Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Journal of Workplace Learning, Volume 27, Issue 1
The last months of the calendar year not only signal the beginning of a new publishing year but also herald the start of a busy conference season. While journal publishing is the main method through which academic research is evaluated and criticized, to help make methodological observations into “body of knowledge” of a discipline, conference papers are also of interest to us editors. Conferences provide editors with a good insight into what is going on in our discipline, as their topical scope is generally wider than that of a particular journal. They also provide great opportunities to build networks and attract journal submissions. While the Journal of Workplace Learning does not typically accept conference papers directly, we have an agreement with a couple of conference series to publish full-length and double-blind peer-reviewed articles based on papers that were originally presented at them. Accordingly, when attending conferences, we are on a lookout for interesting research that can help the authors expand to full-detail scientific articles.
This is exemplified nicely by the fact that while just having returned from the 7th ICERI Conference in Seville, Spain, earlier this week, we are, in this issue, publishing one of the last articles based on last year’s Researching Work and Learning Conference in Stirling, UK. This article, by Denise Mifsud, studies the underlying power relations among the top educational leaders within the Maltese education scenario.
Except for this article, which was originally intended for the RWL 2013 Special Issue, we have selected three articles that loosely build a theme on supporting organizational change. We have included “Mentoring in the Rail Context” by Anjum Naweed, “Participative work design in Lean Production: a strategy for dissolving the paradox between standardized work and team proactivity by stimulating team learning” by our long-time author Annika Lantz and “Using workplace changes as learning opportunities: Antecedents to reflection in professional work” by Stefanie Hezner. Naweed’s findings show that the benefits of mentoring, at least in Australian rail, are not as reciprocal as the theory would hold; the mentors do not learn much from the trainees. Lantz, on the other hand, continues reporting her studies from the Volvo group of automotive manufacturers, and finds that standard work and innovation can be made to coexist by team participation in the decisions regarding work design and inter-team collaboration. Herzner’s key finding is that personal initiative and self-efficacy, along with perceived psychological safety in change situations, support reflection in professional work.
We also include a paper aimed for practitioners. The article submitted to us by Mana Patamakajonpong presents a nice new approach to classify the skill and knowledge of the individual trainees by comparing it with the expert in the organization. We find this approach to be quite simple, but the presented case study also reports good results.
We hope you, dear readers, enjoy studying this compilation of recent reported research in the Workplace Learning field.