For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Understanding of Work: The Basis for Competence Development"

by Sandberg, Jörgen (2009)


Developing competence in organisations has received increased attention among both practitioners and academics during the last two decades. This chapter aims to investigate what constitutes competence development at work, that is, what makes competence development possible. Different theories of competence are outlined as a precursor to exploring what enables competence development at work. Based on that review, it is argued that understanding of work forms the basis for competence development. This chapter investigates what understanding is and how it operates by drawing on the phenomenological hermeneutic theory of understanding. It suggests that understanding is constituted by an inevitable circularity, in the sense that developing an understanding of work presupposes that it is already understood. Finally, the implications that this circular nature of understanding has for the way we develop competence at work are discussed.


Skill, Heidegger, Competence, Development, Phenomenology, Hermeneutic



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