Autonomy and expertise in the English workplace

Winch, Christopher and Addis, Mark (2022). Autonomy and expertise in the English workplace. Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 74(1) pp. 146–165.



Exercising autonomy in the workplace is a prerequisite for the acquisition of complex perceptual, judgement, and decision making skills widely agreed to be criteria of vocational expertise. It has wide workplace relevance. Despite the importance of autonomy for developing vocational expertise there is virtually nothing on methodologies for measuring autonomy in the British workplace in the literature. This article reports on a new approach using an application of the methodology of the Transformers Project to measure workplace autonomy in England. Workplace know how broadly distinguishes into skills required to perform particular types of tasks, and transversal level abilities, both those generally encompassed by planning and individual ones such as communication, critical thinking, evaluation, problem solving and teamwork. Agency in the workplace is the formation and implementation of intentions over relatively extended periods. Such agency is manifested as the ability to form and carry through projects involving planning and other transversal abilities. The conceptual approach to workplace autonomy taken here is that a reasonable proxy for and measure of it is the display of transversal abilities.

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