WORKPLACE LEARNING: HOW IT IS EXPERIENCED BY INTERNATIONAL EMPLOYEES IN A SWEDISH CONTEXT
Abstract: Aim:The purpose of this study is to explore the workplace learning that international employees experienced in Sweden (Gothenburg). The personal narratives of international employees aim to first understand what the role of international identity in workplace learning is. Second to identify which were the meaningful strategies or factors that empowered the international employees and support the workplace learning process.Theory:The theoretical frameworks that are used in this study are learning from a socio-cultural perspective, the holistic model for learning in working life from Illeris (2004) as an approach that relates to socio-cultural theory and Dewey’s theory of experience.Method:A narrative study is conducted to collect the empirical data, based on semi-structured interviews with international employees who live and work in Gothenburg.Results:In this research, it was found that international identity had a key role in the process of workplace learning. There were cases where international identity created some obstacles in the engagement to the workplace but on the other hand, it contributed to the bidirectional relationship that was established between the presence of international employees and the Swedish workplace culture. Secondly, it is indicated that the learning process in the working environment, was mostly informal, authentic and was occurred through participation in work practices. The meaningful strategies or factors for workplace learning were mentoring, asking questions, testing different ideas and the significance of a supportive working environment. The third emerged category of findings showed that young international employees value workplace learning as one of the important reasons that keep them in the same job and prevent them withdraw and search for a new job option.
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