Managing Work-Related Learning for Employee and Organizational Growth

By Lang, Dorothy; Wittig-Berman, Ursula | SAM Advanced Management Journal, September 30, 2000 | Go to article overview

Managing Work-Related Learning for Employee and Organizational Growth


Lang, Dorothy, Wittig-Berman, Ursula, SAM Advanced Management Journal


During the past decade, many authors have recognized the need for all types of businesses in the U.S. to become more productive, competitive, and flexible in meeting the needs of customers in an increasingly global and information-intensive marketplace (e.g., Kanter, 1989; Reich, 1992; Solomon, 1999). Many organizations are responding to rapid and discontinuous market changes with an increased customer orientation as well as an internal focus on adaptability and work-related learning. There is widespread recognition that learning on both individual and organizational levels has become essential. A workforce with superior skills is considered a primary vehicle for sustainable competitive advantage (Olian, Durham, Kristof, & Brown; et al., 1998).

Organizational transformations into learning organizations bring about changes in the relationships of managers and their subordinates. The nature of management is evolving from assigning tasks and controlling performance to encouraging and coaching subordinates to learn continuously and beyond the requirements of their present jobs (Heckscher, 1995). Managers are increasingly called coordinators, project heads, or team leaders (Handy, 1989). According to Chase (1998), a leader, in the role of a mentor would be best suited for fostering learning environments in organizations. Thus, firms in transition to learning organizations or just attempting to increase their competitiveness need managers who are capable of facilitating work-related learning. However, little guidance is available to show supervisors how to increase work-related learning among their subordinates. Garvin (1993) points out that much of the literature about organizational learning is inspirational rather than action-oriented and provides lit tle help to managers attempting to increase work-related learning. Managers need practical advice and behavioral guidelines to help themselves, their subordinates, and their organizations learn more effectively.

The purpose of this paper is to help managers better understand work-related learning and to suggest ways supervisors can facilitate their subordinates' growth and development.

The Nature and Importance of Work-Related Learning

Traditionally, individual learning has been defined as "a relatively permanent change in behavior or potential behavior resulting from direct or indirect experience" (e.g., Moorhead & Griffin, 1992, p. 63). Kraiger, Ford, and Salas (1993) have extended this definition by proposing three interrelated categories of learning outcomes: cognitive (such as strategies for solving problems), skill-based (touch-typing), and affective (increased motivation to perform a task). In work-related learning, an employee develops cognitions, skills, and attitudes resulting in improved actual or potential work performance.

Work-related learning can be formal or informal, can take place on and off the job, and subsumes but is much broader than traditional training activities. For example, employees can learn by talking with customers, observing effective co-workers, reading technical manuals, and attending classes. Individual learning is a necessary but not sufficient condition for organizational learning, and the firm must create mechanisms, such as communications channels, to translate individual learning into organizational learning (Adler & Cole, 1993).

A few world-class firms currently have transformed themselves into highly developed learning organizations, including Motorola, Apple Computer, Xerox, and a number of smaller consulting and high-tech firms (Garvin, 1993; Rosenbium & Keller, 1994; Argyris, C., Bellman, G. M., Blanchard, K., & Block, P., 1994). According to Tobin (1993), the most important characteristics of a successful learning organization are a culture encouraging and fostering innovation and individual learning, an openness to new ideas and solutions regardless of their source, and widespread understanding of organizational goals and how each employee can help achieve them. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Managing Work-Related Learning for Employee and Organizational Growth
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.