32 SES 11, Workplace Learning and Educational Management
Workplace learning is a relatively traditional research topic, although we can speak of a certain paradigm shift from professional development to professional learning (Novotný & Evans, 2014). The intergenerational dimension of workplace learning, however, has until now only attracted limited interest from researchers and theorists (Spannring, 2008). This new interest in investigating intergenerational workplace learning evidently stems from the fact that demographic developments mean various generations are encountering each other ever more frequently at workplaces. A number of authors have recently attempted to systematise current findings in this little researched field through review studies (e.g. Ko, Kirsch, & King, 2005; Schlimbach, 2010; Wang & Dong, 2010). Although the bases of these studies differ, they do at least agree that age diversity at the workplace is on the one hand a sensitive topic (Hanks & Icenogle, 2007), and on the other hand opens up space not just for sharing knowledge and skills, but also for developing a mutual respect between the generations (Schlimbach, 2010).
Our previous investigations suggest that there are various generational compositions which are beneficial for intergenerational workplace learning to various extents, but which also have their limits. We ascertained that intergenerational workplace learning processes are heavily influenced by the organisational context in which they play out. In order to be able to judge the potential development of intergenerational workplace learning at the workplace, it is a good idea to examine all these elements. This can be done using the results of the questionnaire survey we undertook at a sample of workplaces (300 respondents).
For this phase of research, we focused in particular on the following survey questions:
- What is the frequency of intergenerational workplace learning situations?
- Who involves themselves in intergenerational workplace learning, and at what frequency?
- What generational composition is beneficial for intergenerational workplace learning?
- What conditions promote intergenerational workplace learning?
In evaluating the conditions for intergenerational workplace learning, we paid great attention to the level of support provided by the organisation for learning in general and also for intergenerational learning. The problem that it is practically impossible to give a general definition for the workplace was dealt with by Evans et al. (2006) by formulating workplace characteristics which do not depend on the particular nature of the workplace. Their model works by differentiating expansive and restrictive learning environments. We used this model in formulating statements characterising the workplace environment.
Novotný, P., & Evans, K. (2014). Celoživotní učení už není ve společenských vědách prázdným pojmem: Rozhovor s Karen Evans. Studia paedagogica, 19(3), 123-137 Spannring, R. (2008). IGLLO: Intergenerational learning in organizations – summary of the literature rreport. Innsbruck: University Innsbruck. Ko, D. G., Kirsch, L. J., & King, W. R. (2005). Antecedents of knowledge transfer from consultants to clients in enterprise system implementations. MIS Quarterly, 29(1), 59-85. Schlimbach, T. (2010). Intergenerational mentoring in Germany: Older people support young peoples transitions from school to work. Working with Older People, 14(4), 4-15. Wang, X., & Dong, X. (2010). Intergenerational knowledge transfer in the workplace: A sociologcial perspective. Příspěvek prezentovaný na 7th International conference on intellectual capital, knowledge management and organisational learning, listopad 11-12, Hong Kong, Čína. Hanks, R. S., & Icenogle, M. (2001). Preparing for an age-diverse workforce: Intergenerational service-learning in social gerontology and business curricula. Educational Gerontology, 27(1), 49-70. Evans, K., Hodkinson, P., Rainbird, H., & Unwin, L. (Eds.). (2006). Improving workplace learning. London: Routledge. Creswell, J. W., & Plano Clark, V. L. (2007). Designing and conducting mixed methods research. Thousand Oaks: SAGE. Bergman, M. M. (2008). Advances in mixed methods research. London: SAGE. Sleegers, P., Brok, P., Verbiest, E., Moolenaar, N. M., & Daly, A. J. (2013). Toward conceptual clarity: A multidimensional, multilevel model of professional learning communities in Dutch elementary schools source. The Elementary School Journal, 114(1), 118-137.
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