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Secondhand learning from graduates of leadership development programs

Ellen F. Goldman (Department of Human and Organizational Learning, Graduate School of Education and Human Development, The George Washington University, Washington, District of Columbia, USA)
Marilyn Wesner (Department of Human and Organizational Learning, Graduate School of Education and Human Development, The George Washington University, Newport News, Virginia, USA)
Margaret M. Plack (Department of Physical Therapy and Health Care Sciences, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, The George Washington University, Washington, District of Columbia, USA)
Nisha N. Manikoth (Department of Human and Organizational Learning, Graduate School of Education and Human Development, The George Washington University, Washington, District of Columbia, USA, and)
Yolanda Haywood (Department of Emergency Medicine and Office of the Dean, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, The George Washington University, Washington, District of Columbia, USA)

Journal of Workplace Learning

ISSN: 1366-5626

Publication date: 7 October 2014

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the impact leadership development program graduates had on their workgroup, the nature of that impact and how that impact occurred.

Design/methodology/approach

This research was conducted at three sites using a qualitative interview methodology with thematic data analysis. Techniques to ensure trustworthiness included purposive sampling, triangulation of researchers, member checks and code checking.

Findings

Analysis of the data revealed secondhand learning as specific changes in practices, behaviors and attitudes, transferred by program graduates to their peers and supervisors. The transfer of learning was described as both intentional and informal learning during episodes of varying duration, and occurred through a variety of dyadic and group interactions in a manner generally consistent with the 4I framework of organizational learning.

Research limitations/implications

The study was limited to medical educators. Recommendations for supervisors and organizations to maximize training transfer are identified. These suggestions advocate for actively encouraging graduates in departmental leadership and faculty development; focusing transfer on specific practices, behaviors and attitudes; and considering both short- and long-term outcomes.

Originality/value

This paper makes an original contribution to the literature by describing the process of secondhand learning from leadership development program graduates. The paper also expands our understanding of the nuances in transfer methods and associated learning episodes in the context of an educational environment. Finally, the research illustrates how qualitative methods can be used to expose secondhand learning.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The Office of Medical Education in the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences provided funding for this research.

Citation

F. Goldman, E., Wesner, M., M. Plack, M., N. Manikoth, N. and Haywood, Y. (2014), "Secondhand learning from graduates of leadership development programs", Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 26 No. 8, pp. 511-528. https://doi.org/10.1108/JWL-01-2014-0003

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited