How Linking Social Learning to Performance Advances Scientific Knowledge
Organizations spend billions of dollars each year on formal training programs, yet research shows that people learn how to do their jobs through social learning methods (Hunter, 2010; Hashim, 2008; Blair & Sisakhti, 2007; Cross, 2006). A social theory of learning demonstrates that people are social beings who learn through participating in communities in pursuit of a common domain (Wenger, 1998). Although communities of practice have existed for many years and are nothing new, little research has been conducted that links participation in communities of practice with job performance. My dissertation seeks to investigate the relationship between participation of newly hired sales professionals in communities of practice and sales performance. Moreover, I endeavor to explore and understand how participating in a community of practice can help a new sales person learn job skills necessary to achieve sales goals through meaning (experience), practice (doing), community (belonging), and identity (becoming)?
Further research is needed to improve understanding about how participation in communities of practice can help newcomer sales people improve sales performance. Therefore, my study seeks to investigate how newly hired sales people learn through participating in communities of practice, and provide a link between a social theory of learning and job performance by studying the relationship between participation in the community of practice and sales results.
To further advance scientific study, I will bring a formal and systematic process of linking business goals with an otherwise informal intervention in the workforce, a community of practice (Van Tiem, Moseley & Dessinger, 2012). The HPT model is such an approach. I intend to apply three of the steps in the HPT model (design, implement, and evaluate) as a means of linking an informal learning process to business goals. The key to the study advancing scientific knowledge is to bridge the gap between an informal learning method (participation in a community of practice) and sales results. Applying the HPT model is the means for studying the gaps and to answering the research questions in my study.
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