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Article
Publication date: 25 March 2019

Bieke Schreurs, Antoine Van den Beemt, Nienke Moolenaar and Maarten De Laat

This paper aims to investigate the extent professionals from the vocational sector are networked individuals. The authors explore how professionals use their personal…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate the extent professionals from the vocational sector are networked individuals. The authors explore how professionals use their personal networks to engage in a wide variety of learning activities and examine what social mechanisms influence professionals’ agency to form personal informal learning networks.

Design/methodology/approach

This study applied a mixed-method approach to data collection. Social network data were gathered among school professionals working in the vocational sector. Ego-network analysis was performed. A total of 24 in-depth, semi-structured, qualitative interviews were analyzed.

Findings

This study found that networked individualism is not represented to its full potential in the vocational sector. However, it is important to form informal learning ties with different stakeholders because all types of informal learning ties serve different learning purposes. The extent to which social mechanisms (i.e. proximity, trust, level of expertise and homophily) influence professionals’ agency to form informal learning ties differs depending on the stakeholder with whom the informal learning ties are formed.

Research limitations/implications

This study excludes the investigation of social mechanisms that shape learning through more impersonal virtual learning resources, such as social media or expert forums. Moreover, the authors only included individual- and dyadic-level social mechanisms.

Practical implications

By investigating the social mechanisms that shape informal learning ties, this study provides insights how professionals can be stimulated to build rich personal learning networks in the vocational sector.

Originality/value

The authors extend earlier research with in-depth information on the different types of learning activities professionals engage in in their personal learning networks with different stakeholders. The ego-network perspective reveals how different social mechanisms influence professionals’ agency to shape informal learning networks with different stakeholders.

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 31 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 6 December 2019

This paper aims to review the latest management developments across the globe and pinpoint practical implications from cutting-edge research and case studies.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to review the latest management developments across the globe and pinpoint practical implications from cutting-edge research and case studies.

Design/methodology/approach

This briefing is prepared by an independent writer who adds their own impartial comments and places the articles in context.

Findings

Informal learning ties posses scope to play a substantial role in the development of professionals. Creating such ties with different key internal and external stakeholders provides a valuable source of learning opportunities. Different social mechanisms can influence network creation and enhance the quality of learning that emerges as a result.

Originality/value

The briefing saves busy executives and researchers hours of reading time by selecting only the very best, most pertinent information and presenting it in a condensed and easy-to-digest format.

Details

Development and Learning in Organizations: An International Journal, vol. 34 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7282

Keywords

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