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Article

Tuomo Alasoini, Asko Heikkilä, Elise Ramstad and Pekka Ylöstalo

This paper seeks to examine the dissemination of high‐involvement innovation practices at Finnish workplaces and to consider how their adoption can be promoted by means of…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to examine the dissemination of high‐involvement innovation practices at Finnish workplaces and to consider how their adoption can be promoted by means of a publicly‐funded R&D programme.

Design/methodology/approach

The empirical material is based on a survey by the Finnish Workplace Development Programme TYKES. (TYKES is a governmental R&D programme for promoting simultaneous improvements in productivity and the quality of working life by granting funding to development projects at Finnish workplaces.)

Findings

The interim results of the survey provide a strong evidence‐based argument in favour of the supportive role of the programme.

Practical implications

The paper suggests areas where governments might introduce support programmes to foster the spread of innovative activity.

Originality/value

The paper provides insights into support policy issues in Finland and will be of interest to those involved in that field.

Details

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, vol. 57 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-0401

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Article

Sari Metso and Aino Kianto

The purpose of this study is to identify factors that influence vocational students' development of professional skills during workplace learning and to examine the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to identify factors that influence vocational students' development of professional skills during workplace learning and to examine the effects and relationships of these factors.

Design/methodology/approach

The results were based on the responses of 285 graduating Finnish vocational students. The confirmatory factor analysis and structural equations were conducted using Lisrel.

Findings

Motivational factors, including performance orientation and self-efficacy, and organizational factors, including guidance, psychological climate and knowledge acquisition, had a direct and positive impact on the students' development of professional skills. The attitudinal factor measured through work alienation had a partial mediating effect on the relationship between the organizational factors and the development of professional skills. The cognitive factor consisting of prior work experience in the studied field, however, had no effect on skill development

Research limitations/implications

The study was based on students' self-appraisal of the studied factors. Future research should consider workplace instructors' and vocational teachers' viewpoints regarding students' development of professional skills.

Practical implications

Managers are encouraged to plan a structured orientation period for students and to help workplace instructors design their work in order to facilitate a successful workplace learning period.

Originality/value

This study highlights the importance of organizational factors and workplace instructors to students' development of professional skills through work. Furthermore, it provides empirical evidence on the special characteristics of these factors.

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Book part

Belle Rose Ragins

Lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) employees constitute one of the largest, but least studied, minority groups in the workforce. This article examines what we know, and what…

Abstract

Lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) employees constitute one of the largest, but least studied, minority groups in the workforce. This article examines what we know, and what we need to know, about the career and workplace experiences of this understudied population. The construct of sexual identity is defined, followed by a review of the research on sexual orientation in the workplace. Then an analysis of the differences between LGB employees and other stigmatized groups is presented. Three unique challenges facing LGB employees are identified, and conceptual models are developed that explain underlying processes. Finally, career theories are critically analyzed, and an identity-based longitudinal theory of LGB careers is presented.

Details

Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-103-3

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Article

Faye P. Wiesenberg and Shari L. Peterson

This comparative study explored differences in perceptions between Canadian and US post secondary faculty in the fields of adult education (AdEd) and human resource…

Abstract

This comparative study explored differences in perceptions between Canadian and US post secondary faculty in the fields of adult education (AdEd) and human resource development (HRD) on program development issues in the emerging field of “workplace learning”. In fall of 2001, The Adult Education and Human Resource Development Faculty Survey was electronically disseminated to a selected sample of Canadian and US faculty across both countries. The authors examine respondents' perceptions of: their program's curricular focus on the individual students' learning needs compared to the organization development goals of their current or potential employers; the importance of specific skills to the role of “workplace learning practitioner” compared to skill building opportunities present in the program; and the degree of cooperation between their academic programs and businesses that employs, or potentially employs, graduates from these programs. The findings reveal differences in the manner in which Canadian and US faculties develop and teach in these programs that the authors believe have important implications for the continuing development of this field of inquiry and practice in both countries. Overall, the study argues for closer and more purposeful collaboration between AdEd and HRD faculties who develop and teach in workplace learning programs in both countries, and highlights the importance of alliance building on several fronts in order for this newly emerging field of practice and inquiry to flourish.

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 16 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

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Book part

Giovanni Russo

We investigate the relationship between job complexity and skill development of adult workers in Europe using the Cedefop European Skills and Jobs Survey.1 The results…

Abstract

We investigate the relationship between job complexity and skill development of adult workers in Europe using the Cedefop European Skills and Jobs Survey. 1 The results suggest that challenging workplaces in which jobs are designed to include complex tasks that place high demands on workers’ skills also stimulate skill development. Increasing the degree of job complexity has positive and robust effects on the degree of skill development. Skill development is also positively linked to job tenure. The analysis stresses the importance of on-the-job learning and contextual workplace characteristics for adult workers’ skill development.

Details

Skill Mismatch in Labor Markets
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-377-7

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Article

Sari Metso

The purpose of this paper is to identify organizational factors that enhance the vocational students’ development of professional skills during workplace learning and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify organizational factors that enhance the vocational students’ development of professional skills during workplace learning and, furthermore, to examine the effects of the factors identified on the development.

Design/methodology/approach

The results were based on 285 Finnish graduating vocational students’ responses. The confirmatory factor analysis and structural equations were conducted by using Lisrel.

Findings

The students’ development of professional skills was enhanced by three organizational factors: an innovative climate, guidance, and interactions with seniors. Furthermore, the results emphasized that other employees have a central role in enhancing the students’ professional skills development.

Research limitations/implications

The study used the students’ self-appraisal of the examined factors because it seems to be a common approach. However, future research should consider managers’ and seniors’ viewpoints.

Practical implications

Managers should map present and future skills requirements set by the organization and create a detailed plan for the students’ workplace learning. A practical tool to engage and support employees to enhance the students’ professional skills is to make a process with explicit descriptions of each organizational factor and the actors’ responsibilities.

Originality/value

The study provides empirical evidence supporting the substantial influence of organizations on the students’ development of professional skills.

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Article

Amy Yarbrough Landry and Larry R. Hearld

The purpose of this study is to examine the prevalence of different workplace learning models in healthcare organizations and examine whether these learning styles and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine the prevalence of different workplace learning models in healthcare organizations and examine whether these learning styles and activities differ across hierarchical level.

Design/methodology/approach

Results of a survey of US healthcare executives and executive‐track employees were analyzed (n=492). The survey asked for information on workplace learning style, hierarchical position, and workplace learning opportunities.

Findings

Employees at all levels of the organization report learning in a variety of ways in the workplace, including through transmission, experience, communities of practice, competence, and activity. However, employees at lower hierarchical levels report fewer workplace learning opportunities than those at higher levels.

Research limitations/implications

The study utilizes cross‐sectional data on healthcare executives who are relatively homogenous with regard to race and gender.

Practical implications

The results of the study are positive in that a variety of workplace learning opportunities are available to executives and executive‐track employees. However, placing more emphasis on the development of director and manager level employees would further enhance the talent pool for executive level leadership in US hospitals.

Originality/value

The study demonstrates differences in learning styles and opportunities for learning across hierarchical level.

Details

Leadership & Organization Development Journal, vol. 34 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7739

Keywords

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Article

Jane Bryson, Karl Pajo, Robyn Ward and Mary Mallon

The purpose of this research is to explore the interaction between organisational affordances for the development of individuals' capability, and the engagement of workers…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this research is to explore the interaction between organisational affordances for the development of individuals' capability, and the engagement of workers at various levels with those opportunities.

Design/methodology/approach

A case study of a large New Zealand wine company, using in‐depth interviews. Interviews were held with staff at all levels working in the vineyards or winery – the two core functions of the organisation. Transcripts were analysed drawing on Billet's notion of workplace affordances, Fuller and Unwin's restrictive‐expansive continuum, and the concept of proactive personality.

Findings

Development opportunities were differentially experienced according to level in the organisational hierarchy and function, with those higher in the organisation experiencing a more expansive environment than those in lower‐level jobs. However, where individuals were proactive, a seemingly restrictive development environment was experienced as far more expansive; just as a potentially expansive environment could be experienced as restrictive by those who did not take initiative.

Research limitations/implications

The conventional limitations of case study research apply. In particular, concerns over generalisability to other industries and organisational settings.

Practical implications

The research highlights for managers' the important role of job design and organisational characteristics that foster expansive work environments for the promotion of employee learning and development. For employees it highlights how proactive behaviour can provide opportunities for development in otherwise restrictive environments.

Originality/value

Previous research has identified differences in workplace affordances for development across organisations. The paper extends this work by showing that such differences are also evident within organisations and are associated with hierarchical position. Moreover, the paper integrates the notion of proactive behaviour, a construct that fits well with interactionist perspectives on workplace learning that emphasise the dual and reciprocal nature of contextual influences and individual agency.

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 18 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

Keywords

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Article

Suvi Päivikki Nenonen and Goran Lindahl

The purpose of this paper is to describe, discuss and analyze forerunner cases from three different decades in workplace concept development in Sweden and Finland and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe, discuss and analyze forerunner cases from three different decades in workplace concept development in Sweden and Finland and discuss the transformation over time to better facilitate management of office development and disseminate Nordic experiences.

Design/methodology/approach

The reflecting paper is discussing the development of workplace concepts. It is based on case studies collected from 1980s to the new millennium. The reflection is based on the perspective of Nordic culture. The characteristics of the Nordic culture used in the paper are low power distance and individualism.

Findings

The evolution from “office as a city” to “city as an office” has taken place in both countries and Nordic cultural values have provided fruitful platform for them. However, the layer of organizational culture in the studied workplaces also has an impact on the development and implication of the concepts.

Research limitations/implications

The selection of case studies is limited to two Nordic countries only. The comparison of all five Nordic countries could increase the understanding of Nordic culture and similarities and differences between the countries. The study could be deepened by a more thorough literature review including not only Nordic but also European cases.

Practical implications

The dilemma of management when designing workspaces for the changing world is in that individuals increasingly choose where to work, when, with whom and how. Facilitating that freedom of choice is a balancing act in modern workspace design where people is a scarcer resource than space. It requires an active management that sees their facilities as a part of their system not as a costly box top put it in.

Social implications

Easy access seems to be the key to the workspace of the future when decision power shifts from organizations to individuals. Simultaneously, individuals need to take more and more responsibility and action to get their job done: the cases illustrate how this has been done and that the integration and interaction between office concepts and office work will need to be on business agendas.

Originality/value

The perspective of Nordic workplace concept development from 1980s provide the material for future development, without an understanding of the past one cannot understand the future.

Details

Journal of Facilities Management, vol. 15 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1472-5967

Keywords

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Article

Mari Kira and Ekkehart Frieling

The purpose of the paper is to explore individual and collective workplace learning and the connections between them in the contemporary industrial work.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the paper is to explore individual and collective workplace learning and the connections between them in the contemporary industrial work.

Design/methodology/approach

Two case studies were carried out in the Finnish package‐supplier sector. The research methods applied were standardized observations and qualitative interviews.

Findings

The cases show that the socio‐technical influences have created learning‐conductive work at the individual level, but failed to create optimal possibilities for collective learning. The still‐prevailing bureaucratic power relations prevent employees from fully contributing to collective learning and organizational development.

Research limitations/implications

Workplace‐learning research should study more rigorously the connections between individual and collective learning and, especially, the ways in which the prevailing power relations influence them. Integrating concepts from chaordic systems thinking to the workplace‐learning theory seems fruitful and could be pursued further.

Practical implications

In order to become organizations in which internal and external development may take place at the individual and collective levels alike, the case companies should directly address their shared mental models regulating employees' participation opportunities rather than leave those models to develop in a non‐reflected way.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to the field of workplace learning by presenting a conceptual model on sustainable development building on concurrent individual and collective learning. With the help of this model, founded on several theoretical traditions, strengths and weakness in an organization's approach to workplace learning can be detected.

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 19 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

Keywords

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