Do trainer style and learner orientation predict training outcomes?

T. Brad Harris, Wonjoon Chung, Holly M. Hutchins, Dan S. Chiaburu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper was to examine the additive and joint effects of trainer directiveness and trainees’ learning goal orientation on training satisfaction and transfer. Design/methodology/approach – Survey responses from a sample (N = 243) of undergraduate business students enrolled at a large US university were examined. Findings – Trainer directiveness and trainee learning goal orientations each additively predicted training satisfaction and transfer over and above one another and study controls. Further, trainer directiveness and trainee learning goal orientation jointly predicted satisfaction and transfer, such that the positive relationship between trainer directiveness and both outcomes was accentuated (more positive) when learning goal orientations were high (compared to low). Practical implications – This study suggests that scholars and practitioners need to be mindful of both trainer and trainee characteristics when evaluating potential training programs. In addition to selecting competent trainers, organizations might be well-served to encourage trainers to use a directive style. Further, organizations might be able to boost the positive effects of trainer directiveness on trainee satisfaction and transfer by priming (or selecting on) trainee learning goal orientations. Originality/value – With few exceptions, prior research has devoted comparatively little attention toward understanding how trainer characteristics influence training outcomes. Of this research, even less considers possible interactions between trainer and trainee characteristics. The present study provides an initial step toward addressing these gaps by examining the additive and joint influences of trainer directiveness and trainee learning goal orientations. Results support that additional variance in training satisfaction and transfer can be explained by considering both trainer and trainee characteristics in tandem.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-344
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Workplace Learning
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Learning goal orientation
  • Trainee satisfaction
  • Trainer directiveness
  • Training
  • Training transfer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Development
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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