Skip to Content

Banner for HDR Expo 2012

Sally Hawse

First Name: Sally
Surname: Hawse
Department Dept of Marketing and Management
Supervisor(s): Dr Leigh Wood ,

Email Student

View Sally Hawse's profile

Paper Title

Acquiring Wisdom: Embedding threshold moments into expertise transfer programs.



This research examines how notions of expertise and wisdom are operationalised at key junctures in the work lifespan. The topic is explored through the lenses of:

  • What is the nature of capabilities demonstrated by ‘experts’ and ‘wise colleagues’? How do novices compare?
  • Where can expert or wise capabilities best be embedded at different stages of the work lifespan?
  • What are current models for assessing expertise and/or wisdom, and what commonalities link them?
  • How do groups shape or generate expert practice, particularly domain specific knowledge?
  • How impactful are socially constructed models of learning, such as cognitive apprenticeship, in successful expertise transfer programs?
  • What linkages does this research have with knowledge management, knowledge transfer and/or knowledge translation?


To add to the knowledge base of workplace knowledge transfer programs by:

  1. Evaluating the influence of experience on conceptualisations of expertise and wisdom.
  2. Examining the role of theory in expertise transfer practice.
  3. Developing a typology of transfer practices appropriate to the work lifespan.


While there is extensive literature around wisdom, expertise, and program responses, little of this inquiry focuses on operationalising this theory in the workplace. This research will help address that gap by classifying work lifespan activities, tasks, and experiences into a typology. It is expected to contribute towards quantifying wisdom and its role in knowledge continuity and intergenerational knowledge transfer efforts.


The work will involve interviewing managers and staff from different work domains to case study and collate their expertise transfer practices into a continuum. Adaptive expertise and thresholds comprise the investigative lens. A focus will be the influence of ‘teachable moments’ on expertise transfer. Existing studies will be used for qualitative analysis and benchmarking. The research methodology is likely to be influenced by phenomenological approaches, and to encompass:

  • Case study analysis into workplace program responses. This may comprise responses such as: graduate programs, succession planning, promotion and leadership programs, training, and Continuing Professional Development (CPD).
  • Expert, practitioner, and novice interviews about their experiences, understandings, and expectations with regard to workplace training and transfer activities.
  • Organisational Network Analysis (ONA) to evaluate the relationship between self-nominated levels of proficiency, and respondent access to expert knowledge types.