This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Developing Human Capital through Apprenticeships: A Post-Intentional Phenomenological Study of an Insurance Industry Learning Model




Murphy, Melissa

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology


The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to explore a dual-training apprenticeship program in the United States (U.S.) insurance industry through the shared lived experience of adult participants. The U.S. insurance industry is facing an unprecedented talent shortage (Johnson, 2017) due to the retiring baby boomer generation. The industry has started to look at innovative employee learning and recruitment models such as the European style dual-training apprenticeship. This study used post-intentional phenomenological research design (Vagle, 2014) and semi-structured participant interviews to provide rich data for exploration of this new workforce initiative. A theoretical framework of Knowles’ Theory of Andragogy (1980), Deci and Ryan’s (1985) Self-Determination Theory, Mezirow’s theory on transformational learning (2000), and experiential learning theories (Dewey, 1910, 1938; Kolb & Fry, 1974) provided the fundamental underpinnings of this analysis. The purpose of this study was to assist industry leaders, workforce education professionals, and facilitators of similar programs understand how adult learners experienced a dual-training apprenticeship model in a white-collar occupation industry through the following research questions: (1) What does it mean to be an apprentice in the insurance industry? (2) What is it like to experience motivation as insurance industry apprentice? (3) How is engagement in learning experienced as an insurance industry apprentice? Key findings included six themes that manifested as sacrifice, self-discovery, silos, age considerations, collaborative learning, and the apprenticeship as a curiosity.