Purpose – The paper aims to explore how the transformation of a paper‐based role‐play into a workflow management system (WfMS) influences objectives and proceedings of training seminars for staff members in the context of business process improvement initiatives. Design/methodology/approach – The research is based on a case study. A professional role‐play is used to simulate a loan approval process that has to be improved by participants. Observation of the participants' behavior before and after the introduction of a WfMS reveals strengths and challenges associated with computer support. Findings – The paper finds that software can support and enhance staff training. However, the introduction of a workflow management system changes the participant's interaction and way of learning. The holistic perspective that was originally envisaged by the role‐play is partly replaced by more detailed and technical aspects. Depending on the purpose of the training seminar, software has to be used appropriately. Otherwise, it could even undermine the seminar's objectives. Practical implications – The research reveals that role‐plays can be effectively supported by software. Yet, the trainer should be aware that he/she not only requires some basic technical knowledge. Additionally, the role‐play might raise concerns regarding possible layoffs. Thus, the trainer should be prepared to cope with these potential issues. Originality/value – This paper contributes to existing research in analyzing the effects of computer support on staff training. Six advantages compared to the paper‐based role‐play support the usage of WfMS.
Development and Learning in Organizations – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 4, 2011
Keywords: Training and development; Education; Workplace learning
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