An Investigation of Individual and Contextual Factors Influencing Training Variables

By Chuang, Aichia; Liao, Wen-Chih et al. | Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal, February 15, 2005 | Go to article overview
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An Investigation of Individual and Contextual Factors Influencing Training Variables


Chuang, Aichia, Liao, Wen-Chih, Tai, Wei-Tao, Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal


This study represents an investigation of modeling training motivation and learning from both individual and contextual perspectives. Participants were 250 undergraduate business students who entered a remedial training class as a result of their failure to pass the previous course. The individual factor, self-efficacy, was found to correlate with learning partly through the mediation of training motivation. The contextual factor, interactional justice experienced in the class they previously failed, moderated the effect of self-efficacy on training motivation. Implications for future research and organizations are discussed.

Keywords: self-efficacy, organizational justice, interactional justice, training motivation, learning.

In an era of rapid change in high technology, all indicators show that the pace of technological innovation will continue to accelerate in the future (Adler, 1991; Pulakos, Arad, & Donovan, 2000; Quiñones, 1997). In such a changing environment, in order to maintain superior performance, individuals must be able to combat new challenges. Training is one of the most important strategies for organizations to help employees gain proper knowledge and skills needed to meet the environmental challenges (Goldstein & Gilliam,1990; Rosow & Zager,1988). However, organizations tend to focus heavily on the effectiveness of regular trainings to the neglect of those employees who failed to learn successfully. Well planned remedial training can serve to reduce transaction costs resulting from firing, and recurring recruitment. Therefore, it is vital to investigate what contributes to effective learning in remedial training. Nonetheless, this line of research is relatively unexplored. Our study acknowledges this gap and examines the antecedents that affect learning in remedial training, particularly with a focus on how individual and contextual variables impact on learning.

The present study makes a threefold contribution to extant research on learning in remedial training. First, while past research mainly investigates training models in regular training settings, this study aims to disentangle training frameworks in a remedial setting to respond to an increasingly important focus on remedial training and cost management. Second, while previous research has shed light on how individual variables, such as self-efficacy and training motivation, are related to learning, little is known about the format through which these individual elements affect learning. Based on social learning theory, we argue that self-efficacy will be predictive of learning partially via the mediation of trainees' motivation. Finally, in addition to the individual difference factors, we propose, based on the organizational justice theory and person-environment (P-E) fit theory, that the contextual factor, organizational justice, will serve as a moderating effect between self-efficacy and training motivation. While past research has attempted to measure the effect of situational factors such as manager/peer support on learning outcomes (e.g., Birdi, Allan, & Warr, 1997), no studies have posited an interactional perspective for the contextual variables. Figure 1 depicts the research framework that was addressed in our study.

THEORY AND HYPOTHESIS

Organizations have long recognized the substance of training programs and learning. Part of the training success hinges on trainees' learning. In the training context, learning refers to whether trainees have learned the principles, techniques, skills, and knowledge taught which is normally measured by performance tests such as after-session examination and in-class role-playing. It is evident that learning plays a pivotal role in shaping employee behavior and performance. Although in a modest way, meta-analytic reviews also confirmed that learning could influence trainees' transfer outcome (Alliger, Tannenbaum, Bennett, Traver, & Shotland, 1997; Cheng & Ho, 2001).

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