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Article
Publication date: 19 June 2018

Andreas Wallo and Henrik Kock

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are increasingly outsourcing human resource (HR) activities to outside labour market intermediaries. In this paper, the focus is…

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2223

Abstract

Purpose

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are increasingly outsourcing human resource (HR) activities to outside labour market intermediaries. In this paper, the focus is on a specific type of labour market intermediary, the HR intermediary (HRI). The purpose of this paper is to describe and discuss SME outsourcing of HR services to membership-based HRIs, and potential problems and benefits that may arise in this process.

Design/methodology/approach

The empirical foundation comprises case studies of three Swedish HRIs and 12 of their SME clients. The data were collected through semi-structured interviews and a document study.

Findings

The findings show that social aspects such as trust, shared values, communication and commitment are crucial characteristics of the cooperation between HRIs and SMEs. These social aspects are a result of the owner/membership structure, and a distinguishing feature of the studied HRIs in comparison to other types of labour market intermediaries.

Research limitations/implications

The results of the study underline the need for increased research related to the intermediary concept and its meanings in different contexts. There is also a need for more empirical research on HRIs, e.g. comparisons between different types of HRIs, and studies of the emergence of virtual intermediaries. Future studies should focus on the role of LMIs and HRIs in regional development processes.

Practical implications

Companies that interact with HRIs should reflect on the different pros and cons that this cooperation may result in, both in the short term and in the longer term.

Originality/value

The study provides an enhanced understanding regarding the relations between SMEs and HRIs, based on the two broad types of SMEs (with low/high internal HR skills) and two types of HRIs (with short/long-term orientation).

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Article
Publication date: 19 November 2018

Jason Martin, Mattias Elg, Andreas Wallo and Henrik Kock

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to a better understanding of the role of learning in performance measurement.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to a better understanding of the role of learning in performance measurement.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors develop a theoretical framework combining workplace learning theory with purposes of performance measurement. The authors elaborate this framework empirically by identifying critical incidents from a case set within a context containing a broad range of different performance measurement activities. Finally, the authors discuss the results and the possible implications for using the theoretical framework in order to better understand facets of learning regarding the design of performance measurement.

Findings

Workplace learning theory provides a deeper understanding of how the mechanisms of performance measurements support control or improvement purposes. The authors propose a tentative framework for learning as a driver for performance measurement and four facets of learning are identified: reproductive, rule-oriented, goal-oriented and creative learning.

Research limitations/implications

The empirical material is limited to the healthcare context and further studies are needed in order to validate the findings in other settings.

Practical implications

The authors argue that all managers must consider what kind of learning environment and what kind of learning outcomes best serve the interests of their organisation. Purposeful and carefully designed organisational arrangements and learning environments are more likely to induce intended learning outcomes.

Originality/value

Previous connections between the fields of “performance measurement” and “workplace learning” often lack any deeper conceptualisations or problematisations of the concept of learning. In this paper, the authors provide a more nuanced discussion about the process of learning in performance measurement, which may provide a basis for further research and scholarly attention.

Details

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, vol. 67 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-0401

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 5 July 2021

Andreas Wallo, Henrik Kock, Cathrine Reineholm and Per-Erik Ellström

The purpose of this paper is to explore managers’ learning-oriented leadership, and what conditions managers face when working with the promotion of employees’ learning.

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1319

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore managers’ learning-oriented leadership, and what conditions managers face when working with the promotion of employees’ learning.

Design/methodology/approach

Data was collected through semi-structured interviews with managers in three manufacturing firms. Verbatim expressions of the interview participants were analysed using stepwise analytical procedures.

Findings

The managers used many kinds of activities to promote learning. Most common were activities related to learning opportunities that arose during daily work. The identified activities ranged from being planned to occurring more spontaneously. Depending on the situation or the learning activity, the managers used different behaviours to promote learning. They supported, educated and confronted employees, and they acted as role models. Factors constraining the implementation of learning-oriented leadership included limited resources, and a lack of commitment from top management, employees or the managers themselves.

Research limitations/implications

Future research should study learning-oriented leadership from the employees’ perspective.

Practical implications

Managers’ notions about learning and development constitute an important condition for learning-oriented leadership. Therefore, managers need to be trained in how to promote their employees’ learning at work.

Originality/value

This study adds to the limited knowledge of how managers carry out a learning-oriented leadership in their daily work. The findings contribute knowledge regarding managerial practices of promoting employees’ workplace learning by identifying different activities and behaviours that managers could incorporate into their leadership.

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 5 November 2020

Per-Erik Ellström, Mattias Elg, Andreas Wallo, Martina Berglund and Henrik Kock

This paper introduces interactive research as an emerging approach within a broad family of collaborative research approaches in management and organization research…

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1471

Abstract

Purpose

This paper introduces interactive research as an emerging approach within a broad family of collaborative research approaches in management and organization research. Interactive research is a way to contribute to the dual tasks of long-term theory development and innovation and change processes in organizations. One of the distinguishing features of interactive research is a focus on continuous joint learning processes between the researchers and the involved practitioners.

Design/methodology/approach

The basic concepts, contributions and challenges of the interactive research approach are presented and illustrated in the present paper through a practical case, the HELIX Centre.

Findings

Interactive research is a way to advance scientific knowledge about the development of new types of work organizations and the development of sustainable operations. The multi-disciplinary and interactive research approach at HELIX has made it possible to reach a high degree of both rigour and relevance in research questions and projects. The authors identified five principles from the HELIX case that were instrumental in accomplishing the dual tasks of interactive research.

Originality/value

The interactive research approach is a powerful method of collaboration between different stakeholders throughout the research process. This type of research makes it possible to interact at various levels of research, from the programme level, to research and development projects, to the individual level. The results from interactive research should not only be considered traditionally valid but also valid in relation to organizational and societal needs.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 31 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 25 January 2011

Henrik Kock and Per‐Erik Ellström

The purpose of this paper is to increase understanding of the relationships among the workplace as a learning environment, strategies for competence development used by…

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4548

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to increase understanding of the relationships among the workplace as a learning environment, strategies for competence development used by SMEs and learning outcomes. Specifically, there is a focus on a distinction between formal and integrated strategies for competence development, the conditions under which these strategies are likely to be used, and their effects in terms of individual learning outcomes.

Design/methodology/approach

The study was based mainly on questionnaire data collected through a survey of 14 SMEs that had received support from the European Social Fund's Objective 3 programme. In addition, data collected through interviews and analyses of documents were used.

Findings

The results indicate interactions between the strategy of competence development used by the firms (formal vs integrated) and the type of learning environment in the workplace (constraining vs enabling). The use of an integrated strategy in an enabling learning environment was the most successful combination in terms of learning outcomes, while the use of an integrated strategy in a constraining learning environment was the least successful combination.

Research limitations/implications

There is a need to elaborate the theoretical and empirical basis of the distinction between formal and integrated strategies for competence development, and to study the effects of the two types of strategy, not only for individual learning outcomes, but also for effects at an organisational level.

Practical implications

HRD practitioners need to question a traditional reliance on formal training, as the presented results indicate the importance of using competence development strategies that are based on an integration of formal and informal learning.

Originality/value

The study indicates that the effects of competence development efforts are likely to be a function not only, nor primarily, of the training methods and strategies that are used, but also of the characteristics of the learning environment of the workplace.

Details

Journal of European Industrial Training, vol. 35 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0590

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 30 October 2007

Henrik Kock

The purpose of this paper is to increase understanding of how the introduction of a team‐based work organization can affect the opportunities to learn at work. Two…

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2334

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to increase understanding of how the introduction of a team‐based work organization can affect the opportunities to learn at work. Two research questions are addressed: “What conditions are important for learning and competence development in a team‐based work organization?” and “To what extent does a team‐based work organization support and enhance favourable learning conditions for team members?”

Design/methodology/approach

Investigations are based on longitudinal case studies of work‐based learning and the development of a team‐based organization in three manufacturing companies.

Findings

Results demonstrate that there are no straightforward or linear relations between the introduction of team‐based production and the expansion of learning conditions. The study also identifies several challenges and dilemmas organizations meet when they introduce a team‐based production.

Practical implications

Several conditions important for learning in a team‐based production are emphasized, including: the needs for challenging work tasks; the development of team leadership; and the significance of supportive learning conditions.

Originality/value

The study contributes to an understanding of organizational change and development as a non‐linear process, which can be understood as a complex interplay between actors and internal and external organizational conditions.

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 19 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 9 November 2012

Henrik Kock, Andreas Wallo, Barbro Nilsson and Cecilia Höglund

In this article, the area of interest is an emerging type of organisation called human resource intermediaries (HRIs), which focus on delivering human resource (HR…

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5640

Abstract

Purpose

In this article, the area of interest is an emerging type of organisation called human resource intermediaries (HRIs), which focus on delivering human resource (HR) services to public sector organisations and private companies. The purpose of this article is, thus, to explore HRIs as deliverers of HR services. More specifically, the article will seek to analyse and discuss how employees in HRIs understand their role as providers of HR services to their clients and what characterises the HRIs' work and the nature of their assignments.

Design/methodology/approach

The empirical foundation of this article comprises a longitudinal case study of three Swedish HRI organisations. The data consist of interviews with 19 managers and consultants from the three HRIs.

Findings

The results indicate that HRIs want to take on a broad, strategic and proactive role in relation to their customers. However, due to external and internal constraints, such as the HRIs' internal work processes, the nature of their assignments and the client's HR competence level, the roles that HRIs play in practice tend to be more specific, operational and reactive.

Practical implications

An important challenge for HRIs is to avoid being overwhelmed by short‐term and reactive assignments that deliver value to their clients through the use of standard solutions. Long‐term relationships, the structures of ownership and membership, and the availability of unique networks can also prove to be valuable for clients.

Originality/value

This study explores HRIs as an emerging type of organisation within the area of human resources. Compared with HR consultants who specialise in handling specific HR‐related problems, HRIs target the entire flow of human resources in, within, and out of client organisations.

Details

European Journal of Training and Development, vol. 36 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-9012

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 4 April 2008

Henrik Kock, Andreas Gill and Per Erik Ellström

The purpose of this paper is to increase our understanding of why firms, specifically small to medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs), participate in a programme for competence…

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1397

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to increase our understanding of why firms, specifically small to medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs), participate in a programme for competence development and why firms use different strategies for competence development.

Design/methodology/approach

A study of 17 SMEs that all received support from the European Social Fund, Objective 3 programme. The collection of data is based on semi‐structured interviews with management/owners, internal project leaders, employees and union representatives, feedback seminars with representatives from the studied enterprises, and on analysis of documents.

Findings

The findings demonstrate that all SMEs reported driving forces for competence development relating to both external organizational conditions and internal organizational conditions, to at least a certain degree. Furthermore, there appears to be a strong relationship between observed patterns of driving forces and the strategy for competence development used by the firm.

Practical implications

The SMEs that experience a relatively stronger driving force for competence development initiate problem‐solving efforts to design and implement more elaborated strategies for competence development. The SMEs that experience a lesser degree of driving force for competence development implement less elaborated strategies for competence development.

Originality/value

The paper finds that both external and internal organizational conditions are important in understanding why SMEs undergo competence development programme. Furthermore, the importance of external and internal organizational conditions is not only limited to why the companies participate in a programme for competence development, but also for how they participate, i.e. the strategies used for competence development.

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 20 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 9 November 2012

Andreas Wallo, Henrik Kock and Peter Nilsson

The purpose of this article is to present the results of a study of an industrial company's top management team (TMT) that fought to survive an economic crisis…

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1216

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to present the results of a study of an industrial company's top management team (TMT) that fought to survive an economic crisis. Specifically, the article seeks to focus on describing the TMT's composition, group processes, and work during a period of high external pressure; analysing the TMT's work in terms of an organisational learning process; and discussing factors that may have enabled the TMT to make appropriate strategic decisions during the crisis.

Design/methodology/approach

The empirical foundation of this article is a longitudinal case study of a Swedish industrial company during the economic recession of the late 2000s. Data were collected through observations of meetings involving the TMT from 2009 to 2011 and through semi‐structured interviews with TMT managers.

Findings

Two empirical themes – “accelerating” and “braking” – illustrate actions taken by the TMT during the crisis. Accelerating involves activities aimed at accelerating the company out of the downturn, whereas braking involves activities aimed at reducing costs. The findings suggest that the TMT exhibited the ability to handle processes of exploration and exploitation during the crisis and that learning occurred at the individual, group, and organisational levels.

Practical implications

A practical implication of this study is the importance for TMTs to work simultaneously with processes of exploration and exploitation when fighting to survive an economic crisis and to designate time for learning processes in daily work.

Originality/value

The study contributes to the field by empirically showing the processes of organisational learning in practice and by highlighting the relevance of organisational learning research to understanding the performance and work of top management teams in organisations.

Details

European Journal of Training and Development, vol. 36 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-9012

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 3 May 2013

Andreas Wallo, Per‐Erik Ellström and Henrik Kock

The purpose of this article is to revisit data from a previous study of leadership in an industrial company that was in the process of implementing a process‐oriented…

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3008

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to revisit data from a previous study of leadership in an industrial company that was in the process of implementing a process‐oriented, team‐based form of organisation. Based on these data, it aims to explore the assumption that process‐orientation implies “new” leadership behaviours and relationships with co‐workers. More specifically, it aims to focus on analysing how the managers and co‐workers understood and practised the ideas about leadership for learning and development that were introduced in connection with the new production organisation. The purpose is also to determine what factors constrained and facilitated these leadership practises.

Design/methodology/approach

The study was conducted with a large industrial company using case study methodology. The empirical material consists of 35 qualitative interviews with production managers (n=4), first‐line managers (n=14), and operators (n=17).

Findings

The results indicate that performance‐oriented leadership with a focus on facilitating adaptive learning is emphasised more than development‐oriented leadership, which facilitates critical reflection and innovative learning. Furthermore, the study suggests that the administrative workload greatly limits the potential for development‐oriented leadership. Overall, first‐line managers appear to have more in common with system administrators than leaders.

Practical implications

This study highlights the need to find a balance between performance and development in organisations. Specifically, there is a need for leaders to create opportunities and support for increased developmental learning at work. It is also necessary to emphasise critical reflection both in connection with daily operations and in the formal education of co‐workers and leaders.

Originality/value

This study demonstrates the gap between the rhetoric of new leadership and the organisational realities that leaders experience in their daily work. At the same time, the study points to the dual nature of leadership for learning and the constraints on its realisations in practise.

Details

Leadership & Organization Development Journal, vol. 34 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7739

Keywords

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