Employee Learning Processes in New Zealand Small Manufacturing Firms
Faculty of Business and Law
School of Management
We investigate differences between the ways novices and experienced specialists perceive their workplaces as learning environments and also examine differences between the learning processes of these two groups of employees. The study’s research questions are explored by applying discriminant analysis to survey data collected from 218 employees in 31 New Zealand small manufacturing firms. We found that novices and experienced specialists do differ significantly in their perceptions of (1) work-environment conditions that either help or hinder learning, (2) supervisors’ proximate support for learning, and (3) satisfaction with workplace learning. We also found that novices and experienced specialists do differ significantly in terms of the sources and methods of learning that they use. Our results identify the individual variables that contribute most to the discrimination between the two groups. Limitations of the study and the implications of our findings for researching and managing employee learning in small firms are discussed.