Transfer of learning to the workplace : a study of middle management training in one large organisation in New Zealand : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Education with an endorsement in Guidance Studies at Massey University
This study, of "transfer of learning", examined the experiences of thirty-four Middle Managers/Team Leaders in one organisation. The Team Leaders, all enrolled in the Open Polytechnic, were studying five "Management Unit Standards". The study was conducted in two phases; Phase 1 (quantitative) questionnaires and Phase 2, (qualitative) interviews. Questionnaires sent to thirty-four Team Leaders asked the Team Leaders ninety-one questions which related to: communication within their organisation, senior management practices, their work area and their feelings about the job in general. The qualitative phase comprised two interviews separated by five months. In Interview 1, consenting participants were asked to select three competencies, to implement on the job, out of the thirty they were studying. They hypothesised the strategies they would use to implement them on them on the job and the perceived outcomes. Five months later participants were asked if they believed they did or did not achieve their hypothesised objectives, and what helped and could have helped them. Thirteen themes emerged from analysis of the qualitative data and these were triangulated with the results from the quantitative data. These thirteen themes reflected the five main issues which were discussed in the Literature Review: (1) The emotional climate within the organisation and students' psychological attitudes towards (a) management (b) the respondents working colleagues, (c) external customers and (d) the learning itself; (2) The concept that mistakes are part of the learning process as an accepted organisational philosophy; (3) Organisational attitudes on action learning procedures and practices; (4) Respondents' attitudes and feelings of being valued and rewarded by their managers and higher management; (5) Change and restructuring within an organisation and the effect that this can have on transfer of learning. The issues affected the participants' ability to "transfer" their newly acquired management competencies in as much as only two of the sixteen participants undertaking Phase 2 of the study, believed they were able to implement on the job (transfer), all three competencies they selected. All participants believed that there were influencing factors, affecting their ability to achieve their hypothesised outcomes.