Author

Linda Gfrerer

Department

Organization Development

Date of Paper/Work

2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Organization Development (Ed.D.)

Type of Paper/Work

Dissertation

Advisors

William Brendel, Susan Eklund, David Jamieson

Abstract

The purpose of this exploratory case study was to understand how informal learning phenomena influence nurses’ perceived levels of empowerment and engagement in the work environment. Four registered nurses employed at a pediatric specialty hospital, located in a large metropolitan city in the Midwest, participated in the study. Face to face semi-structured interviews of the participants were the primary source of data. In addition to the interview, the participants were asked to answer a question in writing regarding a conflict situation in the work environment. Data analysis was completed within each case and across cases. The findings resulted in narrative that described numerous examples of the relationship of empowerment and engagement to informal learning. Another finding was the study participants gave numerous examples of conditions that enabled informal learning. There were no examples of barriers to informal learning in the work environment identified by the study participants.

The study is significant in that the importance of informal learning was explained in detail by the study participants in their responses to the interview questions. Such detailed explanations may be utilized by hospital leaders, nurse leaders, nurse educators, and nurses themselves to improve the work environment to support elements of informal learning that provide a palpable sense of empowerment and engagement. In addition, the detailed explanations by the study participants explaining informal learning may serve as resource material for Organization Development professionals in working with healthcare organizations to help develop and further test the significance of informal learning in the workplace.

Keywords

workplace empowerment, workplace engagement, informal learning, nursing, healthy work environment

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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