Traits for creating PLE's at work

In a comment on "Enterprises that love PLE's": Mark Prasatik said:

Tom, it seems to me that companies who value learning seek out the types of people who create their own PLEs rather then trying to create a standardized version for them behind the firewall. Google comes to mind here.

Mark's comment brings to mind the connections between the kinds of work being done and the traits of new hires/valued employees to do the work. He also raises the issue of the work of setting up a PLE in the first place.

When work is highly repetitious and boring, powerlessness is an attractive trait in employees. Their thinking "I cannot" keeps them from having a problem with the mind-numbing nature of the work. PLE's or any kind of workplace learning is unnecessary. The work is defined by a closed spec that calls for compliance and conformity. PLE's in this context would be "company issued" to impose uniformity and be inherently pointless. Setting them up would occur top-down to avoid the "training cost" of teaching every underling how to do it.

When work is well defined and challenging, ambition is an attractive trait in new hires and the cream of the crop. The work is defined by open spec (what we want done but not how to do it; results without a mandatory process). These environments generate lots of interest in best practices, effective short cuts and "tricks of the trade". Wiki and CoP thrive here. PLE's could be set up from a "customize your own PLE" wiki of rated alternatives and recommended workflows. The emphasis would be on "getting the job done", not on "free ranging personal development".

When work is in the process of getting defined, self-directed learning is an attractive trait. The ill-defined challenges cannot be specified. The situation calls for self-starters who learn from everything like empowered entrepreneurs do. Employees would go beyond creating their own PLE. They would change their PLE often as they learned from their experiences. Their learning would help define what work to do, which problems to solve, which strategies to pursue and which issues to ignore.

When work is innovative and constantly changing, creativity is an attractive trait in employees. The continually unusual challenges call for intrinsic motivations that are easily disrupted. The nurturing of individual passions, freedoms and explorations is essential. The learning would be deep and fortunate. Employees would see fuzzy boundaries between work and play, company and personal time, structure and freedom or productive and exploratory efforts. Their PLE would be paradoxical. They would say crazy things like "life is my PLE".

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