G5 Doctoral dissertation (article)
Self-directed workplace learning in technology-based work : "Self-learning is present every day - in fact, it's my job" (2020)

Lemmetty, S. (2020). Self-directed workplace learning in technology-based work : "Self-learning is present every day - in fact, it's my job" [Doctoral dissertation]. Jyväskylän yliopisto. JYU Dissertations, 243. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8196-9

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsLemmetty, Soila


Journal or seriesJYU Dissertations


Publication year2020

Number in series243

Number of pages in the book1 verkkoaineisto (108 sivua, 85 sivua useina numerointijaksoina, 3 numeroimatonta sivua)

PublisherJyväskylän yliopisto

Place of PublicationJyväskylä

Publication countryFinland

Publication languageEnglish

Persistent website addresshttp://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8196-9

Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessOpen Access channel


This study focuses on the nature of the self-directed learning (SDL) at work. The aim of this study was to develop a sociocultural understanding of the concept of self-directed workplace learning (SDWL) by examining the nature of the SDWL phenomenon in technology-based work. The study examined SDL in Finnish technology organizations through three research questions: How self-directed learning is described in the context of technology-based work? How does self-directed learning as sociocultural phenomenon emerge in technology-based work? What kinds of sociocultural frames are linked in self-directed learning in technology-based work? This study utilizes an ethnographic research strategy based on observations and interviews. Three Finnish technology organizations participated in the study. Data were collected due fieldwork. Observations were written in a field diary and interactions recorded as field recordings. In addition, interviews were conducted with 46 employees in the target organizations. Discourse analysis, thematic analysis and ethnographic analysis tools were used as analytical methods. The results showed that SDWL is a sociocultural and paradoxical phenomenon. Although the role of the individual is important in the sociocultural context, the possibility for and nature of SDWL depends on situational, contextual, collective, cultural and structural factors in organisations. SDWL can produce creativity and manifest as a productive phenomenon but it can also be a burden and thus a problematic phenomenon. A key issue is how SDWL is enabled and supported in organizations from a sociocultural perspective. The study contributes theoretically, as the results question the utility of examining SDL as individual phenomenon. SDL is based not only on the abilities of individuals, but on the environment in which it is expected to occur. Moreover, the positivity of the phenomenon of SDL can also be questioned, as it seems that SDL can, at worst, manifest as a stressful and problematic phenomenon. For practice, the findings can help workplace actors, managers and supervisors to address the opportunities and challenges of SDL in working life, and thereby develop organizational structures, cultures and practices that support the positive benefits of SDL in organizations. Societal level, this study offers new understanding to the challenges of individualism.

Keywordsself-directionleadership (activity)self-leadershiplearningon-the-job learninglearning organisationobservationworking lifework communitiescreativitycreative activityadult educationandragogyethnographyfocused interviews

Free keywordsself-directed learning; andragogy; workplace learning; creative activity; ethnography; technology-based work

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2020

Last updated on 2024-03-04 at 20:46