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Problem solving in everyday office work—a diary study on differences between experts and novices

  • Contemporary office work is becoming increasingly challenging as many routine tasks are automated or outsourced. The remaining problem solving activities may also offer potential for lifelong learning in the workplace. In this study, we analyzed problem solving in an office work setting using an Internet-based, semi-standardized diary to collect data close to the process. Thirteen employees in commercial departments of an automotive supplier participated voluntarily; they recorded 64 domain-specific problem cases in total. Typical problems were moderately complex but rather urgent. They were detected by means of monitoring, augmented feedback or feedback from others. The problems detected provoked states of high arousal, including both negative and positive emotions. We found that seeking support from others was the most common approach to problem solving, and that in general problem solving offered considerable learning possibilities. Experts were confronted with more complex problems than novices, they more often solved problemsContemporary office work is becoming increasingly challenging as many routine tasks are automated or outsourced. The remaining problem solving activities may also offer potential for lifelong learning in the workplace. In this study, we analyzed problem solving in an office work setting using an Internet-based, semi-standardized diary to collect data close to the process. Thirteen employees in commercial departments of an automotive supplier participated voluntarily; they recorded 64 domain-specific problem cases in total. Typical problems were moderately complex but rather urgent. They were detected by means of monitoring, augmented feedback or feedback from others. The problems detected provoked states of high arousal, including both negative and positive emotions. We found that seeking support from others was the most common approach to problem solving, and that in general problem solving offered considerable learning possibilities. Experts were confronted with more complex problems than novices, they more often solved problems using their domain-specific knowledge, but they also preferred social support. Surprisingly, experts reported higher negative emotional states after having detected a problem than novices. The results, the diary method and the limitations of the study are discussed.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Institutes:Fakultät Sozial- und Wirtschaftswissenschaften / Lehrstuhl für Wirtschaftspädagogik
Author:Andreas Rausch, Thomas Schley, Julia Warwas
Title of the journal / compilation (English):International Journal of Lifelong Education
Place of publication:London [u.a.]
Publisher:Taylor and Francis
Year of publication:2015
Issue:34 (2015), 4, Special Issue: Problem Solving – Facilitating the Utilization of a Concept towards Lifelong Education
Pages / Size:Seite 448-467
Keywords:diary method; expertise; problem solving; workplace learning
URL:http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02601370.2015.1060023
ISSN:1464-519X
Document Type:Article in a journal
Language:English
Peer Review:Ja
Internationale Verbreitung:Ja
Open-Access-Zeitschrift:Nein
Release Date:2016/06/17