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Article
Publication date: 31 July 2018

Rob F. Poell, Henriette Lundgren, April Bang, Sean B. Justice, Victoria J. Marsick, SeoYoon Sung and Lyle Yorks

Employees are increasingly expected to organize their own human resource development activities. To what extent and how exactly employees in various organizational…

Abstract

Purpose

Employees are increasingly expected to organize their own human resource development activities. To what extent and how exactly employees in various organizational contexts manage to shape their individual learning paths however remains largely unclear. The purpose of this present study is to explore, leaning on the empirical Learning-Network Theory (LNT) research and its findings, how employees in different occupations create learning paths that are attuned to their specific work context.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reviews 23 MSc theses based on 14 distinct data sets collected between 2005 and 2015, containing approximately 1,484 employees from some 45 organizations and across various professions. The teachers, nurses, postal, software, telecom, railway and logistics company employees were mostly based in the Netherlands. The analysis focuses on learning-path types and learning-path strategies found in the 23 studies.

Findings

Motives, themes, activities, social contexts and facilities were found to be instrumental in explaining differences among individual learning paths. A total of 34 original learning-path types and strategies were found to cluster under 12 higher-order labels. Some of these were based on learning motive, some on learning theme, some on core learning activities, some on social learning context and a few on a combination of these elements. Overall, the socially oriented learning-path strategy was the most prevalent, as it was found among nurses, employees of software/postal/telecom, railway and logistics company employees, as well as teachers in two schools.

Originality/value

The paper presents the first overview of empirical studies on employee learning path(s) (strategies). In addition, it strengthens the empirical basis of the LNT.

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 30 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

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Article
Publication date: 8 May 2017

Rob F. Poell and Ferd Van Der Krogt

Human resource development (HRD) is an important field within management. Developing employees is often regarded as an instrument to improve the internal labor market and…

Abstract

Purpose

Human resource development (HRD) is an important field within management. Developing employees is often regarded as an instrument to improve the internal labor market and support organizational change. Organizing HRD to these ends, however, is frequently a problematic affair, in terms of training effectiveness, participant motivation and added value. This study, which consists of two parts, aims to investigate the question of why this is the case. In this second part, two specific aspects of the learning-network theory are elaborated: multiple experiences in organizations forming the basis of employee learning and development, and different actor strategies for organizing HRD.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper presents a conceptual framework to argue that one of the main reasons why organizing HRD is problematic lies in the limited and one-sided conceptualization of organizing HRD that is often used.

Findings

Organizing HRD is mostly viewed as designing training courses and instruction sessions for employees; it is also predominantly understood as a tool of management. The paper proposes a network perspective on organizing HRD, which is better able to guide organizational actors than other approaches can, by taking into account a broader set of HRD practices and viewing employees (besides managers) as key stakeholders.

Originality/value

The study argues that organizing HRD needs to take into account learning experiences that employees can gain from participating in work and career development as well (besides formal training); moreover, that employees’ HRD strategies are at least as important as those used by line managers and HR practitioners.

Details

The Learning Organization, vol. 24 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-6474

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Article
Publication date: 10 April 2017

Rob F. Poell and Ferd van der Krogt

Human resource development (HRD) is an important field within management. Developing employees is often regarded as an instrument to improve the internal labor market and…

Abstract

Purpose

Human resource development (HRD) is an important field within management. Developing employees is often regarded as an instrument to improve the internal labor market and support organizational change. Organizing HRD to these ends, however, is frequently a problematic affair, in terms of training effectiveness, participant motivation and added value. This study, which consists of two parts, aims to investigate the question of why this is the case. In this first part, the problem is stated and the backgrounds and basic tenets of learning-network theory are addressed.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper first describes three approaches to organizing HRD, namely, as a training issue: customization by HRD practitioners; as a learning issue: didactic self-direction by employees; and as a strategic issue for employees and managers: micro-politics. The learning-network theory is then introduced as an integration of these three approaches. It presents a number of key organizational actors that organize four HRD processes, each operating strategically in their own way.

Findings

Organizing HRD is mostly viewed as designing training courses and instruction sessions for employees; it is also predominantly understood as a tool of management. A network perspective on organizing HRD is better able to guide organizational actors than other approaches can.

Originality/value

The study argues that organizing HRD needs to take into account learning experiences that employees can gain from participating in work and career development as well (besides formal training); moreover, that employees’ HRD strategies are at least as important as those used by line managers and HR practitioners.

Details

The Learning Organization, vol. 24 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-6474

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 7 August 2018

Stefan Hendriks, SeoYoon Sung and Rob F. Poell

The purpose of this study was to explore how customer-facing professionals (CFPs) created learning paths to adapt to changing customer needs in a digital environment.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to explore how customer-facing professionals (CFPs) created learning paths to adapt to changing customer needs in a digital environment.

Design/methodology/approach

Two groups of CFPs were created from a previous single-case study to examine the learning paths of the two groups. Both groups were digitally competent yet differed in their ability to adapt to the increased usage of digital technologies by their customers: adaptive or conservative CFPs. Research questions addressed perceived learning needs, learning strategies to meet needs and factors that helped or hindered success. Transcripts were coded based on the five elements of a learning path, described within the learning network theory (i.e. motives, learning themes, learning activities, social context and facilities), using the Dedoose coding software. Group findings were compared to identify similarities and differences in their learning path elements.

Findings

CFPs learning path elements varied individually and between adaptive and conservative CFPs. Individually, they varied in learning themes: digital or traditional customer-facing competencies and learning activities such as learning from experience, self-directed learning and learning from others. Drive and ambition emerged as a learning motive for several CFPs in both groups. Although small samples, adaptive CFPs saw a need for digital competencies and engaged in self-directed learning (e.g. solving problems and using digital technologies), more so than conservative CFPs. A positive work environment (e.g. healthy relationships and support from others) was perceived as necessary for success for both groups.

Originality/value

This study sheds light on how one’s approach toward technology influences the creation of one’s learning path. It shows the increased importance of digital competencies for CFPs in a digital world and how CFPs who embrace technology develop technological savviness, solve problems using online resources and experiment with technology and systems, strive for self-sufficiency and rely on self-directed learning.

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Article
Publication date: 1 September 2003

Rob F. Poell and Ferd J. Van der Krogt

This article introduces a methodology for employees in organizations to set up and carry out their own group learning projects. It is argued that employees can use…

Abstract

This article introduces a methodology for employees in organizations to set up and carry out their own group learning projects. It is argued that employees can use project‐based learning to make their everyday learning more systematic at times, without necessarily formalizing it. The article emphasizes the specific characteristics that distinguish learning projects from other projects: a focus on the learner rather than the leader, on execution rather than planning, on continuation rather than output, on diversity rather than optimal‐solution thinking. Three phases in the creation of a learning project are described: orientation, learning and optimizing, and continuation. Four ideal types of learning project are distinguished: a liberal‐contractual, vertical‐regulated, horizontal‐organic, and external‐collegiate type. The various phases and types can be used by employees (plus managers and educators) to create learning projects that fit their specific work situation.

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 15 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 24 March 2021

Maria Banagou, Saša Batistič, Hien Do and Rob F. Poell

Understanding employee knowledge hiding behavior can serve organizations in better implementing knowledge management practices. The purpose of this study is to investigate…

Abstract

Purpose

Understanding employee knowledge hiding behavior can serve organizations in better implementing knowledge management practices. The purpose of this study is to investigate how personality and work climate influence knowledge hiding, by examining the respective roles of openness to experience and relational (specifically, communal sharing and market pricing) climates.

Design/methodology/approach

Multilevel modeling was used with two distinct samples, one from Vietnam with 119 employees in 20 teams and one from The Netherlands with 136 employees in 32 teams.

Findings

In both samples, the hypothesized direct relationship between openness and knowledge hiding was not found. In the Vietnamese sample, only the moderating effect of market pricing climate was confirmed; in the Dutch sample, only the moderating effect of communal sharing climate was confirmed. The findings of the Vietnamese sample suggest that people with a high sense of openness to experience hide knowledge less under low market pricing climate. In the Dutch sample, people with high openness to experience hide knowledge less under high communal sharing climate. The authors conclude that, in comparison with personality, climate plays a stronger role in predicting knowledge hiding behavior.

Research limitations/implications

Small sample size and self-reported data might limit the generalizability of this study’s results.

Practical implications

The paper highlights how organizational context (relational climate) needs to be taken into account in predicting how personality (openness to experience) affects knowledge hiding.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to a better understanding of the knowledge hiding construct by extending the set of known antecedents and exploring the organizational context in which such phenomena happen.

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 25 no. 11
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

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Article
Publication date: 15 June 2020

Joshua Paas, Rob F. Poell and Saša Batistič

This paper aims to examine how psychological need satisfaction (PNS) relates to the display of servant leadership (SL) behavior through the motivation to serve (MTS) and…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine how psychological need satisfaction (PNS) relates to the display of servant leadership (SL) behavior through the motivation to serve (MTS) and non-calculative motivation to lead (MTL).

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected using an electronic online questionnaire completed by 125 individuals from various organizations and industries. Data were analyzed using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and regression analysis.

Findings

PNS, MTS and non-calculative MTL were found to relate positively to the display of SL behavior. Moreover, both MTS and non-calculative MTL were found to mediate fully the relationship between PNS and SL.

Originality/value

This study is one of the first to investigate the motivational antecedents of SL. Moreover, it is the first to empirically study PNS as an antecedent of SL. The findings emphasize the importance of a leader's PNS in their motivation to display SL behavior, implying that a positive work environment is conducive to SL.

Details

Leadership & Organization Development Journal, vol. 41 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7739

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 28 January 2019

Henriette Lundgren, Brigitte Kroon and Rob F. Poell

While factors that influence test takers’ reactions to personality testing in selection contexts have been well researched, little empirical research evidence exists to…

Abstract

Purpose

While factors that influence test takers’ reactions to personality testing in selection contexts have been well researched, little empirical research evidence exists to determine whether these factors also apply to test takers’ reactions in the context of management development (MD). The purpose of this study is, therefore, to explore what explains different test takers’ reactions in the context of MD programs.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative longitudinal approach with three phases of data collection was used, resulting in participatory workshop observations and 11 semi-structured interviews with participants from two different contexts. Data were analyzed using Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA).

Findings

The findings show that test takers’ reactions vary; some are more accepting, others are more neutral or rejecting, where perceived usefulness, clarity of purpose and perceived respectfulness are identified as distinguishing factors. Individuals also differ in terms of their awareness of assumptions and their perceived emotional safety, two emerging factors that are relevant in the MD context.

Research limitations/implications

Data were collected during the MD workshops and three months after, but no records of immediate test takers’ reactions were included, which could be an addition for future research.

Practical implications

The findings of this study suggest that human resource development (HRD) professionals have significant impact on test takers’ reactions when it comes to encouraging self-reflection and learning along personality tests.

Originality/value

This study adds to existing research by offering insights into factors in MD settings where participants are concerned about aspects of fairness, learning and behavioral change.

Details

European Journal of Training and Development, vol. 43 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-9012

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 29 April 2021

Sjanne Marie Elyse van den Groenendaal, Silvia Rossetti, Mattis van den Bergh, T.A.M. (Dorien) Kooij and Rob. F. Poell

As the current “one size fits all” research approach is likely to be ineffective in identifying the conditions that promote the entrepreneurial career of the solo…

Abstract

Purpose

As the current “one size fits all” research approach is likely to be ineffective in identifying the conditions that promote the entrepreneurial career of the solo self-employed, this paper advances the current understanding of the heterogeneity among the solo self-employed.

Design/methodology/approach

A person-centered approach is used to identify groups among the solo self-employed based on their starting motives and to examine their engagement in proactive career behaviors.

Findings

Using Latent Class Analysis (LCA), six groups displaying distinct motivational profiles are identified: (1) the pushed by necessity, (2) entrepreneurs by heart, (3) control-seekers, (4) occupationally-driven, (5) challenge-seekers and (6) the family business-driven. In line with the argument that starting motives affect behavior because they reflect the future work selves that individuals aim for, results show that solo self-employed with distinct motivational profiles differ in their engagement in proactive career behaviors. For future research, it is recommended to examine the role of demographic characteristics in the engagement in proactive career behaviors.

Originality/value

Although starting motives among self-employed people have been studied frequently, this research applies an innovative methodological approach by using LCA. Hereby, a potentially more advanced configuration of starting motives is explored. Additionally, this study applies a career perspective towards the domain of solo self-employment by exploring how solo self-employed with distinct motivational profiles differ in terms of managing their entrepreneurial careers.

Details

Career Development International, vol. 26 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1362-0436

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 3 April 2017

Henriette Lundgren, Brigitte Kroon and Rob F. Poell

The purpose of this paper is to explore how and why personality tests are used in workplace training. This research paper is guided by three research questions that…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how and why personality tests are used in workplace training. This research paper is guided by three research questions that inquire about the role of external and internal stakeholders, the value of psychometric and practical considerations in test selection, and the purpose of personality test use in workplace training.

Design/methodology/approach

This research paper uses multiple-case study analysis. Interviews, test reports, product flyers and email correspondence were collected and analyzed from publishers, associations, psychologists and human resource development (HRD) practitioners in Germany, the UK and The Netherlands between 2012 and 2016.

Findings

Themes emerge around industry tensions among practitioners and professional associations, psychologists and non-psychologists. Ease of use is a more important factor than psychometrics in the decision-making process. Also, practitioners welcome publishers that offer free coaching support. In the process of using tests for development rather than assessment, re-labeling takes place when practitioners and publishers use positive terms for personality tests as tools for personal stocktaking and development.

Research limitations/implications

Despite extensive data collection and analysis efforts, this study is limited by its focus on a relatively small number of country cases and stakeholders per case.

Practical implications

By combining scientific evidence with practical application, stakeholders can take first steps toward more evidence-based HRD practice around personality testing in workplace training.

Originality/value

Little academic literature exists on the use of personality testing in workplace training. Without a clear understanding of the use of personality testing outside personnel selection, the current practice of personality tests for developmental purposes could raise ethical concerns about the rights and responsibilities of test takers.

Details

European Journal of Training and Development, vol. 41 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-9012

Keywords

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