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Chapter 6

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Psychology 2660A/B
Natalie J Allen

Chapter 6: Organizational Learning  One implication of this changing nature of work is that greater relative importance is placed on skill enhancement  Training – process through which the knowledge and skills of employees are enhanced  Informal/unintentional learning is the knowledge we acquire and use to better out lives simply by paying attention to our environment and adapting o Self-guided; learner-directed  Only 10% of learning within an organization is due to formal training; the rest is from informal learning  Chief learning officer; “learning” has now reached same level as finance and operations (chief finance officer; chief operating officer)  The information age is characterized by a transition to a knowledge-based economy  Knowledge workers – work with information and ideas or solve problems and carry out creative tasks Learning and task performance  Learning – process by which change in knowledge or skills is acquired through education or experience o Encoding, retaining, and using information o “Human information processors”  Skill acquisition can be divided into 3 phases: o Declarative knowledge – knowledge about facts and things – involves memorizing and reasoning processes  Observe demonstrations of the task and learn task-sequencing rules  Performance is slow and prone to error o Knowledge compilation – knowledge acquired as a result of learning – integrate the sequences of cognitive and motor processes required to perform the task  Performance becomes faster and more accurate  Attentional demands are reduced – long-term memory o Procedural knowledge – knowledge about how to use information to address issues and solve problems  Automatized the skill  Perform task efficient w/ little attention  Becomes so second nature that they report difficulty in describing what they know that others do not know  Three major classes of abilities are critical for performance in the 3 phases of skill acquisition o General intellectual ability (g) – most important in acquiring declarative knowledge  Initially, attentional demands are high – as you develop a performance strategy, demands decrease o Perceptual speed abilities – basic understanding of how to perform the task but seeks a more efficient method for accomplishing the task with minimal attentional effort  Required to move along from declarative to procedural knowledge  Needed to process info faster o Psychomotor abilities - determine the final level of task performance in the procedural knowledge phase  Learning the requirements of jobs in the military occurred in stages with plateaus in learning followed by subsequent periods of growth  Learning to perform tasks depends on a complex set of factors that affect gains in performance as well as the duration of the performance  3 distinguishing features of people who are regarded as experts on a topic vs novices 1. Proceduralization – refers to a set of conditional action rules: if condition A exists, then action B is needed  Automaticity – refers to a state of rapid performance that requires little cognitive effort  Experts not only “know” things, but also know when that knowledge is applicable and when it should not be used o Novice may be equally competent at recalling specific info, but experts are better at relating that info in cause-and-effect sequences 2. Mental models – the way knowledge is organized  Mental models of experts are better because they contain more diagnostic cues for detecting meaningful patterns in learning – they have more complex knowledge structures, resulting in faster solution times 3. Meta-cognition – an individual’s knowledge of and control over his or her cognitions  Experts: greater understanding of the demands of a ask and their own capabilities; more likely to discontinue a problem-solving strategy that would have proven unsuccessful The pre-training environment  Employees start to learn how training is viewed in the organization early in the socialization process and continue to gather information with each training activity they attend  Trainees who had more supportive supervisors entered training with stronger beliefs that training would be useful  Trainees who entered training expecting some form of follow-up activity or assessment afterward reported stronger intentions to transfer what they learned back on the job  Trainees who reported many limitations in their job (lack of time/equipment/resources) entered training with lower motivation to learn – they had little incentive to learn new skills in an environment where they couldn’t apply them Methods and techniques of training  E-learning – the new approach to learning  The computer is powerful because it facilitates learning in way that other media (a book) cannot  In the past, training methods assumed there was a certain amount of knowledge an employee needed to perform their job – upon acquisition of that knowledge, they were deemed qualified  Now, it’s not simply a case of knowledge acquisition – more ways than one to perform a job o What matters is whether the performance objectives are fulfilled, with less emphasis placed on how they were fulfilled o Computer-based training helps individuals discover “which was” works best for them  Computer-based training o Computer-based training – utilizes computer technology to enhance knowledge and skill acquisition o Programmed instruction  The most basic CB training that provides for self-paced learning  Trainees who answer more questions correctly move quickly through the material  Because if they answer correctly, they move on to new info; if incorrect, they’re taken back to review the relevant material  80% of leading companies use programmed instruction in some form o Intelligent tutoring systems  A sophisticated type of CB training that uses artificial intelligence to customize learning to the individual  Based on the trainee’s responses to questions posed, the system continuously modifies the level of instruction presented to the trainee  Can vary the order and difficulty of the questions presented o Interactive multimedia training  A type of CB training that combines visual and auditory info to create a realistic but nonthreatening environment  More sophisticated  Combines text, photos, graphics, videos, animation, and sound – to simulate a rl situation  Interactive because it allows the trainee to make decisions and then receive immediate feedback o Virtual reality training  A type of CB training that uses 3D imagery  Effective because trainee experiences a sense of “telepresence” in the environment  Headset, gloves, treadmill  Least commonly used due to its narrow range of purpose  Non-computer-based training o Business games  A method of training that simulates a business environment with specific objectives to achieve and rules for trainees to follow  Sometimes face conflicting objectives and must defend the choices they made  Well-crafted games contain surprises, interdependent outcomes, and twists that engage the trainee  Broad focus o Role playing  A training method directed primarily at enhancing interpersonal skills in which trainees adopt various roles in a group exercise  Less tightly structured than acting  Switching roles from your real life position forces the participant to adopt the other side’s position and then defend it o Behavior modeling  A method of training that makes use of imitative learning and reinforcement to modify human behavior  An expert is used as the model for the behavior  Narrow focus  Used for training in interpersonal skills, sales, industrial safety, employment interviews, etc  Skill development was greatest when learning points were presented with specific behavioural-based guidelines as opposed to general descriptions  Ex: “listen and respond with empathy to reduce defensiveness” vs “listen cafefully”  The biggest trend in training methods is the shift toward CB training Error management training  Error management training – a system of training in which employees are encouraged to make errors, and then learn from their mistakes  Two factors are critical to this organizational culture: open communication about errors, and early detection and recovery from others  Represents an inversion of conventional thinking about what contributes to our perception of a top performer – emphasis would switch to employees who “do make mistakes, and they have learned from them”  Whatever mistakes are made must not inflict harm to the organization o “best mistakes” – those that produce few/no negative consequences – high learning value, generalizable  Useful when the goal of training is to learn skills that will generalize to many tasks Management development issues  Management development – process by which individuals serving in management or leadership positions are trained to better perform the job  The one factor that seems to distinguish excellent companies from others is the amount of time and energy spent in the planning, design, and execution of developmental activities  Many managers seek continual advancement  Three personal skills linked to successful job performance: developing self-awareness, managing stress, and solving problems creatively  Four interpersonal skills: communicating supportively, gaining power and influence, motivating others, managing conflict  Underutilization of selected managerial skills and practices contributes to derailment o Derailment occurs when a manager who has been judged to have the ability to go higher fails to live up to his or her full potential and is fired/demoted/plateaued  “Glass ceiling” for women in the professional advancement in an organization – created by organizations that regulate access to developmental experiences that grooms men for powerful positions  Even women who “broke through” the glass ceiling into the highest-level executive jobs reported having less authority, fewer stock options, and less international mobility than men  Developmental activities had a more positive influence on the managerial advancement of men than women  Men were more likely than women to attend company-sponsored training courses (ages 35-54, especially)  Men gain skills and knowledge that are more relevant to managerial work – better prepared for advancement  Cultural diversity training o Two ways to approach cultural differences: ignore the differences, OR accept the cultural differences and improve relationships by teaching people from each culture to appreciate the other culture’s perspective o Melting pot conception – a concept behind fa
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