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Supporting Workplace Wisdom




We live in a society that puts a premium on intellect. Yet, many of the world’s complex and stubborn—also known as “wicked”—problems defy intellectually based solutions. We find wicked problems at all levels, from the problems we face as individuals on a daily basis, to the problems we grapple with in our work within organizations, to problems that societies and governments have struggled with for generations.

So too, performance improvement isn’t a mindless recipe that practitioners blindly follow. Instead, providing performance improvement solutions that focus on results, take a systems viewpoint, add value, and establish partnerships requires the application of workplace wisdom. Decisions that appear smart in a limited performance context may well unwise when seen in larger systemic context. Perhaps what we need is not greater intellect but instead greater wisdom and the capacity to act on that wisdom.

This session will help participants apply a synthesis of the wisdom research that appears in a 2013 edition of Performance Improvement and help them apply it in ways they can justify supporting workplace wisdom to a boss or client and build performance improvement solutions that can support wisdom in the workplace.


Steve Villachica

Steven W. Villachica, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning at Boise State University. His current research interests focus on bringing academics and industry representatives together to decrease ramp-up time to competent performance in the workplace for newly hired graduates. A frequent author and conference presenter, Steve is a member of ISPI, ASEE, ATD, and AECT. He completed his doctorate in educational technology at the University of Northern Colorado.

Anthony Marker

Anthony W. Marker, PhD is Chair and Professor in the Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning Department at Boise State University. He is a LEED Accredited Professional and teaches courses in improving human performance in the workplace, systems thinking, and the design of sustainable business processes. A frequent author and presenter at ISPI conferences, he has been working and teaching in the field for over 15 years. Tony received his PhD from Indiana University in Instructional Systems Technology.