Date of Submission

31-1-2007

Abstract

As humanity is increasingly confronted by shared, complex, multi-faceted problems, experts with particular knowledge and expertise are called upon to develop solutions which can be implemented internationally. Such a role requires that experts work alongside professionals from a variety of different fields as well as creating the necessary knowledge and skills to solve the problems at hand. This thesis presents the outcomes of grounded research into the dynamics of expert work based on a case study of the scientific directors of accredited sports anti-doping laboratories. The study addressed questions about how both the directors and their stakeholders viewed the work of these scientific experts. It also investigated how these experts maintained their expertise in the rapidly changing context of doping in sport. The research design integrated the methods of case study, grounded theory and developmental work research. Qualitative data was elicited using a combination of standard qualitative research methods such as semi structured interviews, surveys and participant observation, and an adaptation of the activity theory based developmental work research methods. The results of data analysis were interpreted using the theoretical frameworks of Activity Theory, Communities of Practice and the complexity based Cynefin model of organic sensemaking. The subsequent development of a grounded theoretically informed model pointed to the existence of multiple objects for expert work and the critical role of a trusted, private, shared space for the development of individual and collective identities, the expansion and application of validated knowledge within the field and the establishment of a shared and informed base from which experts can engage with other professional groups working in the field.;The model identified relationships between the volume of routine processes within a workplace and both the extent of knowledge-generating research work and the development of an awareness by experts of the benefits of greater participation with other stakeholders in the broader problem context. This international study also provided insights into the complex, evolving and emergent nature of multi-stakeholder activity and identified avenues for further research into the optimum dynamics of inter-agency working in both local and global contexts.

Document Type

Thesis

Access Rights

Open Access

Extent

403 pages

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Faculty

Faculty of Arts and Sciences

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