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Self-Managed Learning in Maritime Company Report

Executive Summary

Self-Managed Learning is the modern approach to management development and to professional development according to which employees become responsible for their learning according to their needs and skills. Thus, Self-Managed Learning can be discussed as a continuous empowerment process.

During recent decades, companies are inclined to empower their employees by sending them to work related seminars and workshops. However, this approach is less effective when compared to the gains made from the Self-Managed Learning approach. This paper focuses on the appropriateness of using the Self-Managed Learning approach at the Maritime Company to contribute to the professional development of employees.

Self-Managed Learning can be easily implemented at the company with references to the approach’s main principles because the developed shipping industry requires new techniques to improving the employees’ potential. Thus, the current approach used by the Maritime Company should be removed with Self-Managed Learning.



The increased competition among companies in many industries influences organisations and make them find the other ways of acquiring knowledge. Companies choose to focus on the Self-Managed Learning as one of the ways to improve their progress and competitiveness.

The report on feasibility and methods to implement Self-Managed Learning in the Maritime Company is developed to be presented to the company’s management team in order to conclude about the appropriateness of using this technique to improve the managers’ performance.

Aims and Objectives

Employees can contribute to the achievement of organisational goals individually, with references to their training, learning, and professional growth. That is why, it is important for the Maritime Company to promote Self-Managed Learning in all its departments.

The aim of this report is to provide the information on the idea of Self-Managed Learning and discuss the appropriateness of this approach to be implemented in the Maritime Company in order to contribute to the company’s development. The report presents the information on the concept and principles of Self-Managed Learning, on the preparedness of the organisation to implement the approach, and on the possibilities to use the method in the Maritime Company.

Scope of the Work

The current report is focused on the idea of Self-Managed Learning in general, and on the methods to implement this management development approach in the Maritime Company in particular. Thus, the aspects of the Maritime Company’s management development are discussed in the paper.

The Self-Managed Learning Debate

Nowadays, companies view the knowledge they operate as their most valued resources. However, these assets are prone to depreciation due to the changes in the markets. That is why, it is necessary for companies to embrace Self-Managed Learning as a continuous empowerment process (Abbott 1992; Mcgill 2004). This approach depends on the necessity to overcome many challenges experienced by the companies in relation to the management development and individual employee’s work.

Definition of Self-Managed Learning

Self-Managed Learning can be defined as the approach according to which the initiative to acquire more knowledge belongs to individual employees and management teams who become responsible for their own learning and progress. According to the traditional approach, organisations are responsible for initiating the acquisition of knowledge by scheduling regular seminars and workshops where their employees should often learn collectively (Brockbank 2002).

There are concerns regarding the effectiveness of collective learning sessions because they are not efficient while being compared to Self-Managed Learning. In this case, knowledge is transmitted to employees without focusing on their individual needs (Brockbank 2002). This fact means that some information is useful only for certain employees (Cameron 2005). For instance, it is ineffective to invite junior employees to participate in a workshop that is meant to train managers.

According to the idea of Self-Managed Learning, employees are encouraged to identify the particular skills that they need to develop in relation to their expertise with references to the concrete programmes for Self-Managed Learning (Wallace 2006).

For instance, the employees of the Maritime Company can decide to choose different individual training sessions because of working in various departments, including finance, human resource management, procurement, and administration among others. It is also advisable to determine the same criteria while developing a Self-Managed Learning program (Martin 2004).

Relationship between Self-Managed Learning, the Learning Organisation and Professional Development

The relationship between Self-Managed Learning, the learning organisation, and professional development is obvious because learning organisations focus on enhancing their competitive advantage while focusing on knowledge and development, including the professional development of employees, and Self-Managed Learning can be discussed as the effective approach to contribute to this development while focusing on the needs of the individual employees.

Referring to the idea of Self-Managed Learning, an employee realises that he or she can achieve more progress and accomplishments by developing definite skills. Moreover, skilful employees are more productive and responsible, and these employees’ contributions can be reflected in the company’s output, even in terms of services rendered to the customers. As a result, responsible employees choose Self-Managed Learning to contribute to their professional development.

Moreover, the concept of Self-Managed Learning helps in the retention and encouragement of existing talents within the company which aims to operate as the learning organisation.

There can be no organisational learning without the principles used in Self-Managed Learning. In fact, organisational learning can be measured by assessing the intensity and effectiveness of Self-Managed Learning and by evaluating the performance of those employees involved in Self-Managed Learning in comparison with those ones who only develop their skills.

Desirability of Self-Managed Learning in the Shipping/Maritime Industry

In the context of the maritime industry, new companies develop, and the only way for existing companies to operate effectively is to promote Self-Managed Learning. The shipping/maritime industry is the actively developed sphere where companies are focused on the short-term perfect results in order to state their position within the industry (Wilson 2009).

As a result, the effective training and motivation for employees is necessary. Therefore, the Maritime Company can benefit from implementing Self-Managed Learning directly. This outcome is possible because the employees become oriented to apply the lessons learnt in relation to the duties that are assigned to them with the focus on quality and progress (Winstanley 2005).

Focusing on the realities of the shipping/maritime industry, it is possible to note that Self-Managed Learning makes it possible for employees to advance their careers at their own pleasure and according to their needs. The company within the industry does not need to persuade employees to enrol in any classes.

In this case, the desire to acquire more skills comes from employees (Harrison 2009). Motivation can be caused by the interactions with the other employees within the industry who have already benefited from this approach. Employees who succeed in advancing their skills usually command better payments and rely on the performance appraisals (Cottrell 2010; Cottrell 2011).

Every company that has a clear focus of future goals and expectations must have a strategic plan developed according to the analysis of the employees’ progress (Cameron 2008; Fox 2000). Strategic planning enables a company to achieve its goals despite the challenges that might arise. When Self-Managed Learning is implemented, it becomes the part of the company’s strategic plan (Easterby-Smith, Crossan, & Nicolini 2000). Thus, the employees who continue to develop their skills will be able to cope with the future challenges effectively.

Implementing Self-Managed Learning

Current Approach

The Maritime Company is inclined to follow the traditional approach to professional development of employees through organising workshops and seminars as well as other types of the training sessions. This information comes from the reports on the employees’ performance assessments.

The company also arrange workshops and seminars where the employees from different departments exchange experience. This mode of learning cannot be discussed as rather effective. Focusing on inviting external consultants, the company cannot benefit completely from these training activities. Employees can attend various seminars and exhibitions where the educators do not necessarily know the core objectives of each company (Megginson 2007; Owen 2009).

The objectives of each company are very important to influence the path of studies to be undertaken by employees. Additionally, many employees are inclined to learn from their peers through observation. Today, the management team is responsible for evaluating the employees’ progress according to the completed tasks to decide about the necessity of the additional training. Some employees can be sent to different institutions to pursue further studies to make the positive contribution to the company’s development upon returning back.

Feasibility of Implementing Self-Managed Learning

It is important for the Maritime Company to continue contributing to the professional development of the staff and to change the followed strategy because the current approach is ineffective to satisfy the company’s needs in relation to the professional development of the employees.

It is important to create the effective environment that induces employees towards Self-Managed Learning. Any company that does not embrace this concept cannot realise its goals completely. The company’s employees state that Self-Managed Learning can contribute to encouraging their through motivation in relation to learning. It is important to remember that Self-Managed Learning enhances the flexibility of the company’s workforce because the employees become able to perform any role within the organisation with minimal flaws.

Self-Managed Learning requires a high level of employees’ discipline because there is no one to remind the learner what he should do. That is why, it is recommended for every employee who is interested in enrolling in Self-Managed Learning programme to draw a plan.

The plan should be developed around the realistic goals. One of the reasons that cause most employees to reject the idea of Self-Managed Learning is their inability to participate in the decision making process effectively (Fox 2000; Reason 1990). However, the Maritime Company can provide consultation for employees in relation to Self-Managed Learning programmes and opportunities.

The Maritime Company is ready to focus on Self-Managed Learning because it avoids unethical behaviours which can discourage employees from furthering their skills and hence shift their focus towards cementing their relations with the influential administrators because that is the only way of advancing their careers (Alheit 2002).

The company is ready to implement the system because of the managers’ approach on higher results and because of the provision of the employees with the necessary technologies such as the Internet and online resources. The focus on innovation contributes to implementing Self-Managed Learning within the company.

It is important to evaluate a company’s readiness to embrace Self-Managed Learning. The Maritime Company is ready to implement the Self-Managed Learning approach. However, there are some associated issues to be addressed. The learning strategy can bring many unpredicted changes. There are situations when employees discuss the need to advance their skills and abilities as a potential threat to their careers (Ackah 2004; Routledge 2007).

Thus, the Maritime Company can be discussed as ready to implementing the process if Self-Managed Learning is directly linked to the necessary organisational change. It is highly recommended to implement Self-Managed Learning programmes gradually. The employees should given some time to cope with the changes in organisation and management development.


Organisations should emphasise on the need for employees to develop their skills. Self-Managed Learning contributes to strengthening such companies as the Maritime Company because it is necessary to refer to the power of knowledge and to the individual approach to the professional development.

The Maritime Company can benefit significantly from embracing Self-Managed Learning because the employees are expected to become responsible for their professional development and growth. In this situation, the company can focus on employee empowerment with references to acknowledging the employees who successfully advance their skills and with references to determining positions that correspond to the employees’ newly acquired abilities.

Self-Managed Learning should be much easier to implement than it was a few decades ago. This is because the Internet provides opportunities for learners to learn from remote locations at the comfort of their homes. It is important for every company, including the Maritime Company, to install the important facilities that enable employees to access the Internet and to use the other technologies.

Reference List

Abbott, J 1992, ‘Assessing the appropriateness of self-managed learning’, Journal of Management Development, vol. 11. no.1, pp. 50-60.

Ackah, C 2004, ‘The reality of “new” careers for men and women’, Journal of European Industrial Training, vol. 28. no. 2, pp. 141-158.

Alheit, P 2002, ‘The “double face” of lifelong learning: two analytical perspectives on a silent revolution’, Studies in the Education of Adults, vol. 34. no. 1, pp. 3-10.

Brockbank, A 2002, Reflective learning in practice: Reflective learning in practice., Gower, Aldershot.

Cameron, S 2005, The business student’s handbook learning skills for study and employment / Sheila Cameron, Financial Times Prentice Hall, Harlow.

Cameron, S 2008, Learning from learning theory. The MBA handbook: skills for mastering management, Financial Times Prentice Hall, Harlow.

Cottrell, S 2010, Introduction, Skills for success: the personal development planning handbook, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke.

Cottrell, S 2011, What is critical thinking? Critical thinking skills: developing effective analysis and argument, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke.

Easterby-Smith, M, Crossan, M, & Nicolini, D 2000, ‘Organizational learning: debates past, present and future’, Journal of Management Studies, vol. 37. no. 6, pp. 783-796.

Fox, S 2000, ‘Communities of practice, Foucault and Actor-Network Theory’, Journal of Management Studies, vol. 37. no. 6, pp. 853-868.

Harrison, R 2009, Learning and development in organisations today. Learning and development, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, London.

Martin, J 2004, Learning with organisations: Organizational behaviour and management, Thomson Learning, London.

Mcgill, I 2004, The action learning handbook: powerful techniques for education, professional development and training, Routledge Falmer, London.

Megginson, D 2007, Identifying development needs: Continuing professional development, CIPD, London.

Owen, C 2009, Risky work environments reappraising human work within fallible systems, Ashgate, Burlington.

Reason, J 1990, Human error, Cambridge University Press, New York.

Routledge, C 2007, Action: Personal development and management skills, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, London.

Wallace, M 2006, Getting started on critical thinking, Critical reading and writing for postgraduates, Sage, London.

Wilson, E 2009, Personal development planning: Study skills for part-time students, Pearson Education, Harlow.

Winstanley, D 2005, Group dynamics and team working: Personal effectiveness: a guide to action, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, London.

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