(Last Updated On: )
Inspector Knowledge Work

Updating on the job knowledge when you are no longer on the job

Nearly all inspectors are employed for their professional knowledge base (inspector knowledge) but, paradoxically, working as an inspector distances them from that professional knowledge. Inspectors require specialist knowledge on which to base inspection judgements.  How do they update knowledge?

This research suggests that Inspector knowledge work draws on flexible (informal and formal) learning structures in the regulatory organisation and in organisations that are regulated. These range from relationship based person contact groups, professional development groups, team meetings and then on to more formal means of learning. Much of the knowledge reported is explicit (formal) but there is strong evidence of process knowledge, know-how or tacit knowledge. The concept of ‘community of practice’ is important in understanding the personal basis of these groups and the role of friendship and trust amongst inspectors.

The inspector has a mix of motivations and strategies for updating knowledge and analysis. Some respondents undertook learning activities prompted to protect reputation or credibility.  Others undertook personal learning to improve services and/or the outcomes for those using services. The study utilises the research literature to suggest how sources and types of knowledge may well offer different inspection outcomes. The findings are valuable to organisations seeking to optimise their inspection capability especially around improvement (see our post on Responsiveness). You may find our discussion of Inspector Competencies useful and our research across multiple stakeholders. Number of Pages in PDF File: 17 Keywords: inspector knowledge, inspector innovation, inspector learning, inspection knowledge

working papers series


If you don’t have access to SSRN you can find the research here.

You may find our article on work-based learning relevant. You can find it here.