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Considering unlearning in HRD practices: an Australian study
The purpose of this paper is to explore the level of consideration given to unlearning during human resource development interventions and to identify the methods being used to reinforce training and development. Design/methodology/approach – A self-administered questionnaire was given to a convenience sample of employers in regional Queensland and the Northern Territory, Australia. Analysis of responses using descriptive statistics was conducted to identify whether approaches differed in relation to unlearning and reinforcement between large and small organisations, and between thosewith high labour turnover and those with low labour turnover. Findings – Results reveal that larger organisations give far more consideration to unlearning than smaller organisations. Those organisations with high labour turnover focus less on unlearning that those with a more stable workforce. Coaching and performance feedback were reported as the mostcommonly used method of reinforcement of learning and unlearning. Research limitations/implications – Low response rates mean that results are not statistically generalisable. Owing to the regional location of respondents there may be differences in findings in large metropolitan centres. Practical implications – Reinforces to practitioners the need to consider unlearning, and also indicates a need for further research in this area. From a managerial perspective the results show that managers need to employ a range of tools and techniques to ensure unlearning can occur.Originality/value – This paper reports on a study examining unlearning; and begins to address the lack of empirical research on this important concept.