ECIS 2020 Research Papers


We describe findings from a study of front-line professionals, operators in the petrochemical industry that elaborates the tactics that these operators use to select and apply knowledge components – tacit and explicit – toward the performance of knowledge-intensive tasks. The research follows a semi-naturalistic mode of inquiry with the critical incident technique as the basis for data collection, followed by open and axial coding to reveal several types of tactics employed to use action knowledge, tied to the use of different knowledge sources, tacit and explicit, as well as the decision situation: procedure-driven; domainknowledge-driven; environment-resource-driven; goal-driven; experience-driven; and operator-statusdriven. Our findings also suggest possible differences between the tactics employed by novice and experienced operators to highlight the unique challenges that front-line professionals face as they combine different knowledge sources towards the performance of work tasks. The paper concludes with a discussion of implications for research and for supporting the work of front-line professionals.



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