The being of construction management expertise

Informa UK Limited
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Construction Management and Economics, 2016, 34, (7-8), pp. 458-470
Issue Date:
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Where logical positivism potentially leads to abstraction, social constructivism potentially leads to relativism. Neither perspective does full justice to the study of construction management expertise. Social realism aims to recover declarative knowledge (theory) as an integral component of expertise without denying a place for deliberate practice. The issue is how to bridge between explicit and implicit forms of knowledge. Returning to the account of tacit knowing proposed by Polanyi, the nature of expertise is characterized in both declarative and personal knowledge terms. This is a limited characterization of expertise, but the social realism enterprise raises a number of critical issues: the body of knowledge; human agency; and deliberate practice. From a social realism perspective the production of theory is critical to the exercise of expertise, but theory is meaningless in the context of professional practice unless and until it is embodied and enacted. It is the being of construction management that gives purpose and value to the theory.
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