Document Type

Thesis

Publication details

Edwards, JS 2013, 'Factors affecting training transfer in supervisors and hourly employees in a manufacturing organization', PhD thesis, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW.

Copyright JS Edwards 2013

Abstract

Employee training represents a significant investment for many business organizations, but training effectiveness requires training to be transferred into employee job performance. If an employee is able to transfer training into performance improvement, then the training can be considered successful. Training transfer may depend on personal, training, and work environment factors, and supervisors may differ from hourly employees in transfer motivation. However, no previously published studies have contrasted supervisors and hourly employees in personal, training, and work environment factors related to training transfer. This research study examined training transfer factors following a required safety training instituted as part of an organizational change due to an acquisition.

In this mixed methodology study, 70 hourly employees and 19 supervisors completed the Learning Transfer System Inventory Questionnaire (LTSI) of Holton (2004). The LTSI includes personal, training, and work environment factors. Differences between supervisors and hourly employees were assessed using MANCOVA to account for years of experience, with pairwise tests verified with the nonparametric Mann Whitney U at a threshold of p < .05. Further, six supervisors were interviewed.

Results demonstrated statistically significant differences between supervisors and hourly employees in perceptions of positive personal outcomes and performance-outcomes expectations, as well as in the work environment factors of supervisor support and supervisor sanctions. Interviews revealed that the organizational changes improved motivation to transfer training. This finding was supported by a 79% reduction in the OSHA reportable safety incidence rate.

This study highlights the importance of training transfer and motivation to transfer training, including important differences between supervisors and hourly employees as they grapple with organizational changes within a particular context of required safety training instituted by the acquiring company.