Barriers to participation in learning for mid-career managers in the Scottish life assurance industry.

McCracken, Martin G (2002) Barriers to participation in learning for mid-career managers in the Scottish life assurance industry. PhD thesis, Napier University.


Download (14MB)
PDF (Volumes 1 & 2)
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (15MB)


The Life Assurance industry has been through a period of rapid change as a consequence of increased competition, which is resulting in the need for structural re-organisation.
The mid-career manager is arguably the most affected by these changes as the flattening structures and the need for obtaining new skills are leading to a re-appraisal of their role,
while also diminishing their chances of the vertical progression that was traditionally on offer.

It is against this background that an analysis of the barriers to participation in learning was undertaken through in-depth interviews with 61 managers from five of the largest
Scottish Life Assurance institutions. A grounded model was developed to identify the prevalence of both intrinsic and extrinsic factors affecting participation levels. The
model identified five intrinsic variables (Perceptual, Emotional, Motivational, Cognitive (General) and Cognitive (Vocational)) and three extrinsic factors (Culture, Management Development Culture and Physical Resources) and the managers were categorised against these variables according to their propensity to participate in learning initiatives.

While the intrinsic barriers relating to managers perceived need for learning and emotional insecurities were important, the managers appeared to primarily attribute their
levels of participation to the presence or otherwise of extrinsic variables. In particular, the organisational culture was seen to be crucial in influencing participation levels, as
there were high levels of negativity surrounding the support and guidance structures for learning. The ambiguity of reward strategies was also seen to be an inhibitor, as were time pressures.

Organisations need to address the issue of balancing participation in learning activities with the pressures originating from both mid-career managers private and professional lives as a potential solution to these external pressures. It was suggested that barriers to learning could be alleviated through better support and guidance and the development of a learning culture, encompassing top management involvement.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: Volume 2 comprises detailed case studies from several key companies.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Life assurance; Management; Training; Learning; Constraints; Organisational culture; Incentives; Support;
University Divisions/Research Centres: The Business School > School of Management and Law
Dewey Decimal Subjects: 300 Social sciences > 330 Economics > 332 Financial economics
300 Social sciences > 370 Education
600 Technology > 650 Management & public relations > 658 General management
Library of Congress Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC5201 Education extension. Adult education. Continuing education
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Item ID: 2547
Depositing User: Users 10 not found.
Date Deposited: 09 Apr 2009 15:31
Last Modified: 25 Aug 2011 09:03

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Edinburgh Napier University is a registered Scottish charity. Registration number SC018373