Informal learning and development of competencies: the role of organizational designs. Implication for industrial policies
The objective of the study is to test the hypothesis that growth in a worker's competency level is affected by a set of workplace features. The focus is on the expressed "key" (or transversal) competencies. Our findings show the strong statistical significance of five variables concerning organizational nature of the workplaces, whereby employees: i) have participated in improvement groups; ii) have submitted improvement suggestions; iii) have been interviewed for performance evaluation purposes; iv) receive constant information flows; and v) are involved and consulted by the organization. The cross-sectional nature of the estimates raises typical questions concerning: a) the endogeneity of some variables; b) the problem of selection bias with respect to certain variables and, lastly, c) the heterogeneity issue. All these problems are addressed by a set of test which do not alter the main results. The policy recommendations that can be derived include the implementation of: (1) employee- management agreements to redesign workplaces in accordance with the findings of the study; (2) public policies designed to encourage the re-engineering of workplaces in line with the processes under way in the main countries of Central and Northern Europe.
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