Learning for the workplace: a case study in graduate employees' generic competencies

Ai‐Hwa Quek (Faculty of Education, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, E‐mail: quek34@hotmail.com)

Journal of Workplace Learning

ISSN: 1366-5626

Publication date: 1 June 2005



This study seeks to address empirically the current state of generic competencies considered to be important for successful work performance among Malaysian graduate employees. This study also aims to explain the elements of generic competencies that are needed to complement the tertiary training of students in workplace learning.


Using the survey method, questionnaires (validated by a pilot test and with a Cronbach's alpha of 0.81) were administered to a purposive sample of graduate employees (n=32).


Responses were factor‐analysed and correlated through the Pearson product‐moment correlation procedure. Drawing from the significant correlations ( p<0.01) of the factors extracted, this study highlights interpersonal skills, knowledge‐acquiring skills and flexibility as being highly important in contributing toward success in work performance. Additionally, these graduate employees also expressed value‐improving skills, practical orientation abilities and cognitive skills as being important for successful work performance. These generic competencies are important for enabling Malaysian graduate employees to transfer learning from the classroom to the workplace for success in work performance.

Research limitations/implications

Given the financial constraints, this study is limited to Malaysian graduate employees. Therefore, the generalisability of the results is limited to other situations that are similar to the one discussed in this study.


In the Malaysian context, tertiary training probably needs to consider the development of generic competencies in students so as to enable them to transfer tertiary learning to meet the changing demands of the workplace when they graduate. In this direction additional research is recommended in Malaysia so that graduates can be better trained to contribute successfully in the workplace.



Quek, A. (2005), "Learning for the workplace: a case study in graduate employees' generic competencies", Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 17 No. 4, pp. 231-242. https://doi.org/10.1108/13665620510597185

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