Learning to Perform? A Comparison of Learning Practices and Organizational Performance in Profit- and Non-Profit-Making Sectors in the UK
17 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2007
To date, much of the research on employee development activities and organizational performance has been conducted in private sector organizations, with the largely untested assumption that the same findings will apply to other sectors. This paper addresses the deficit by describing a study comparing differences in the use of employee learning practices between profit-making and non-profit-making organizations, and examining the relationship between these learning practices and multiple dimensions of organizational performance. The study data was gathered through conducting structured telephone interviews with senior training and development managers in 368 UK organizations from a range of sectors. It was found that non-profit-making organizations had greater engagement in individual employee learning practices than profit-making organizations, but no differences were found in terms of team learning practices or engagement in strategic needs analysis and evaluation activities. The analyses also indicated that individual learning practices showed a stronger relationship with performance in the non-profit-making organizations, whereas team learning practices were more significant for the profit-making companies. The learning practices collectively accounted for greater variance in organizational performance in the non-profit-making organizations. The study implies that the functional aims of organizations need to be taken into account when examining the learning practiceorganizational performance relationship.
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