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Lifelong learning in eastern and western culture organizations in Singapore

Soon, Neo Thiam (2009) Lifelong learning in eastern and western culture organizations in Singapore. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



In Singapore, the government has recognized the importance of lifelong learning at the workplace. It is the new educational reality as knowledge is highly marketable in the knowledge society and organizations will benefit and prosper so long as they continue to capitalize upon their intellectual resources. All companies operating in Singapore will need to assume responsibility in establishing an organization learning curriculum, both formal and informal but as Singapore is a multicultural environment with companies from different parts of the world, it can be hypothesized that they will react differently to this need. The main purpose of this study is to seek a better understanding of the impact of Eastern and Western cultural differences on the development of lifelong learning at their workplace in a learning organization in Singapore. The instruments used in this study include questionnaires and semi-structured interviews with employees from an Eastern-Singapore and a Western-German culture case-study organizations. The questionnaires comprised four main measures concerning: (1) The development of subject matter expertise; (2) Problem-solving techniques; (3) The development of reflective skills and (4) The climate of personal and social relationships in the organizations studied. Both quantitative and qualitative data show that the Eastern-Singaporean and Western-German culture case-study companies have positive patterns of development towards establishing some form of corporate curriculum. There is no significant difference in the way they drive for lifelong learning at workplace. On the other hand there are some differences such as the intensity and scope of training which can be explained by reference to theories of cultural difference. On the other hand, there is no evidence to show that the case-study companies provided skills training in areas outside the employees' current domains. This somewhat negative conclusion has implications that it is not just culture that explains the restricted training programmes of these companies. Perhaps, the local economic situation of Singapore, under pressure for business effectiveness, is a much more decisive factor encouraging managers to interpret their needs for training in some restricted way. Based on the research, it is concluded that in Singapore where globalization activities are very intense, the impact of business survival is closing the gap between the Eastern and Western culture organizations in the field of Gaining development. It is also concluded that lifelong learning at the workplace of both the Eastern-Singaporean and Western-German culture organizations is very much limited to the current domains that the employees are assigned to.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Education
Thesis Date:2009
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Sep 2011 18:25

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