Workaround as a craft skill of the computerised paper production process
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Tacit knowledge and craft skills are widely discussed in management research and practice. Impacts of computer technology on knowledge and skills attract great interests in the field of organisation research. Research in the papermaking and other continuous process manufacturing reveals that the computer leads to skills to cope with abstraction of work. However, none of the key work explicitly addressed the issue of the tacit knowledge and skills. This research draws on the philosophy of tacit knowledge of Michael Polanyi to explain an exercise of tacit knowledge and skills in critical problem-solving. The interpretive research uses a critical incident technique and a thickly descriptive method to study the production workers’ exercise of their unique problem-solving capability at the disruptive events to the routine activity. The finding shows that a workaround to overcome limitation of the control system are key to successful problem-solving at a computer interface. In contrary to a number of studies that placed an exclusive focus on an ability to perform abstract reasoning, the successful workaround presupposes the workers’ traditional physical and sensory-based exposure to the work process.
Thesis, MPhil Master of Philosophy
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