Recipe Knowledge and Knowledge Work: Does Technology Create Human Capital?

Dr. Leigh S. Shaffer
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Knowledge workers are often expected to be able to use technology, and especially computer software, as a precondition for employment. Therefore, both employers and workers tend to see training in recipe knowledge — the set of ordered steps required to operate technology — as "practical" learning. However, from a sociological point of view, complex machines and computer software are often designed to "deskill" work by transferring the locus of skill from the worker to the machine. The result is that the training of workers often results in little, if any, increase in what economists would call human capital. This paper explores the relationship between skill and knowledge, education and training, and the mastery of recipe knowledge, and tries to clarify the conditions in which training in recipe knowledge results in the development of human capital.

Keywords: Recipe Knowledge, Technology, Human Capital, Expertise, Education, Training, Deskilling, Computer Software
Stream: Human Technologies and Useability
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Recipe Knowledge and Knowledge Work

Dr. Leigh S. Shaffer

Professor of Sociology, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, West Chester University

Leigh S. Shaffer is currently Professor of Sociology at West Chester University in West Chester, Pennsylvania and is interested in sociological theory, sociology of knowledge, and sociology of work. He has recently published a series of articles on advising college students in developing human capital, and has authored a series of articles on the subject of recipe knowledge.

Ref: T05P0128