Purpose – The overall aim of this research is to investigate how aspects of organizational culture enable or constrain the facilitation of learning in the workplace. Design/methodology/approach – A qualitative design was used involving 100 semi‐structured interviews conducted with air traffic controllers operating in three centers in Australia. The data were analyzed using a phenomenological approach in an attempt to uncover the lived experience of those interviewed. Findings – The study illustrates how elements of organizational culture evidenced in collectively held values and beliefs mediated the approaches used by on‐the‐job‐training instructors. Three collectively held values and beliefs were identified: belief in ability; the value of performance in demonstrating ability; and the need to exude confidence. The degree to which instructors espoused these beliefs influences the type of instructional strategy they used. Three predominant strategies of engagement with the trainee were identified: acting on, working with, and working against the trainee. Practical implications – The evidence here suggests that programs aimed at facilitating skills development for on‐the‐job‐training instructors need to focus on the existing knowledge and beliefs of those personnel and to provide opportunities for challenge and confrontation of those belief systems. Originality/value – The paper contributes to a growing understanding of the socio‐cultural influences present in workplace learning and the role of stereotyping and power in enabling or constraining the learning in the workplace.
Journal of Workplace Learning – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 7, 2009
Keywords: Air traffic control; Instructors; Organizational culture; Workplace learning; Australia
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