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Individual and contextual variables in municipal officers' workplace learning

Valéria Vieira Moraes (Social, Work and Organizational Psychology Graduate Program, University of Brasilia, Brasilia, Brazil)
Jairo Eduardo Borges-Andrade (Social, Work and Organizational Psychology Graduate Program, University of Brasilia, Brasilia, Brazil)

Journal of Workplace Learning

ISSN: 1366-5626

Article publication date: 2 March 2015




The purpose of this paper is to investigate workplace learning among municipal officers in the high-learning-demanding organizational context of their work practice in the first year of mandate.


A before-and-after quasi-experimental design was used to assess the effect of time of work practice on learning work requirements. Level of mastery of role-relevant knowledge, skills and attitudes (KSAs) was measured on three occasions (once before and twice after occurrence of work practice), with 126 participants. Associations have been tested between this learning and level of education, previous experience, use of learning strategies at work, population size of municipalities and participatory public planning.


Findings suggest that the municipal officers showed learning of KSAs but no change in their attitude toward public administration. This learning has been positively associated to size of the municipalities, previous professional experience and learning strategies, especially regarding the cognitive strategy “intrinsic and extrinsic reflection”. A possible positive effect of the use of participatory planning on this learning could have been detected if measures were taken after 11 months.

Research limitations/implications

The generalization of findings is limited, as data are restricted to the southern and southeastern regions of Brazil, in municipalities in which mayors belong to a given political party.

Practical implications

The study brought useful information that may contribute to provide some clues, to municipal officers and their parties, on how to accelerate the required learning that should take place right after election.

Social implications

The practical implications may be cautiously used in organizations in general.


The feasibility of a longitudinal design to measure work-related learning was shown. Options for more comprehensive studies that may better define the phenomenon of workplace learning and identify its relationships with other variables have been demonstrated.



Moraes, V.V. and Borges-Andrade, J.E. (2015), "Individual and contextual variables in municipal officers' workplace learning", Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 27 No. 2, pp. 95-111.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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