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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Journal of Workplace Learning, Volume 23, Issue 8
Another academic year is now behind us and the summer (in the Northern Hemisphere) is nice and sunny. With this last issue of the twenty-third volume of the Journal of Workplace Learning it is time to go to the beach to think about next year’s research. For inspiration, we suggest the four articles published in this issue. These articles, as well as those in future issues, will be available online two months before publication thanks to Emerald’s EarlyCite pre-publication scheme. For more information please visit see www.emeraldinsight.com/authors/writing/earlycite.htm
In the first article in this issue, Marianne Döös argues for a shared arena for learning and communication of the engineers, using Ericsson plc empirical evidence. As with some of our own research at ABB and some scientific/academic organizations, Döös finds that individual learning can only become organizational learning through the discussion and sharing of knowledge and experience, which requires organizing – it does not happen by chance. This is becoming a very important managerial point in countries where large percentages of senior workers are preparing to leave their jobs for retirement. Naturally nowadays, one central “shared space” for communities of practice is the internet. Line Lundvoll Nilsen studies the use of video-conferencing among MDs in Norway. Maybe the central point in Lundvoll Nielsen’s piece is, again, that this shared learning should not be left to chance or casual use, but organized for continuity and high levels of cooperation. These two papers support each other nicely on the topic of central management for distributed knowledge in the globalized 2010s.
The article by Mark Tyler is also concerned with sharing senior workers’ professional knowledge to newcomers. The work of police constables includes all kinds of details that might be impossible to learn through formal methods. As with many other studies, Tyler finds mentoring to be an effective way to draw the attention of first-year workers to the finer details of their work. Tyler, however, turns the situation around and studies what the mentors think of the method. Apart from helping the younger workers to learn, mentoring was also found to be an enriching learning experience for some of the senior workers. These workers were able to share their experiences with others in the same situation, mirroring the findings of the previous two articles.
Finally, in a submission that connects work organizations to education providers, Anita Walsh discusses the challenges and benefits that arise from the implementation of an innovative example of postgraduate certificate provision at GlaxoSmithKline. There is an increasing discussion about how “purely scientific” tertiary education must be in order to meet the needs of today’s society. Walsh suggests including reflective practice in the postgraduate certificate trainings, thereby leaning towards the “applied science” end of the scale of the inputs. Higher learning, but keeping the needs of the workplace in mind.
We wish you a nice, inspirational summer.
Sara Cervai, Tauno Kekäle