The role of knowledge in valuation practice: expert valuers’ perceptions

Publication Date02 Sep 2019
AuthorAbdul-Rasheed Amidu,David Boyd,Alirat Olayinka Agboola
SubjectProperty management & built environment,Real estate & property,Property valuation & finance
The role of knowledge in
valuation practice: expert
Abdul-Rasheed Amidu
Department of Property, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
David Boyd
School of Engineering and the Built Environment,
Birmingham City University, Birmingham, UK, and
Alirat Olayinka Agboola
Department of Technology Planning and Development Unit,
Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria
Purpose The purpose of this paper is t o explore the role knowledge plays in expert co mmercial valuer
practice to unpack the way t heoretical and experie ntial knowledge operat es in order to improve pract ice
and education.
Design/methodology/approach Adopting a cognitivist perspective and identifying meta-reasoning,
using a grounded theory methodology, through the study of 11 chartered valuation surveyors practicing in
Birmingham, United Kingdom, the distinctive theoretical and experiential knowledge they used was elicited
through their in-depth reflection on a valuation task followed by analytical interviews exploring meaning and
reasons of actions described.
Findings The results confirmed that multi-sourced and rich valuation knowledge was a key attribute of a
valuation expert. However, the experiential knowledge was not used to undertake the task but to select the
methods and knowledge appropriate for the task and context. This meta-reasoning is a key to the speed,
accuracy and justification of their practices. Thus, the experience gained from many years of valuation
provides expert valuers with meta-reasoning involving knowledge of what, how and when to deal with
problems in different circumstances such as the knowledge of markets and handling of clients.
Practical implications Making meta-reasoning a key aspect of valuation will identify its characteristics
more clearly, thus assisting the development of practitioners and providing a new focus for education to
advance professional goals.
Originality/value Meta-reasoning and meta-cognitive knowledge have not been identified as a key to
successful valuation practice. This meta-reasoning allows a subtle balance of theory and experience in
valuation practice that is appropriate to the situation.
Keywords Expertise, Grounded theory, Professional practice, Meta-reasoning, Property valuer,
Valuation knowledge
Paper type Research paper
Professionals in any field are defined by having special expertise in judgement and decision
making. Such expertise is partly the basis through which they derive their professional
status. It also explains and justifies the performance of a task to non-experts such as clients
(Scott and Gronow, 1990). Practitioners, such as valuers, often state that there are no hard
and fast rules for dealing with problematic situations; however, professions like to define
their body of knowledge and codify this (Hudson, 1997). Knowledge is a human, highly
personal asset and represents a combination of theoretical knowledge, expertise and
working with networks and alliances (Smith, 2001). Many distinctions are found reflecting
the difficulty of pinning down knowledge related to actions, in particular, tacit and explicit
knowledge. Practice-based research focusses on knowledge as tacit and, thus, declares that,
what people do at their work is invisible (Wah, 1999). On the contrary, knowledge is also
Journal of Property Investment &
Vol. 37 No. 6, 2019
pp. 524-540
© Emerald PublishingLimited
DOI 10.1108/JPIF-11-2018-0089
Received 30 November 2018
Revised 2 March 2019
3 May 2019
Accepted 3 May 2019
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
increasingly becoming an important corporate asset (such as brand identity and customers)
(Sveiby 1997). This dilemma, or even contradiction, between explicitly declaring the key
knowledge and so clearly defining a profession and operating practice with experiential
judgement that is personally defined requires unpacking.
Thus, in this paper, knowledge is considered broadly to include both theoretical and
experientialknowledge including anunderstanding of values, factsand procedures associated
with the contextand practice of valuationproblem solving. Thisvariety of types of knowledge
used by valuers makesunderstanding and improvement difficult but is often regardedas the
key feature of high quality and consistent judgements and decisions in professional practice
(Amidu and Boyd, 2018). Indeed, with regard to education andtraining, the Royal Institution
of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) requires that valuers who practice in the UK are registered
chartered surveyors who must have relevant academic qualifications and sufficient current
local, national and international (as appropriate) knowledge of theparticular market, and the
skills and understanding necessary, to undertake the valuation competently(RICS, 2017,
p. 24). This merely reproduces the dilemma.
The nature of property valuation practice is particularly complex as it is dynamic and
involves imperfect market conditions and conflicting objectives, which create uncertainty for
the expert valuers to deal with as part of the valuation process (Crosby et al., 2018; French,
2011). As a consequence, valuers state they need to access sufficient information and
knowledgethat will enable them to make themost effective judgementsand decisions possible
in the best interest of their clients.In recognition of this, propertyprofessional bodies, such as
the RICS in the UK, have been very active in developing and maintaining professional
standards to ensure greater credibility, reliability and clarity of valuation, and public
confidencein the process. The RICS Red Book, for instance,provides the most extensiveand
well-laid out rules andguidance that valuers must comply with when undertaking valuation
for different purposes. Several studies have, however, demonstrated that valuation decisions
in both developedand less developed markets maybe inaccurate (e.g. Adegoke, 2016;Brown,
1985, 1992; Babawale and Ajayi, 2011;Baffour Awuah and Gyambi-Yeboah,2017; Hager and
Lord, 1985; Hansz and Diaz, 2001; Newell and Kishore, 1998; Adair et al., 1996; Brown et al.,
1998; Crosby et al., 1998; Hutchison et al., 1995) and may reflect a trad e-off between depth and
breadth of knowledge and skills (Amidu and Boyd, 2018).
Although there is considerable research in valuation literature suggesting that valuer
problem-solving-behaviour depends on the level of task knowledge and experience (e.g.
Diaz, 1997; Hansz, 2004; Havard, 2001a, b; Diaz and Hansz, 2010; Tidwell and Gallimore,
2014), very few studies have focussed directly on the role and interaction of various
knowledge forms in valuation practice. For instance, Amidu and Boyd (2018) undertook a
grounded theory research to develop a conceptual model that suggested that valuation
problem solving is context dependant but it is always supported by knowledge that is
multidimensional and utilises analytical and intuitive processes in its cognition approach.
Amidu and Boyds (2018) studies did not, however, discuss the role and interaction of
various knowledge forms. This problem needs investigation to facilitate a better valuation
practice and the education of valuers. Merely stating that experience facilitates valuation
judgement is not helpful in determining what particular experience helps this and how it
helps to deliver successful practice.
This present study attempts to investigate this and to bridge the gap in understanding
concerning the use of different knowledge forms in professional practice. It aims to
produce a workable understanding of knowledge for the development of practice, the
teaching of practice and the justification of practice. The paper outlines the nature of
knowledge and expertise adopting a cognitivist approach in order to draw out the
mechanisms of knowledge use, work on the distinction between theoretical and
experiential knowledge, and highlight the role of meta-reasoning in complex practice
The role of
knowledge in

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