Title page for ETD etd-02152012-114353

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Ward, Michelle Eluize
URN etd-02152012-114353
Document Title A group dynamics perspective of the experiences of adult learners taking part in a learnership program
Degree MCom
Department Human Resource Management
Advisor Name Title
Mr J H Cooper Supervisor
  • adult learning
  • group
  • learnership
  • groep
  • group constructs
  • leerlingskap
  • volwasseleer
  • groepkonstrukte
  • groepdinamika
  • group theories
  • groepteorieë
  • group dynamics
Date 2010-06-01
Availability unrestricted
The aim of this study was to explore, from a group dynamics perspective, the adult learners' experiences in a learnership program structured to include employed and unemployed learners. A secondary aim was to develop guidelines for practitioners regarding the implementation of learnerships that are structured to include employed and unemployed learners, taking into account the group dynamics at play.

The case study played out within a pharmaceutical distribution company within South Africa. A qualitative, constructivist grounded theory method was used to analyse the data that were collected by means of questionnaires and focus groups. The data collected were transcribed and uploaded into Atlas.ti, which is a visual qualitative data analysis and theorybuilding software program that contributes to the management of qualitative data. It was used to complete a rigorous inductive-abductive analysis. The final code list contained 277 codes linked to 29 code families which in turn were linked to 8 super families. These super families were described and the experiences of the learners were then interpreted by means of a number of group dynamics theories and adult learning theories that were discussed in the preceding literature chapters.

In the case study the exploration of the learners' experience indicated that certain group dynamics were not taken into consideration and this led to an emotionally burdened experience. If one considers the adult learning theory, these experiences could influence the learning effectiveness. The implementation of a learnership program taking the group dynamics into consideration prior to implementation thereof, could contribute towards a more successful learnership. Guidelines were given based on the conclusions of the research for example:

  • Ensure that all the relevant parties including management, supervisors, employed learners, unemployed learners, employed staff, SETA etc. strive towards the same goal right from the start.
  • Integrate the employed and unemployed learners' rights from the start so that the unemployed learners are accepted as part of the system.
  • Make it very clear to the employed staff that the unemployed learners are not a threat to their employment within the company as the unemployed learners have not been given a commitment that they will be employed after the learnership.
  • Make sure that the training facilitators are well trained and equipped to deal with the group dynamics that can develop in the classroom environment so that they can contribute to the containment of emotions and to alert the company of the events.
  • Ensure that change agents are available to monitor and manage these group dynamics.
  • Explain the differences and similarities that might exist between the groups and assist the groups to realise their mutually dependent relationship.

The guidelines obtained from this study can be used to stimulate the thinking process when planning and managing the implementation of a learnership program in order to be aware of consequential implications that group dynamics can have on the successful implementation of such a learning program. The conclusions and guidelines will be useful to human resources practitioners, training providers and line managers that are planning to implement similar learnership programs.

AFRIKAANS: Die doel van die studie was om volwasse leerders betrokke by ‘n leerlingskapprogram wat gestruktureer is om bestaande werkers en werklose leerders in te sluit, se ervaring vanuit ‘n groepdinamika perspektief te ondersoek. ‘n Sekondêre doelwit was om riglyne te ontwikkel vir mense in die praktyk met betrekking tot die implementering van ‘n leerlingskapprogram vir volwasse leerders bestaande uit werklose leerders en leerders in diens van ‘n bepaalde maatskappy, met in agneming van die groepdinamika daarby betrokke.

Die gevallestudie het plaasgevind binne ‘n farmaseutiese verspreidingsmaatskappy in Suid-Afrika. ‘n Kwalitatiewe, konstruktiwistiese metode is gebruik om die data te analiseer wat deur vraelyste en fokusgroepe versamel is. Die data is getranskribeer en ingelees in Atlas.ti, wat ‘n visuele kwalitatiewe data-analise en teoretiese gebaseerde sagtewareprogram is wat bydra tot die bestuur van kwalitatiewe data. Hierdie program is gebruik om ‘n indringende gebaseerde teorieanalise te doen. Die finale kodelys bestaan uit 277 kodes gekoppel aan 29 kode families wat weer op hul beurt gekoppel is aan 8 hooffamilies. Hierdie hooffamilies is beskryf en die navorsingsgebeure van die studie is by wyse van groepdinamikateorieë en volwasseleerteorieë (wat in die vorige literatuur hoofstukke van die studie bespreek is) geïnterpreteer.

In hierdie gevallestudie het die interpretasie van die ervarings van die leerders wat ondersoek is, daarop gewys dat sekere groepdinamika nie oorweeg is nie en dat dit gelei het tot ‘n emosionele stresvolle ervaring. Volwasseleerteorie dui aan dat hierdie ervarings die leereffektiwiteit kon beïnvloed het. Die implementering van ‘n leerlingskap program waar die groepdinamika in ag geneem word voor die implementering kan bydra tot die sukses van soortgelyke leerlingskapprogramme.

Die riglyne wat deur hierdie studie verkry is, kan gebruik word om die denkproses te stimuleer tydens die beplanning en die bestuur van die implementering van soortgelyke leerlingskapprogramme. Dit sal veroorsaak dat die betrokke persone bewus is van die invloed van groepdinamika kan hê met betrekking tot die suksesvolle implementering van ‘n leerlingskap program. Die navorsingsinligting wat ingewin is, sal bruikbaar wees vir menslike hulpbronne praktisyne, opleidingsvoorsieners en lynbestuurders wat beplan om ‘n soortgelyke leerlingskapprogram te implementeer.

Copyright 2010, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Ward, ME 2010, A group dynamics perspective of the experiences of adult learners taking part in a learnership program, MCom dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-02152012-114353 / >


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