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TitleChallenges of Expertise and Organizational Learning during the Digital Transformation of Forensic
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Total Pages96
Table of Contents
List of original studies
Table of Contents
Glossary of fingerprint terminology
1 Introduction
2 New challenges related to forensic fingerprint expertise
3 Research setting: The Finnish system of fingerprint examination
4 Research questions
5 Research design
6 The main findings of the research
7 General discussion
Document Text Contents
Page 1

Helsinki Studies in Education 23

Virpi Mustonen

Challenges of Expertise and Organizational Learning
during the Digital Transformation of
Forensic Fingerprint Investigation

Academic dissertation,

To be publicly discussed,
by due permission of the Faculty of Behavioral Sciences at the University of Helsinki

in the Hall 12 at Helsinki University, Fabianinkatu 33,
on January 20th, 2018, at 10’clock.

University of Helsinki

Faculty of Educational Sciences
Doctoral Programme of School, Education, Society and Culture (SEDUCE)

Page 2

Professor Kai Hakkarainen, University of Helsinki
Associate Professor Juha Tuunainen, Oulu Business School, University of Oulu
PhD Pasi Pohjola, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health

Professor Hans Gruber, Universität Regensburg
Professor Matti Vartiainen, Aalto University

PhD Itiel E. Dror, University College London

Virpi Mustonen and the original publisher of the articles

ISBN 978-951-51-3955-9 (nid)
ISBN 978-951-51-3956-6 (pdf)
ISSN 1798-8322
ISSN 2489-2297

Unigrafia, Helsinki 2017

Page 48

documentation. As a result, the whole fingerprint-identification process and the separate
actions involved are easily traceable afterwards, if necessary.

Page 49


4 Research questions

The purpose of the present dissertation is to examine personal and collaborative expertise
in fingerprint examination based on multiple case studies and using the methods of action
research (Lewin, 1946; Noffke & Somekh, 2009). This type of action research with
elements of social engineering and management studies facilitates transformation in real
social action. Action research is practice-driven in nature, and thus is applicable to the
scientific investigation of personal and social transformation in the process of changing
the operational methods of fingerprint examination (Lewin, 1946). The present series of
studies were carried out in the context of digitalizing fingerprint investigation and the
profound transformation of the personal and collaborative processes involved.

The dissertation has theoretical, methodological and practical objectives. The overall
objective is to enhance understanding of the major challenges in fingerprint investigation
and its quality in the NBIFL context. One of the aims is to elaborate concepts and
theoretical perspectives on adaptive, professional expertise, rule construction and
organizational learning in fingerprint investigation. A more general aim is to address the
personal and organizational challenges involved in developing expertise in fingerprint
investigation in the context of digitalized forensic instruments and methods. The
research questions were intended to examine: 1) trajectories of developing professional
expertise on the personal and social level in the context of the fingerprint training
program; 2) judgement and decision-making among experienced fingerprint examiners
dealing with conflicting interpretations of complex cases; and 3) the collective
transformation of fingerprint-investigation practices in the context of organizational
change. These objectives were pursued in three studies that involved working out
theoretical conceptions, methodological procedures and specific improvements
regarding the practices of fingerprint examination.

In addressing these questions I collected data on the NBIFL fingerprint group
focusing on individual, team-level, and organizational activities. The general aim of the
study was to examine the processes and practices of forensic fingerprint investigation in
terms of the challenges arising from digitalization and the changing quality and
transparency requirements. Three separate but interlinked studies were conducted in
pursuit of this aim, each of which had a specific research focus. I analyzed the trajectories
of apprentices acquiring s and
decision-making, and organizational efforts to develop fingerprinting processes in the
midst of major transformation in research technologies.

Page 95

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