Patterns of engagement in workplace learning amongst employees from social sectors

Tones, Megan Jane (2009) Patterns of engagement in workplace learning amongst employees from social sectors. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Continuous learning and development has become increasingly important in the information age. However, employees with limited formal education in lower status occupations may be disadvantaged in their opportunities for development, as their jobs tend to require more limited knowledge and skills. In mature age, such workers may be subject to cumulative disadvantage with respect to work related learning and development, as well as negative stereotyping. This thesis concerns work related learning and development from a lifespan development psychology perspective. Development across the lifespan is grounded in biocultural co-constructivism. That is, the reciprocal influences of the individual and environment produce change in the individual. Existing theories and models of adaptive development attempt to explain how developmental resources are allocated across the lifespan. These included the Meta- theory of Selective Optimisation with Compensation, Dual Process Model of Self Regulation, and Developmental Regulation via Optimisation and Primary and Secondary Control. These models were integrated to create the Model of Adaptive Development for Work Related Learning.
The Learning and Development Survey (LDS) was constructed to measure the hypothesised processes of adaptive development for work related learning, which were individual goal selection, individual goal engagement, individual goal disengagement, organisational opportunities (selection and engagement), and organisational constraints. Data collection was undertaken in two phases: the pilot study and the main study. The objective of the pilot study was to test the LDS on a target population of 112 employees from a local government organisation. Exploratory factor analysis reduced the pilot version of the survey to 38 items encompassing eight constructs which covered the processes of the model of adaptive development for work related learning.
In the main study, the Revised Learning and Development Survey (R-LDS) was administered to another group of 137 employees from the local government organisation, as well as 110 employees from a private healthcare organisation. The purpose of the main study was to validate the R-LDS on two different groups to provide evidence of stability, and compare survey scores according to age and occupational status to determine construct validity. Findings from the main study indicated that only four constructs of the R-LDS were stable, which were organisational opportunities – selection, individual goal engagement, organisational constraints – disengagement and organisational opportunities – engagement. In addition, MANOVA studies revealed that the demographic variables affected organisational opportunities and constraints in the workplace, although individual goal engagement was not influenced by age.
The findings from the pilot and main study partially supported the model of adaptive development for work related learning. Given that only four factors displayed adequate reliability in terms of internal consistency and stability, the findings suggest that individual goal selection and individual goal disengagement are less relevant to work related learning and development. Some recent research which emerged during the course of the current study has suggested that individual goal selection and individual goal disengagement are more relevant when goal achievement is impeded by biological constraints such as ageing. However, correlations between the retained factors support the model of adaptive development for work related learning, and represent the role of biocultural co-constructivism in development. Individual goal engagement was positively correlated with both opportunity factors (selection and engagement), while organisational constraints – disengagement was negatively correlated with organisational opportunities – selection. Demographic findings indicated that higher occupational status was associated with more opportunities for development. Age was associated with fewer opportunities or greater constraints for development, especially for lower status workers.

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ID Code: 31248
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Pillay, Hitendra & Fox, Patricia
Keywords: lifespan development psychology, successful ageing, meta-theory of selective optimisation with compensation, dual process model of self regulation, developmental regulation via optimisation and primary and secondary control, lifespan control theory, adaptive development, work based learning, workplace learning, training, development, organisational psychology, education, model of adaptive development for work related learning, engagement, disengagement, goals
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Cultural & Professional Learning
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 10 Mar 2010 02:42
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2013 08:21

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