Informal learning in the workplace: a case study in Qatar

Al-Hajri, D., 2022. Informal learning in the workplace: a case study in Qatar. DBA, Nottingham Trent University.

DANA ALHAJRI 2023 thesis.pdf - Published version

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Learning is one of the core elements that progressively supports individuals’ and teams’ short- and long-term development in organisations. It can be either be formal, following a structured and aided approach driven by organisations themselves, or informal learning that often has no defined structure and this makes it phenomenologically more complex. Conceptually, informal learning is referred to as an unstructured approach based on different activities that can occur at individual, dyadic or team levels. Although many studies have explored different approaches and models for informal learning in organisations, limited evidence has elaborated on informal learning based on activities at different levels (individual, dyadic and team). The nature of informal learning remains complex, especially in developing regions such as the Middle East where there is a dearth of research on the subject. This study aims to provide an improved understanding of facilitating informal learning at three levels across teams (self-reflection (individual), managerial coaching (dyadic), and knowledge exchange (team)) in Qatar. The study is contextualised within a telecommunication company used as a case study.

To contextualise informal learning, mixed methods research was used to attain the primary data within the context of a case study. Data collection was conducted sequentially in two phases. Phase one used a questionnaire to examine the types of informal learning activities performed and the factors that influence informal learning practices with data collected from 47 teams and 47 supervisors from various departments. The quantitative analysis revealed that, with respect to informal learning, self-reflection as an informal learning activity is inversely related to team performance. Quantitative analysis also revealed that age and education level have an impact on different individuals in terms of pursuing informal learning. Phase one was concluded by positioning the 47 teams into a graphical form using scatter plots which classified teams across four different quadrants based on informal learning activity (self-reflection, managerial coaching and team knowledge exchange) vs. team performance. For Phase two, the data was collected using focus groups with 11 teams selected from the four quadrants. Thematic analysis was used where five themes were identified: trust and team bonding, leadership style, characteristics of a task, organisational characteristics, and motivations for informal learning. Through the themes, several factors (e.g. access to information, willingness to share knowledge) were identified, and later mapped to each informal learning activity.

The analysis also identified the interrelationship between different facilitators (referred to in this research as themes) toward informal learning activities. Therefore, this research puts forward an organisational framework of informal learning that supports an improved understanding of facilitating it. The theoretical contribution of this thesis is extending the impact of facilitators through understanding the harmonies between them in enabling different informal learning activities. The practical contribution lies in applying/testing the output from this research within similar contexts in Qatar and perhaps extending it to other countries in the Middle East and beyond.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Al-Hajri, D.
Date: October 2022
Rights: This work is the intellectual property of the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level, and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed to the owner of the Intellectual Property Rights.
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Business School
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 21 Feb 2023 14:26
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2023 14:26

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