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Title: All Show and No Know? The Effects of Outcome Transparency and Learning Path on Employee Learning Behaviors
Eddy Cardinaels, Tilburg University and KU Leuven,
Jongwoon (Willie) Choi, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Qinnan Ruan, Tilburg University
Using an experiment, we examine the effects of outcome transparency and learning path on employee learning. Firms implement employee learning programs to improve their employees’ knowledge. Many firms publicly recognize employees’ learning outcomes or achievements in such programs to motivate greater learning. However, we predict and find such outcome transparency can be costly by increasing employees’ propensity to engage in ineffective learning behaviors. Further, we predict and find this propensity is greater when learning programs involve standardized learning paths (identical program content for all employees) than personalized learning paths (program content tailored to employees’ interests, knowledge, and skills), as personalized learning paths offset the effects of outcome transparency on employee learning by increasing employee curiosity. Thus, the harmful effects of outcome transparency should be considered when companies design their employee learning programs, and including a personalized learning path can help to make such programs more effective.
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