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Learning at transition for new and experienced staff. Anoush Margaryan (with Colin Milligan and Allison Littlejohn) Caledonian Academy, Glasgow Caledonian University. Competences in defining and solving novel problems , for which no knowledge base exists Interdisciplinarity

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learning at transition for new and experienced staff

Learning at transition for new and experienced staff

Anoush Margaryan (with Colin Milliganand Allison Littlejohn)

Caledonian Academy, Glasgow Caledonian University


Competences in defining and solving novel problems, for which no knowledge base exists

  • Interdisciplinarity
  • Understanding and using technology with focus on general principles rather than specifics
  • ‘Crew change’: capturing, sharing, reusing and transferring knowledge dynamically
  • Increased ‘time to competence’: need to bring new staff up to speed quickly
  • Project-based work: collaboration and teamwork, criss-crossing geographic, disciplinary and cultural boundaries

RQ1. What are the learning experiences of novice and experienced staff undergoing transition? RQ2. What are the organisational socialisation experiences of novice and experienced staff?


task mastery

role clarity

work group integration

initial skills and knowledgeexpectationsprior experiencemotivation

Role Adjustment


Semi-structured interviews (n=29):novices (≤3 y)=8experienced (≥11 y)=12 midcareer (4-10 y)=9Inductive analysis of emergent categories


Experienced staff (n=12):‘veterans’ (no recent role change)=1‘movers’ (changed role within company)=8 ‘expert hires’ (recruited externally)=3


multidisciplinary project teamsjob rotation (every 4 years for experienced staff, more frequently for novices)young professional programme(courses, coaching and mentoring, job rotation, PDP, graduate network)


“… you move around and you are able to define what you really want to do and what your gaps in areas of development should be. So …after a year you should be in a very good position to identify what you should be doing from now on”. (N3).

“The networking aspect is part of the whole [company] culture and it is also in my [performance review] to build different networks and engage with people. I have got a mentor and I have got involved in [my discipline’s] Graduate Network.” (N1).


“I had done [role] and done [role], I had done literally every kind of [role] … what I needed was to move into a different area, you get reinvigorated because you are learning something new” (E12).

“I moved into [this part of the company] a couple of years ago now. It was the first time I had ever worked in [this part of the company]. There is this assumption that because you have been in [the company] you know everything you need to know about getting a network and getting connected. Well, moving from one [part of the company] to another … is equivalent in the external world to changing company [but] the whole onboarding process of getting you connected and getting you a network just doesn’t happen” (E12).


“I am trying to leverage my own knowledge and experience regarding my [discipline] … because I have a large network [outside the company]. I am also a member of the board of [national professional network] and I share this knowledge …” (E8).

“[in] my last role one of the things I did was network across the [domain] industry in the [my country]. I don’t feel that has been taken advantage of” (E10).


“Because I have little experience of [this discipline] within [this company] … I would look for someone who has more experience than me. I would call him for a lunch and say ‘okay I have this negotiation and I am thinking about doing this kind of approach, what do you think, … Then I weigh the approach I imagined and the approach the coach tells to me about and … I make a hybrid from the two experiences, mine and my coach’s.” (E9).


Recognise that transition represents a period of adjustment, and build in explicit activities (and time) for experienced newcomers to devote to managing this transition, transferring and refining their existing skills and practices to new contexts


The domains of workplace learning and organisational socialisation exist in relative isolation, but the practices being investigated overlap considerably.


Saks, A.M., Uggerslev, K.A. and Fassina, N.E. (2007) Socialization tactics and newcomer adjustment: A meta-analytic review and test of a model. Journal of Vocational Behavior 70, 413-446.

Van Maanen, J. and Schein, E.H. (1979) Toward a theory of organizational socialization, Research in Organizational Behavior I, 209-264.

Jones, G. R. (1986) Socialization tactics, self-efficacy, and newcomers’ adjustments to organizations. Academy of Management Journal 29, 262-279.

Nicholson, N. (1984) A theory of work role transitions. Administrative Science Quarterly 29, 172-191.

Kammeyer-Mueller, J. and Wanberg, C.R. (2003) Unwrapping the organizational entry process: disentangling multiple antecedents and their pathways to adjustment. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88 (5) 779-794.

Bauer, T.N., Bodner, T., Erdogan, B., Truxillo, D.M. and Tucker, J.S. (2007) Newcomer adjustment during organizational socialization: a meta-analytic review of antecedents, outcomes, and methods. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92(3) 707-721 41-55.

Cooper-Thomas, H., Anderson, N. and Cash, M. (2012) Investigating organizational socialization: a fresh look at newcomer adjustment strategies. Personnel Review, 41(1) 41-55