Title page for ETD etd-03262007-173132

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Melancon, Sylvia Caillier
URN etd-03262007-173132
Title The Relationship between Participation in Professional Development and Level of Social Capital
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Human Resource Education Workforce Development
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Donna H. Redmann Committee Chair
Geraldine H. Johnson Committee Member
John-Paul Hatala Committee Member
Michael F. Burnett Committee Member
Nicholas Pedriana Dean's Representative
  • human resource development
  • workplace learning
  • training and development
  • social networks
  • social capital
  • human capital
Date of Defense 2007-02-09
Availability unrestricted
The purpose of this study was to determine if a relationship exists between level of social capital and the extent of participation in professional development activities for professional employees of a profit-based organization located in the Southeastern United States.

The researcher used survey methodology to determine the extent of participation in professional development activities within a 12 month period and the level of social capital within an organizational setting. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to determine if a model exists to explain a significant portion of the variance in the extent of participation in professional development activities from selected demographic variables and level of social capital.

One key conclusion is that the study participants engaged in more self-initiated activities than any other type of professional development activity. Self-initiated activities include such activities as searching the internet for work-related information and seeking work-related information from a mentor or colleague. A second conclusion is that social capital was found to be a significant predictor of participation in voluntary professional development activities that were in individual settings. This second conclusion addresses the recent emphasis on the need to study social networks in order to understand participation in learning activities (Hatala, 2006). In addressing this need, the conclusion helps to bridge a gap in human resource development literature by increasing the understanding of the role of social capital in participation in professional development activities. Given that individual activities include one-on-one collaborations with mentors/colleagues, it is recommended that human resource development professionals include mentoring and relationship building in employee development plans to encourage the use of one-on-one contacts to support the acquisition of work-related information.

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