The surprising link between office friendships and learning

by Brett Henebery27 Jun 2017
Having good friends in the workplace can lead to better performance among employees, according to research.

The study – titled: Does fun promote learning? – was published in the Journal of Vocational Behaviour, and examined the relationship between fun in the workplace and informal learning.

Michael J. Tews, the lead author of the paper, said that when people are friends with their colleagues, they’re more likely to share ideas and information, resulting in an informal learning system that benefits everyone.

“When employees are afforded opportunities to socialise with one another, higher-quality relationships are more likely to develop, which can open the door for the exchange of ideas.”

The study also recommends that managers encourage ‘fun’ in the workplace.

“The key practical implication is that organisations should consider fun as a viable strategy to promote informal learning beyond traditional learning supports,” Tews said.

However, Tews pointed out that a negative interaction between core-self evaluations and fun activities in predicting learning from oneself was found in the research, suggesting that fun may not be beneficial for all individuals.

“The key practical implication is that organizations should consider fun as a viable strategy to promote informal learning beyond traditional learning supports,” he said.

“At the same time, organizations should consider the personality of their learners to ensure fun has its intended impact.”


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