Supporting cultural change: recognising the value of informal learning in a public service case study
Faculty of Business and Law
School of Management
Vocational education and training has traditionally been dominated by discourses of externalised skilling. As the workplace moves to increasingly cognitive modes of production, the emphasis has been shifting towards ‘learning’ that takes place within the daily interactions of the workplace. For managers of learning, this generates a strategic and operational tension between privileging formal or informal learning practices. This paper reviews a case study undertaken in a large public service department undergoing a significant merger and confronting cultural change. The research aimed to inform the organisation’s human resources department about development and training initiatives that would support the cultural change programme for more ‘dynamic resourcing’. The study found that rather than an emphasis on skills development, what was required was a more strategic and cultural approach by the HR department, to harness the informal learning that was reshaping the new culture.