Exploring human resource work design, learning mechanism and TQM: through the lens of activity theory and contextual learning theory

Ajgaonkar, Suchitra, Neelam, Netra, Behl, Abhishek, Dao, Le Trung and Lang, Le Dang (2022) Exploring human resource work design, learning mechanism and TQM: through the lens of activity theory and contextual learning theory. TQM Journal, 74 (1). pp. 70-101. ISSN 17542731

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This research examines the effects of the context on the relationship between work design, learning mechanism and total quality management (TQM). The exploratory study examines the differential effects in context on how human resources and their activities are strategically managed for achieving TQM. Two theoretical frameworks – activity theory and contextual learning theory – are concurrently used for analysis. Specifically, the manufacturing companies, the authors examine are (1) technology-intensive company which has bought technology from a global foreign establishment (MU1), (2) technology-intensive companies having their own technology (MU2) and (3) labor-intensive units (MU3) of varying organizational sizes.

This case study-based research consists of 27 in-depth interviews with managers and employees of different hierarchies in each manufacturing unit. The authors interviewed them using semi-structured questions that were pre-validated by five senior HR experts from the manufacturing industry. Document analysis, multiple site visits and website content helped triangulation. The data are coded and analyzed using Dedoose software for qualitative research.

Activity diagrams for each manufacturing unit provides task and interaction analysis. Within and cross-case analysis address complexity and challenges of contextual reality, influences on work design and learning mechanism. HRD executives must recognize that there may be well-differentiated learning behaviors that align with organizational strategy. The learning behaviors may not be well-differentiated and become very dynamic. This dynamism may be characterized by double loop and single-loop learning feeding into each other.

Practical implications
This study provides substantial practical implications for HRD and other managers in the manufacturing sector.

The new theoretical framework adds to organizational behavior studies through multi-level and cross-contextual approach. It informs strategic combinations and interactions between internal and external context, and learning needs implicating work design and TQM.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Activity theory | Contextual learning | Human resource development | Interaction | TPM |TQM | Work design
Subjects: Social Sciences and humanities > Business, Management and Accounting > Human Resource Management
JGU School/Centre: Jindal Global Business School
Depositing User: Mr. Syed Anas
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2022 15:19
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2022 15:19
Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1108/TQM-03-2021-0085
URI: https://pure.jgu.edu.in/id/eprint/930


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