Experts at Work: Principles for Developing Expertise in Organizations
A recent report by the National Academies’ Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (COSEPUP; 2006) documented a stark state of affairs for U.S.-based companies. In short, there are many challenges facing the competitiveness of the United States and its world leadership position in the realm of science and technology stemming from a national inadequacy in the development of prospective employees. The COSEPUP report concluded that there is an erosion of expertise in mathematics, science, and engineering that threatens the long-term position of the United States in the world economy. This erosion of knowledge and skills is caused by losses of expertise through the retirement of experienced employees as well as insufficient development of replacements for the wealth of expertise exiting the workforce. This trend has immediate, not distant, consequences. Bill Gates openly commented on the lack of available applicants with adequate training to fill positions in the United States: “The jobs are there, and they are good-paying jobs, but we don’t have the same pipeline” (Gates, cited in Vise, 2005, p. E05). The COSEPUP report recommended changes in federal government policies to correct this trend of declining expertise on a national level.