Construction organizations seek to facilitate expertise identification so that employees can easily find solutions to problems they do not know how to solve on their own. A person is identified and labeled as an expert based on encounters with others, during which expertise is assessed. This research studies the process of expertise assessment within a large construction and engineering organization using a multimethod approach. First, the authors qualitatively conducted and analyzed interviews with 25 employees in a large construction and engineering organization. The analysis of the interviews revealed that individuals assessed expertise based on cues used to evaluate different types of capital of the knowledge provider. This included social capital (association with other individuals), cultural institutional capital (possession of professional licenses), cultural embodied capital (performing and using technical language), and symbolic capital (professional experience). Then the authors conducted and analyzed a survey across a larger population (n=290) in the same organization that validated the identified cues for expertise assessment. The survey asked respondents to identify experts in the organization and evaluate the cues for expertise assessment for each individual. These results question existing definitions of expertise as esoteric by showing that employees perceive experts to be individuals who have managed to gain experiences high in social, cultural, and symbolic capital. A better understanding of how people assess expertise can help managers use cues for each of these capitals to highlight subject matter experts in the organization.Poleacovschi, C., and A. Javernick-Will (2017). “Who are the experts? Assessing expertise in construction and engineering organizations” Journal of Construction Engineering and Management.
Poleacovschi, C. and Javernick-Will, A. (2017). “Who Are the Experts? Assessing Expertise in Construction and Engineering Organizations.” Journal of Construction Engineering and Management. 143 (8), 04017033. doi: 10.1061/(ASCE)CO.1943-7862.0001325