Do new ways of working increase informal learning at work?

Ruud Gerards*, Andries de Grip, Arnoud Weustink

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Purpose
The purpose of this paper is to provide a first investigation of how new ways of working (NWW) and their various facets relate to employee informal learning at work, while accounting for a range of known antecedents of informal learning.
Design/methodology/approach
The job demand–control model and the job demands–resources model underpin our hypotheses on how NWW would relate to informal learning. The hypotheses are tested using the Preacher and Hayes (2008) bootstrap method for mediation analysis, accounting for the potential mediating effect of the frequency with which employees receive feedback.
Findings
The analyses show that NWW positively relate to informal learning at work. This relation is mediated by the frequency with which employees receive feedback. Further analysis shows that one particular NWW facet – access to organizational knowledge – is an independent driver of informal learning, hardly mediated by receiving feedback.
Practical implications
The results suggest that managers who seek new ways to stimulate informal learning can do so by giving their employees more access to organizational knowledge, for instance, by leveraging the potential of modern ICT.
Originality/value
This empirical paper is the first study on the impact of NWW on informal learning at work. Using data on the Dutch working population, it provides novel insights for several strands of literature as well as for practitioners.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1200-1215
JournalPersonnel Review
Volume50
Issue number4
Early online date22 Sep 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2021

Keywords

  • feedback
  • informal learning
  • mediation analysis
  • new ways of working
  • PERFORMANCE
  • ENVIRONMENT
  • FLEXIBILITY
  • New ways of working
  • TELEWORK
  • JOB DEMANDS
  • Feedback
  • WORKPLACE
  • OFFICE
  • ANTECEDENTS
  • OUTCOMES
  • Informal learning
  • Mediation analysis
  • FEEDBACK

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