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ERIC Number: EJ922918
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 11
ISSN: ISSN-1366-5626
Ways of Learning in the Pharmaceutical Sales Industry
Hunter, Carrie Patricia
Journal of Workplace Learning, v22 n7 p451-462 2010
Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to document the ways pharmaceutical representatives learn for work and report attributes of (in)formality and other characteristics of ways of learning perceived as effective and frequently used. Design/methodology/approach: A total of agents 20 from 11 pharmaceutical manufacturers across Canada participated in a Delphi collaboration creating a comprehensive list of ways in which they learn for work. In-depth individual interviews with four agents explored the ways of learning they perceived as most frequent and effective. The Colley et al. framework was interpreted, extended, and applied to identify attributes of (in)formality and other elemental characteristics of these ways of learning. Findings: Agents in this rapidly changing, competitive industry worked alone in geographically distributed territories. Learning had a special role in this industry: agents developed themselves broadly as resources to gain customer-access required to promote products. Delphi participants identified 64 ways of learning (five categories). Most ways were self-initiated, self-directed, minimally structured, and may involve intentional incidental learning. Reported frequent and effective ways differed by agent, but all reported frequent and effective learning through self-directed means with mixed (in)formal attributes. Customer facilitated and peer-facilitated learning were common, despite isolation from co-workers. Originality/value: This paper reports on learning in a distinct and under-researched industry. It demonstrates the importance of peer-facilitated and on-the-job learning even in a distributed workforce and documents intentional incidental learning. It discovers an indirect way in which learning supports business objectives and it provides a framing tool for guiding reporting of characteristics of ways of learning. (Contains 3 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada