THE STUDY OF WORKPLACE LEARNING AND PERFORMANCE COMPETENCIES AMONG PAKISTANI PRACTITIONERS

Open Access
Author:
Sherwani, Naseem Saeed
Graduate Program:
Workforce Education and Development
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
September 02, 2010
Committee Members:
  • William J Rothwell, Dissertation Advisor
  • William J. Rothwell, Committee Chair
  • Edgar I Farmer Sr., Committee Member
  • Edgar Paul Yoder, Committee Member
  • Wesley Edward Donahue, Committee Member
Keywords:
  • Technical Competencies
  • Foundational Competencies
  • Personal Competencies
  • Interpersonal Competencies
  • Business Competencies
  • Measuring and Evaluation
  • Designing Learning
  • Delivering Training
  • Career Planning and Talent Management
  • Pakistani Practitioners
  • Competencies
  • Competency Models
  • Performance
  • Learning
  • Workplace
  • Perceptions
  • Importance of Competencies
  • Pakistani Workplace
  • Split Questionnaire Design
  • Snow ball Sampling
  • Convenience Sampling
  • Correlational Research
Abstract:
Abstract The purpose of this study was to investigate Pakistani Workplace Learning and Performance (WLP) practitioners’ perceptions of the importance of WLP competencies at the present time and in the next five years. The goals were to: (1) identify and characterize a profile of Pakistani WLP practitioners; (2) analyze perceptions of the current and future importance of WLP competencies in Pakistan; (3) measure the relationships between the perceived importance of foundational and technical competencies currently in terms of education levels; and (4) compare the existing competencies of Pakistani practitioners with those recommended by the 2004 American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) model in terms of current expertise and future expertise in terms of importance. The ASTD Competency Study: Mapping the Future (2004) was used as a conceptual framework. The original 2004 ASTD WLP questionnaire was translated, validated, pilot-tested, and distributed in several stages among 700 Pakistani WLP practitioners. A total of 286 questionnaires were returned; 270 were usable (for a response rate of 38%) and 16 were unusable. Data were collected online and also using convenience and snowball sampling techniques. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, one-way ANOVA, paired t-tests and Cohen’s d effect size. Findings revealed that Management Development/Leadership Development/Executive Development was the primary discipline (21.5 %) and Training (19.3%) was the secondary discipline in this research. With regard to the professional levels of the practitioners, 17.8% identified “manager” as their job title. About two-thirds of the respondents had received at least a master’s degree (e.g., Master of Science, Master of Arts, or Master of Business Administration) (163, 60.6%). The majority reported academic degree programs to be the predominant source of education and training for gaining WLP positions. A total of 219 (81.4%) Pakistani practitioners identified academic degree programs as the most effective sources of professional development programs (PDP). On the Business and Management Survey, the mean difference in importance was highest for searches for innovative solution(s), advancing the learning and performance of business agendas, overcoming obstacles and orchestrating efforts achieving results; managing time and developing learning and performance strategies were believed to be important in the future. On the Interpersonal Competency Survey, Pakistani WLP practitioners viewed leading by example, delivering a clear message(s), developing and deploying effective communication strategies, gaining commitment to the solution(s), conveying respect for different perspective(s), and networking with others as being more important in the future as compared to now. On the Personal Survey, participants viewed adapting to handle implementation challenges as being an important future ability demonstrating adaptability. Taking risks in learning was identified as an important future competency in modeling personal development. Participants viewed two items on knowledge Areas—career development theories and approaches and coaching approaches—as important in the future. They also reported facilitating career transition to be an important action Area in the future compared to the current time on the Career Planning and Talent Management (CPTM) Survey. They pointed out that Individual learning styles, e.g., audio, visual, is the most needed knowledge Area relating to Delivering Training. They also rated the evaluating solution(s) action Area as being of future importance relating to Delivering Training in the workplace. With regard to the Designing Learning Knowledge Areas, e.g., cognition and adult learning theory, various instructional methods and various delivery options were viewed as important, while analysis and selection of technologies implied a gap in importance to this action Area in instructional design. Looking at Measuring and Evaluation, the fact that interpretation and reporting of data was selected most often highlighted the gap in importance for this competency, while reporting conclusions and making recommendations based on findings was selected as a future competency. A one-way ANOVA test revealed statistically significant differences in perceptions of the current importance of the following items: Recognizes the impact, Understands business operations, Recognizes business priorities, Advances the learning and performance business agenda, and Targets improvement opportunities. This was found across three education levels on the Business and Management Survey. A significant relationship between education and the items Operates with integrity and Establishes common goals was revealed in answers to the Interpersonal Competencies Survey. A significant relationship was found among three education levels and Seeks to understand changes, Adapts to handle implementation challenges, and OVERALL: How important is this competency for effective performance in your current job? for Modeling Personal Development related to personal competency. The Cohen’s d effect size (Cohen, 1988, 1994) measured the degree of difference or association deemed large enough to be of practical significance. Cohen’s d effect size value was large for the majority of the items between the current importance items mean and the future importance items mean. The reasons for the selection of different sets of competencies for performing current and future jobs in Pakistan may be due to: • Time span of the study (present vs. in five years) • Random selection of international practitioners and selection of Pakistani practitioners using convenient and snowball sampling approaches • Economic and cultural backgrounds of practitioners Since this was the first WLP research study in Pakistan and involved only practitioners accessed through convenience and snowball sampling approaches, further studies of WLP practitioners are recommended using random sampling approaches at a larger scale. Through findings offered here, Pakistani WLP practitioners, HR departments, research organizations, businesses, and educational institutions in Pakistan will become aware of the possible implications of this research for self-assessment, organization development, recruitment, development, promotion, and retention. Trainers, instructional designers, curriculum developers, and academia can use these findings in designing, developing, teaching, and evaluating WLP competencies in Pakistan. According to the reported perceptions of practitioners, they endorse the importance of WLP competencies in closing the performance gap. The actions needed to close this gap include recognizing WLP programs at the university level. Future research is needed on the roles, competencies, and technical Areas of expertise of WLP practitioners in Pakistan because this Area of research has been relatively unexploited to this point.