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Diversity in Communities of Learning

The Influence of an Individual’s Hierarchical Position on


their Activity and Performance
Martin Rehm
JURE 2010, Frankfurt
21st of July, 2010
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Organizational Training

• contributing to the competitive advantage of


organizations (e.g. Nonaka, 1994)

• traditional methodologies are neutral to


circumstances (e.g. Eraut, 2000)

• superiority of collaborative learning methods


“hothouse for new ideas and thoughts”
(Schlager, Fusco & Schank, 2002)
Community of Learning (CoL)

• “engaging in collaborative learning and reflective


practice involved in transformative learning”
(Paloff & Pratt, 2003, p. 17)

“ins-and-outs”

“Expert” “Novice”

“up-to-date”
Diversity
+ sharing of experiences & effectively processing
new information
(Jehn & Bezrukova, 2004)

- create varying degrees of anxiety inhibiting


cognitive functioning
(Jehn, 1995)
Hierarchial Position
• “major obstacle to collaborative learning
processes” (Romme, 1996)

• ambiguous findings
• replicate behaviour (e.g. Thomas-Hunt, et al., 2003)
• “break free” (e.g. Edmondson, Bohmer & Pisano, 2001)
Hierarchical
Position

Community of Learning (CoL)

Activity

Performance
Setting

• Global organizational training program


(“Economics”)
• 14 weeks of e-Learning
• 27 CoLs
• 235 participants
– 80 “Low” position
– 89 “Middle” position
– 66 “High” position
• asynchronous discussions forums:
– Café-Talk
– Content-Related (real-life tasks)
Multimethod Approach

1. Hypotheses Test
• Nonparametric

2. Regression
• forced entry

3. Cluster Analysis
• two-step
Controlling for …

• Value diversity
– Questionnaire

• Informational diversity
– Educational background
– Pre-knowledge test

• Social category diversity


– Age, Gender, Ethnicity
(e.g. Jehn, et al, 1999; Pelled, Eisenhardt & Xin, 1999; van den Bossche, et al., 2006)
Research Hypotheses

• H1 - Activity:
– Low < Middle < High
“fear of speaking up and making mistakes in the
group” (Edmondson, 2002, p. 139)

• H2 - Performance:
– Low < Middle < High
“more senior managers are used to integrating
new and diverse information” (Bunderson, 2003)
Hypotheses Tests & Regression
Level of Activity / Performance

“High”

“Middle”

“Low”

Hierarchical Position
Cluster Analyses

“Follower” “Leader”
Results

• “Stars”
– Leading CoLs irrespective of hierarchical
position

• Duality of “Low”
– A small subset is not confining itself to
merely following discussions
Implications & Next Steps

• Anticipate behaviour
– device collaborative learning activities
– target specific groups
social interaction and cognitive discourse

• SNA dynamics / “one-way” vs. “reciprocal”


• CA degree of knowledge creation & diffusion
Diversity in Communities of Learning
The Influence of an Individual’s Hierarchical Position on
their Activity and Performance
Martin Rehm
JURE 2010, Frankfurt
21st of July, 2010