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Education, Informal Learning and Development of Key Competencies in Workplaces : the Importance of Organizational Design


  • Riccardo Leoni


  • Alessandro Gaj


The objective of the study is to test the hypothesis that growth in a worker’s competency level is affected by a number of educational, training and workplace features. The focus is on the expressed competencies. Our findings show the strong statistical significance of five variables corcerning 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. These problems are addressed by using the following test procedures: (1) the introduction of variables related to personality traits to capture individual fixed effects on the organizational variables, as well as the use of a two-stage procedure (TSLS) to control for the endogeneity of employee tenure; and (2) the use of the White method of robust standard error to control for the heterogeneity of the residuals. The selection bias issue is examined in argumentative form, as there was no information in the database that would make it possible to deal with it in econometric form. However, the relevance of the hypothesis is borne out by the outcome. The policy recommendations that can be derived include the implementation of: (A) employee-management agreements to redesign workplaces in accordance with the findings of the study; (B) 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Riccardo Leoni & Alessandro Gaj, 2009. "Education, Informal Learning and Development of Key Competencies in Workplaces : the Importance of Organizational Design," Working Papers (-2012) 0905, University of Bergamo, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:brg:wpaper:0905

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