Effects of career‐related continuous learning on competencies

Jens Rowold (University of Muenster, Muenster, Germany)
Simone Kauffeld (Department of Work, Organizational and Social Psychology, University of Braunschweig, Braunschweig, Germany)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Publication date: 1 January 2009



The present study aims to examine how employees' formal (e.g. off‐the‐job training) and informal (e.g. discussion with colleagues) career‐related continuous learning (CRCL) activities affect the development of self‐reported work‐related competencies.


Participants were 372 employees working in one of 19 companies from a wide range of industries in Germany.


Results revealed that informal CRCL affected professional, method, and social competencies. In addition, employees' participation in formal CRCL activities that focused on social issues was positively related to social competencies. Three types of competencies (professional, method, and social) are distinguished in the present study.

Research limitations/implications

Additional influences on competency such as motivation and commitment should be controlled for in future studies. Also, competencies should be rated by supervisors. Objective measures of formal CRCL should be assessed.

Practical implications

Organizations that aim to enchance employees' level of competencies should invest in informal CRCL and formal CRCL activities that focus on social competencies. The fact that the study was conducted in a variety of firms supports the idea that the findings could be generalized to other industrial settings.


To the authors' knowledge, this study is the first to demonstrate positive effects of CRCL on employees' levels of social competencies. In addition, the value of informal CRCL for the development of competencies was highlighted.



Rowold, J. and Kauffeld, S. (2009), "Effects of career‐related continuous learning on competencies", Personnel Review, Vol. 38 No. 1, pp. 90-101. https://doi.org/10.1108/00483480910920732

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