Organizational scholars within engineering management have increased their attention to knowledge sharing activities within construction engineering and management organizations, but have largely ignored the essential phase of searching for knowledge. This research addresses this gap by studying knowledge searching, specifically the phase that assesses expertise of peers. To do this, we analyze knowledge searching and assessing expertise as a process through the lenses of Bourdieu’s practice-based theory – habitus, field and capital. We employed active interviewing with twenty employees at a large infrastructure engineering company and used inductive qualitative analysis to describe how individuals assessed expertise. We found that knowledge searchers looked for high levels of expertise (habitus) in knowledge contributors and assessed expertise based on knowledge contributors’ capital. We conclude by showing the types of capital and fields that are necessary for high levels of perceived expertise in the process of knowledge searching. 

Poleacovschi, C. and Javernick-Will, A. (2015). “Assessing Expertise for Knowledge Searching using Bordeau’s Habitus.” Engineering Project Organizations Conference. Edinburgh, Scotland. Best Paper Award