Work smarter, not harder - elements of deliberate practice in expert organizations

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dc.contributor Aalto University en
dc.contributor Aalto-yliopisto fi
dc.contributor.advisor Hakkarainen, Tuuli
dc.contributor.advisor
dc.contributor.author Reunamäki, Riku
dc.date.accessioned 2017-02-14T08:42:05Z
dc.date.available 2017-02-14T08:42:05Z
dc.date.issued 2016
dc.identifier.uri https://aaltodoc.aalto.fi/handle/123456789/24498
dc.description.abstract The objective of this thesis was to find out how managers in expert organizations utilize elements of a theoretical concept called deliberate practice in their work. Deliberate practice is defined as a carefully structured and monitored activity, the explicit goal of which is to improve performance in a given field. It assumes immediate feedback and corrective actions, requires exhausting effort and focus on the task, and should be repeated over a long period of time. The theory of deliberate practice is widely researched in domains such as sports and music, but scientific literature is scarce in the domain of business. Previous research suggests that there could be benefits in incorporating deliberate practice methods to the work environment, and therefore, it is evident that more research regarding the subject in the context of professions is needed. Based on the existing literature, four key elements of deliberate practice were identified in this study: Appropriate design, increased effort, frequent repetition, and informative feedback. The empirical research for this study was conducted in the form of a multiple-case case study by qualitatively interviewing nine business professionals employed by four expert organizations operating in Finland. The interviews were semi-structured according to a preplanned interview guide with open-ended questions that allowed the interviewees to elaborate on the topics. All interviews were conducted face-to-face in Finnish, recorded with an audio recorder, and transcribed word-for-word to enable an accurate data analysis. The data analysis yielded several significant findings. It was established that managers in expert organizations design their work activities carefully to optimize efficiency, and that they prioritize difficult and unfamiliar tasks in order to create challenges for themselves. While it also demands increased effort and is mentally exhausting, the performance of these unfamiliar tasks is viewed as the most important activity for development. Instead of the accumulation of practice hours, relevant work experience and long-term involvement in the field were found to be predictors of business expertise. Finally, the interviewees favored informal feedback from colleagues over heavy organizational processes and stressed the importance of peer support instead of coaching. The conclusions that this study arrives in can be condensed into two key takeaways: 1. Managers in expert organizations deliberately design their work activities to include unfamiliar tasks, which require high concentration to learn, and 2. Managers actively seek feedback and other forms of peer support from colleagues with the purpose of improvement in mind. The managerial implications of these takeaways are that expert organizations should provide their employees with opportunities to constantly perform unfamiliar tasks to enable their professional development, and that employees should be encouraged to engage in as much informal interaction and peer-to-peer consultation with colleagues as possible. en
dc.format.extent 87
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.title Work smarter, not harder - elements of deliberate practice in expert organizations en
dc.type G2 Pro gradu, diplomityö fi
dc.contributor.school Kauppakorkeakoulu fi
dc.contributor.school School of Business en
dc.contributor.department Johtamisen laitos fi
dc.subject.keyword deliberate practice en
dc.subject.keyword expert organizations en
dc.subject.keyword development of expertise en
dc.subject.keyword professional development en
dc.identifier.urn URN:NBN:fi:aalto-201702142302
dc.type.ontasot Master's thesis en
dc.type.ontasot Maisterin opinnäyte fi
dc.programme Management and International Business (MIB) en
dc.subject.helecon johtaminen fi
dc.subject.helecon kansainväliset yhtiöt fi
dc.subject.helecon organisaatio fi
dc.subject.helecon asiantuntijat fi
dc.subject.helecon ammatit fi
dc.subject.helecon kehitys fi
dc.ethesisid 14889
dc.location P1 I fi


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