An examination of learning resulting from a transition from a directed to a self-directed work environment
MetadataShow full item record
~ This study focuses on the process of self-directed learning that individuals go through as they adapt to new work situations. This is a study of how one critical incident, specifically the transition from a traditional office structure to a home office structure, affected employees and what their learning process was as they adapted to the new environment. This study has 3 educational foundations: adult learning, self-directed learning, and the social context from which the learning will occur. Six women and 2 men were interviewed approximately 1 year following the transition. Analysis of the data revealed 5 themes of: impacts of the self-directed environment on participants' personal lives, their roles, skill set, productivity, and the physical environment; support offered by the organization, family, and office administration; personal development, specific learning needs, and personal skills; boundaries as they relate to family and work; and skill set and orientation requirements of new home office employees. The findings revealed the learning processes of the 8 participants. The learning processes of these participants were discussed within a theoretical framework of the learners, their immediate surroundings, and the larger social environment. The results indicated that the transition from a directed work environment to a self directed work environment is a complex, interrelated process. An element found throughout the theoretical framework is that of control. A second critical element is the need for participants to have a clearly defined work role and an opportunity to engage in discussion with peers and the community. Further findings reinforced the importance of climate and found that the physical environment is a key factor in a successful selfdirected work environment. The findings of this study revealed that no one factor makes an individual function successfully in a self-directed work environment, but that it is a complex interplay among the leamer, their immediate surroundings, and the social environment that will have the greatest impact on success. Recommendations are made which can be used to guide organizational leaders in facilitating employees' transition from a directed to a self-directed work environment. Additionally, recommendations are made for further research in the area of self-directed work environments.