Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Organizational Justice, Motivation to Learn, and Training Outcomes

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Organizational Justice, Motivation to Learn, and Training Outcomes

Article excerpt

This study attempted to examine the impacts of trainees' perceived organizational fairness on their motivation to learn, reactions, and learning. Results with 370 subjects indicated that interactional justice mediates the relationships between distributive/procedural justice and motivation to learn. Subsequently, trainees' motivation to learn influences trainees' reactions and learning. Implications for future research and organizations are discussed.

Keywords: organizational justice, motivation to learn, learning.

In recent years, high-technology changes have potentially laid the groundwork for the most profound changes in the workplace. It is clear that the rapid expansion of information technology is demanding an individual's adaptability and flexibility more and more in order to meet 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). Past studies have suggested that it is especially critical in training content or methods to use new technologies, such as web-based instruction, virtual reality, computerized intelligent tutoring systems, and other training technologies to increase the effects of training outcomes. Unfortunately, older employees may be less comfortable with the new technologies (Colquitt, LePine, & Noe, 2000; Tsai & Tai, 2003), and thus, it is important for an organization to maintain the necessary competence of employees by adequate training, even forcing them to attend remedial training programs.


It is recognized that trainees cannot reap the full benefits of training without considering their motivation to learn. Noe (1986) proposed that characteristics such as motivation and attitudes are more malleable individual differences, and play a critical role in achieving training effectiveness. Even if trainees possess the ability to learn the content of a course, they may fail to benefit from training because of low motivation. In general, motivation is typically defined as variability in behavior which is not attributable to stable individual traits (e.g., cognitive ability) or strong situational coercion (Quifiones, 1997). In a training program, motivation can influence the willingness of a trainee to participate in the training in the first place (Maurer & Tarulli, 1994; Noe & WiIk, 1993) and also affect whether or not a trainee utilizes his/her learning on the job (Baldwin & Ford, 1988). Therefore, it is evident that motivation to learn plays a determinant role in improving employee behavior and effectiveness.


Training effectiveness refers to the extent to which the training objectives are achieved. Kirkpatrick (1976) suggested that reactions, learning, behavior, and results are four measures relevant for evaluating training outcomes. In Kirkpatrick's model, reactions refer to the extent to which trainees like - and how they feel about - training. Learning refers to the knowledge and skills acquired by trainees. Behavior refers to the knowledge and skills transferred to the work situation by trainees. Results refer to the attainment of organizational objectives such as a reduction in absenteeism and personnel turnover, productivity gains, and cost reduction. Although some researchers have questioned certain relationships among these four measures (Alliger & Janak, 1989), the measures are still a useful and valuable heuristic for evaluating training outcomes (Colquitt et al., 2000; Quifiones, 1997). In the motivation to learn model used by Colquitt et al., learning outcomes (i.e., declarative knowledge, skill acquisition, and reactions etc.) are considered as immediate training effectiveness; transfer and job performance are considered as posttraining effectiveness. In addition, many recent studies have considered reactions and learning as criterion variables to measure training effectiveness (e. …

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