New Research Memorandum (ROA-RM-2018/1)
Do new ways of working increase informal learning? by Ruud Gerards, Andries de Grip and Arnoud Weustink
This paper is the first study on the impact of new ways of working (NWW) on informal learning at work. Controlling for a wide range of known antecedents of informal learning, we find that NWW, as an aggregate construct, are positively related to employees’ informal learning in the Netherlands. This relation is partially mediated by the frequency with which employees receive feedback from their supervisor and co-workers. This mediating effect mostly runs via critical feedback and less so via positive feedback. However, the direct effect of NWW on informal learning is greater than the total indirect effect. Further analysis shows that one particular NWW facet, access to organizational knowledge, is an independent driver of informal learning that is hardly mediated by receiving feedback. Our findings suggest that human resource and general managers who seek new ways to stimulate informal learning can do so by giving their employees more access to organizational knowledge, for instance, by leveraging the potential of modern information and communication technologies.