Date of Award

12-1996

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Human Ecology

Major Professor

Gerald Cheek

Committee Members

Clifton Campbell, Roger Haskell, & Robert Maddox

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to identify and define the factors that affect the transfer of newly learned skills to the job. One factor that has been shown to affect the transfer of training to the job is the extent to which the training participants are given the opportunity to perform trained tasks once they return to their jobs. The opportunity to perform was to consist of two dimensions: breadth and activity level.

Training participants from a government facility and their immediate supervisors (N = 74) responded to two different questionnaires which measured the three dimensions of the opportunity to perform and various organizational, work context, and individual factors 90 days after the trainees had completed a Project Management training program.

The study utilized a one-shot program evaluation design. A Pearson's product-moment correlation coefficient and a multiple regression analysis was performed to determine if significant relationships existed at the .05 level of significance. Correlated variables were the opportunity-to-perform index and the independent variables under study: type of tasks, supervisory perception, work group support, pace of work, self-efficacy, and career motivation.

The study found that (a) trainees received differential opportunities to perform trained tasks after training and (b) differences in opportunity were related to factors in the trainee's transfer environment, as well as the trainee's individual characteristics. Findings indicated that trainees who were perceived by their immediate supervisor to be competent obtained greater breadth of experience and performed the more complex and difficult tasks than those with less supervisory support. The study also showed that trainees assigned to work groups that were perceived as highly supportive were more likely to perform a broader range of tasks, with more repetitions, and more complex types of tasks than those trainees in less supportive environments. Additionally, trainee's with higher levels of self-efficacy and career motivation were similarly found to have significantly greater opportunities to perform.

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