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ERIC Number: ED554448
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 151
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3031-9863-2
Incidental Learning in a Complex Clinical Workplace
Harner, Michael Dean
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Northern Illinois University
Workplace learning is complex as employees engage in activities to meet organizational objectives. This study investigates incidental learning in a complex clinical environment. The systems created to collect information and perform patient-visit functions involve several people who have distinct roles that can impact how subsequent people in the system perform their roles. Within the formal workflows and policies that have been established, employees have been trained to perform prescribed tasks and interact with each other to accomplish stipulated duties. Interactions between coworkers take place and result in incidental learning in ways that managers or participants are unable to predict. Individual learning evolves through the cycles of communication that have inherent constraints and enablers, as people participate in their respective roles working alongside one another. The purpose of the study was to better understand how incidental learning activities take place as a part of formally established systems in a complex work environment. A qualitative study was completed in which 21 semistructured interviews were conducted in an effort to answer two research questions. The literature that guided the study was informal and incidental learning and complexity science. Interaction, communication, and power elements took place among employees and combined with incidental learning to create unanticipated patterns of behavior. Fives themes (incidental experiential learning, collaboration, expert power, learning environment, and complexity) emerged from data analysis to support how incidental learning occurred in formalized systems and what factors influenced incidental learning. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A