The impact of organisational culture on work-based learning

Doherty, Oran (2016) The impact of organisational culture on work-based learning. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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Higher education institutes (HEIs) and external employer organisations are increasingly recognising the benefits of engaging in work-based learning (WBL) partnerships. However, significant challenges associated with this form of engagement have meant such partnerships are not as widespread as they could be. One of the major challenges identified relates to organisational culture. The purpose of this study is to consider how WBL partnerships between an Irish HEI (HEI X) and external employer organisations can be enhanced by a deeper understanding of organisational culture.

An ethnographic methodology combining a number of different data-gathering methods, including observation, reviewing of documents and interviews with eight HEI X staff, eight WBL learners and five employer representatives, was adopted. The findings reveal how cultural differences in relation to assumptions, timeframes, languages, objectives and general attitudes can be a source of difficulty for the three stakeholders (learner, employer and HEI). According to the findings, cultural issues within the HEI and external employer organisation can also create significant challenges when attempts are being made to initiate or coordinate a WBL partnership. Johnson’s cultural web (1988) is used as a framework to present the findings.

The study makes a valuable contribution to knowledge by recognising the requirements of all three stakeholders and discussing the usefulness of the cultural web as a framework for considering organisational culture in WBL partnerships. The study also makes a valuable contribution to practice by presenting recommendations to the HEI and external employer organisation. The recommendations for the HEI involve a change in the “way we do things around here” due to the unique characteristics of WBL programmes, which may mean adapting existing policies, procedures and systems. Recommendations for the employer organisation include providing support to the learner, understanding and respecting the HEI’s requirements, and ensuring that internal policies, procedures, practices and priorities support WBL.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Education and industry collaboration, Ethnography, Cultural Web
Subjects: N100 Business studies
X300 Academic studies in Education
Department: Faculties > Business and Law > Newcastle Business School
Depositing User: Ellen Cole
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2018 16:03
Last Modified: 22 Sep 2022 09:45

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