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Over the past two decades, research has shown a growing consensus that 70% to 90% of organizational learning occurs not through formal training but informally, on-the-job, and in an ongoing manner. Despite this emerging consensus, primary data on the nature and correlates of informal learning remains sparse. The purpose of this study was to provide an integrative definition of informal learning behaviors (ILBs) and to synthesize existing primary data through meta-analysis to explore ILB correlates.
Given that there has been little systematic treatment of ILBs, we defined their construct domain and tested relationships suggested by our research questions with antecedents (personal factors, situational factors) and outcomes (attitudes, knowledge/skill acquisition, performance) using random effects meta-analyses (k = 49, N = 55,514).
Our results showed both personal and situational antecedent factors to be predictive of ILBs, as well as ILB–outcome relationships.
Findings indicate that engagement in ILBs for working adults is linked to valued criteria such as attitudes (ρ = .29), knowledge/skill acquisition (ρ = .41), and performance (ρ = .42). We provide suggestions for future research and actionable advice for organizations to support the development of ILBs.
Although hundreds of studies and over a dozen meta-analyses have explored the nature and effectiveness of formal learning in the workplace, our work is the first attempt to conceptualize a unified definition of ILBs and to aggregate primary data on ILB correlates using meta-analysis.
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- Antecedents and Outcomes of Informal Learning Behaviors: a Meta-Analysis
Christopher P. Cerasoli
George M. Alliger
Jamie S. Donsbach
John E. Mathieu
Scott I. Tannenbaum
Karin A. Orvis
- Springer US
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