilemmas when developing professional competence e.g. bridging the gap between theory and practice, trying to increase employability in higher education, and the degradation of professionals’ knowledge. These dilemmas can partly be due to epistemology and the difficulty to act in accordance with one’s epistemology. Previous research has presented Technical Rationality (TR) as the cause of the problems and an epistemology of practice as an alternative approach. 

The aim of this thesis is to contribute to a deeper understanding of a holistic epistemology, i.e. what an epistemology of practice is, and its consequences for the view of professional competence and educational design in different contexts. Beyond this, the aim is also to analyze the quality of learning needed to reassess one’s epistemology. The theoretical framework is based on Schön’s work on epistemology of practice, the competence of a professional i.e. knowing-in-action, and educational design i.e. the reflective practicum. Mezirow’s theory of Transformative Learning (TL) is used to analyze the quality of learning. 

The four included studies are used as examples of different educational situations in different contexts; in Studies Ι and ΙΙΙ how managers in a research intervention learn to become enabling managers, in Study ΙΙ, how pupils in a vocational school are learning to minimize work environment risks in their future work, and in Study ΙV how HR students learn to foster collective learning within organizations. 

The results show the importance of being aware of one’s epistemology, and to act according to it. From an epistemology of practice approach, the overall conclusion is that adding practice is not enough, it is important to balance theory, practice, and reflection to enable knowing-in-action. The role of the teacher/supervisor to handle both theory, practice and reflection using reflection-in/on-action and coaching strategies such as joint experimentation, follow me and hall of mirrors to enable knowing-in-action is emphasized. The design of an education needs to be adapted to the participants’ former experiences and access to work practice. To enable reassessment of epistemology, TL is proposed, since a quality of learning which enables deep learning is needed. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalen University , 2021.
Series
Mälardalen University Press Dissertations, ISSN 1651-4238 ; 343
National Category
Learning Work Sciences
Research subject
Working Life Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-55735ISBN: 978-91-7485-521-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-55735DiVA, id: diva2:1590702
Public defence
2021-10-29, Delta samt via Zoom, Mälardalens Högskola, Västerås, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2021-09-06 Created: 2021-09-03 Last updated: 2022-10-28Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Managers' task to supportintegrated autonomy at the workplace. Results from an intervention.: International Journal of Business and Management; Vol. 8, No. 22; 2013
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Managers' task to supportintegrated autonomy at the workplace. Results from an intervention.: International Journal of Business and Management; Vol. 8, No. 22; 2013
Show others...
2013 (English)In: International Journal of Business and Management, ISSN 1833-3850, E-ISSN 1833-8119, Vol. 8, no 22, p. 20-31Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A new managerial task arises in today’s working life: to provide conditions for and influence interaction between actors and thus to enable the emergence of organizing structure in tune with a changing environment. We call this the enabling managerial task. The goal of this paper is to study whether training first line managers in the enabling managerial task could lead to changes in the work for the subordinates. This paper presents results from questionnaires answered by the subordinates of the managers before and after the training. The training was organized as a learning network and consisted of eight workshops carried out over a period of one year (September 2009 – June 2010), where the managers met with each other and the researchers once a month. Each workshop consisted of three parts, during three and a half hours. The first hour was devoted to joint reflection on a task that had been undertaken since the last workshop; some results were presented from the employee pre-assessments, followed by relevant theory and illuminating practices, finally the managers created new tasks for themselves to undertake during the following month. The subordinates’ answers show positive change in all of the seventeen scales used to assess it. The improvements are significant in scales measuring the relationship between the manager and the employees, as well as in those measuring interaction between employees. It is concluded that the result was a success for all managers that had the possibility of using the training in their management work.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Canada: Canadian centrer of science and education, 2013
Keywords
Integration, autonomy, manager, enabling, communication, dialogue, improvisation
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-23306 (URN)10.5539/ijbm.v8n22p20 (DOI)18338119 (ISBN)
Projects
Regisserad kompetensutvecklingInnovationsgym
Available from: 2013-12-13 Created: 2013-12-10 Last updated: 2021-09-03Bibliographically approved
2. Knowledge and Experiences of Risks among Pupils in Vocational Education
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Knowledge and Experiences of Risks among Pupils in Vocational Education
2014 (English)In: SH@W Safety and Health at Work, ISSN 2093-7911, E-ISSN 2093-7997, Vol. 5, no 3, p. 140-146Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Keywords
Introduction at work, risks, vocational education, work environment, young workers
National Category
Social Sciences Work Sciences
Research subject
Complex Systems – Microdata Analysis, Ungas introduktion i arbetslivet. Betydelsen av arbetsmiljöutbildning och arbetsmiljöintroduktion för goda arbetsförhållanden och säkert arbete.
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-55739 (URN)10.1016/j.shaw.2014.06.002 (DOI)2-s2.0-84908027924 (Scopus ID)
Funder
AFA Insurance
Available from: 2014-09-26 Created: 2021-09-03 Last updated: 2021-09-03Bibliographically approved
3. Enabling Transformative Learning in the Workplace: An Educative Research Intervention
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Enabling Transformative Learning in the Workplace: An Educative Research Intervention
2015 (English)In: Journal of Transformative Education, ISSN 1541-3446, E-ISSN 1552-7840, Vol. 13, no 3, p. 219-238Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this article is to discuss the potential of an educative research intervention to influence the quality of the learning outcome in theworkplace as interpreted from the perspectives of adult learning theory. The research project was designed as a quasi-experimental, mixed-methods study. In this article, quantitative survey data were taken as the point of departure, and qualitative data were used for the purpose of analyzing aspects of learning. An educative research intervention may support a transformative learning quality when the manager and employees have to deal with severe difficulties, and they succeed in doing so by sharing responsibilities and having the strength to engage in thedevelopment process in the workplace. It is possible to support transformative learning in the workplace through an educative research intervention that encourages managers to educate themselves and their employees to think and act in new ways, aiming at integrated autonomy, increased interaction, and learning.

National Category
Social Sciences Educational Sciences
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-32386 (URN)10.1177/1541344615574599 (DOI)000447221800003 ()2-s2.0-84937216185 (Scopus ID)
Projects
Innovationsgym
Available from: 2016-07-14 Created: 2016-07-14 Last updated: 2021-09-03Bibliographically approved
4. Contextual Preconditions to Foster Transformative learning: A recursive process, Activity and Core Elements
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Contextual Preconditions to Foster Transformative learning: A recursive process, Activity and Core Elements
(English)In: Journal of Transformative Education, ISSN 1541-3446, E-ISSN 1552-7840Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
National Category
Work Sciences Learning
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-55737 (URN)
Available from: 2021-09-03 Created: 2021-09-03 Last updated: 2022-11-03Bibliographically approved

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