Title: Learning in-between, across and beyond workplace boundaries

Authors: Mary C. Johnsson; David Boud; Nicky Solomon

Addresses: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Technology, Sydney, P.O. Box 123, Broadway, NSW 2007, Australia. ' Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Technology, Sydney, P.O. Box 123, Broadway, NSW 2007, Australia. ' Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Technology, Sydney, P.O. Box 123, Broadway, NSW 2007, Australia

Abstract: In this paper, we challenge conventional theories underpinning the practice of human resource development (HRD) that typically focus on the objects of learning – individuals, skills, jobs – or separate the contexts of work (performance) from learning (training). Using case study research from a public utility and a winery, we found similarities in workers| experiences of various organisational practices despite different objects of learning. These practices were, firstly, temporarily occupying (acting up) in a more senior position and, secondly, collaborating across functions. Unlike notions of boundary-crossing or job rotation, we argue that learning |in-between| develops interactional competence that is grounded within the work practices of interacting individuals. This relational view opens up possibilities for redirecting the focus of HRD practice towards integrating work and learning in ways that develop the potential for learning in-between, across and beyond the boundaries of work.

Keywords: workplace boundaries; boundary crossing; acting up; learning spaces; organisational practices; relational interactions; learning objects; skills; jobs; work contexts; employee performance; training; public utilities; wineries; worker experiences; senior management; function collaboration; job rotation; interactional competence; work practices; interacting individuals; relational views; energy infrastructures; customer services; wine industry; Australia; human resource development; HRD; human resource management; HRM; workplace learning.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHRDM.2012.044200

International Journal of Human Resources Development and Management, 2012 Vol.12 No.1/2, pp.61 - 76

Published online: 08 Dec 2011 *

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