Case Study: Deep Smarts

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Within their jointly authored case study entitled Deep Smarts, Harvard professors Dorothy Leonard and Walter Swap seek to quantify the intangible set of intellectual abstractions which combine to form the foundation of extreme competence in an employee. Citing that rare but harmonious connection between "raw brainpower" and "emotional intelligence," Leonard and Swap posit the existence of "deep smarts," which they define as "the stuff that produces that mysterious quality, good judgment" (2004). Seemingly an amalgamation of human attributes which aid in decision making and critical judgment, deep smarts would appear to be the highly functioning union of intuition, instinct, intelligence and insight. The authors base their conception of deep smarts on the value of firsthand experience, by noting repeatedly that deep smarts are "based more on know-how than on facts; comprising a system view as well as expertise in individual areas" (Leonard & Swap, 2004). According to the authors, most corporations and large-scale organizations have members, from executives to temporary employees, who possess deep smarts through the "judgment and knowledge - both explicit and tacit - stored in their heads and hands" (Leonard and Swap, 2004), but these valuable assets are routinely overlooked and underutilized. The purpose of the case study is to present managers, and others responsible for maximizing an organization's efficiency, with viable methods for identifying those employees with deep
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