Title: When workplace learning fails: individual and organisational limitations – exemplarily demonstrated by the issue of responsibility in work life

Authors: Christian Harteis

Addresses: Institute of Educational Science, Working Group Educational Management and Research on Further Education, University of Paderborn, Warburger Str. 100, D-33100 Paderborn, Germany

Abstract: There is a consensus in educational, managerial, and business debates that economic and societal changes in globalisation demand knowledge-based enterprises and employees who permanently develop and actualise their competences. Hence, workplace learning has become a crucial aspect of business organisation. However, the mainstream perspective in literature focuses on the individual|s demand and responsibility for his or her own success in developing the necessary competences. This contribution focuses on observing the current debates on responsibility in work life and investigates individual and organisational limitations of workplace learning. Taking into consideration two studies on workplace learning, oppositional findings are to be discussed: on the basis of aggregated quantitative data favourable conditions for workplace learning appear. However, qualitative analyses on the level of individual respondents show a somewhat different picture. Employees experience limited participation in crucial aspects and experience limited rewards for individual competence development. This article concludes that successful workplace learning is not only an individual|s responsibility but also a crucial task for the management of a business and its workplaces.

Keywords: professional learning; personal responsibility; business organisations; individual limitations; organisational limitations; work life; economic changes; societal changes; globalisation; knowledge-based enterprises; knowledge-based employees; competence development; competence actualisation; competences; limited participation; limited rewards; individual development; aggregated data; quantitative data; qualitative analyses; human resource development; HRD; human resource management; HRM; workplace learning.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHRDM.2012.044202

International Journal of Human Resources Development and Management, 2012 Vol.12 No.1/2, pp.92 - 107

Published online: 08 Dec 2011 *

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