The concept of common sense in workplace learning and experience

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Abstract:

Anecdotal evidence abounds of people in workplaces who use common sense in their work practices. Until now, the idea of common sense being a key concept in workplace learning and practice has not been valued too highly. Attempts have been made in psychological and philosophical literature to understand how common sense knowledge differs from theoretical knowledge. This study represents an initial attempt to use people's experience in workplaces to understand how they see common sense as an important element of workplace learning. Using a phenomenographic research approach, it was revealed that people held seven different understandings of common sense in workplace experiences. For them, common sense was experienced as: a gut feeling, an innate ability, knowing how, learning, using others, demonstrable cognitive abilities, and personal attributes. These variations offer a broader approach to thinking about common sense in work practices.

Keywords: Phenomenology intuition; Work experience; Workplace learning

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/EUM0000000005424

Publication date: March 1, 2001

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