Developmental managers: Line managers as facilitators of workplace learning in voluntary organisations

Beattie, Rona S (2002) Developmental managers: Line managers as facilitators of workplace learning in voluntary organisations. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This research aims to identify the behaviours used by voluntary sector senior and first line managers when facilitating employee learning in the workplace. The thesis also considers the inhibitory behaviours used by line managers. The research topic is growing in importance given the increasing drive to devolve Human Resource Development responsibilities to line managers. Yet we have limited theoretical and empirical understanding of how managers deal with such responsibilities. Following an extensive literature review of the voluntary sector, learning, and the line manager as developer, five research questions were identified. These are: i. What do line managers do to facilitate learning. ii. What do line managers do to inhibit learning. iii. What motivates line managers to develop staff. iv. What influence do individual factors have on developmental behaviours. V. What influence do organisational factors have on developmental behaviours. Case study methodology, within the traditions of phenomenology, has been used to address these research questions The empirical research was conducted in two social care organisations in the voluntary sector. The culture and values of voluntary organisations provide relatively unexplored territory for management research and may provide an environment conducive for line managers to act as developers. Furthermore, exploration of the voluntary sector helps address a significant deficit in management knowledge. The findings reveal that environmental drivers such as the 'contract' culture created demand for learning in both organisations. Organisational factors such as organisational history, mission, strategy, structure, culture, the nature of the workforce, HRD strategy and learning climate all contributed to the nature of developmental interactions and relationships, and influenced the behaviour of line managers. In particular, the role of supervision in social care was seen to be significant. Individual factors such as educational background, career experience, learning style, motivation to learn and/or to support learning also influenced the growth of developmental relationships and the behaviours used by managers. The study has identified nine categories of facilitative behaviours: caring, informing, being professional, advising, assessing, thinking, empowering, developing developers and challenging. Eight categories of inhibitory behaviours, which mirror some of the facilitative behaviours, were identified and these are; being unassertive, not giving time, being task-orientated, withholding information, being dogmatic, not assessing, not thinking and controlling. The thesis concludes by discussing implications for theory and practice that have emerged from this study. This includes the presentation of a Developmental Manager model, a future research agenda and lessons for stakeholders, such as employers, HRD specialists, managers and the academic community. In this final chapter the author also engages in a process of epistemic reflexivity.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Adviser: David Boddy
Keywords: Management, Vocational education
Date of Award: 2002
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2002-73687
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2019 08:56
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2019 08:56

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