The manufacturing industry is facing a transformation, driven by an increasing technological development. This leads to major challenges at various levels in companies and organisations, not least increased demands on production staff, to handle digitalisation and new technology. Work content is changing, as are roles, and it is becoming increasingly important for organisations to take advantage of and develop the skills of their employees.
With growing rate of change, human factors such as motivation and learning become increasingly important. For sustainable production and a sustainable working life, the work environment needs to ensure development and learning, from the perspective of both individuals and companies.
With this background, the aim of this paper is to better understand how learning climate and continuous improvement processes affect learning and motivation in production teams. Four Swedish industrial companies were included in the study. Observations and interviews were used for data collection.
The results from the study show that continuous improvement processes have the potential to increase learning and motivation but are not always utilised in this way. We could see a focus on short term gains in productivity, rather than on long term reflection, development, and learning. Training and dedicated time needed were not prioritised enough to actually reach the potential of such processes.
We find that there is a substantial potential for development of these factors, which can aid industry in meeting the challenges that companies face in the rapid technological development. Examples of areas to improve are structure and processes for continuous improvement, as well as enhancing the learning climate within teams and organisations.