The construction industry is a significant contributor to the overall U.S. economy. Since the early 1980’s the industry has been suffering from a workforce shortage at the individual contributor level, craft employees. This sector of the workforce comprises between 40-50% of the workforce, and contributes significantly to the revenue stream. Given this, the craft workforce shortage continues to pose a significant threat to the overall sustainability of the industry. Training and the transfer of knowledge are important concepts across all industries given the investment in training that has been reported. It is of heightened importance when labor shortages exist, such as the construction industry. Although considerable research has been conducted in the area of training and transfer, the focus on the trainer has been limited. Further, research specific to the construction industry has been largely absent, and limited to the topic of safety training and transfer. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore the roles craft trainers enact that may facilitate learning and enhance the potential for knowledge transfer within the construction industry. It also explored influencing factors that might help or hinder craft trainers’ roles. Organizational Role Theory was drawn upon to understand how an individual behaves within the constraints of an organization, culture or within boundaries of a specified role, based on an individual’s perceptions of those roles. A qualitative research design was employed, as it most appropriate for underexplored areas of inquiry. Multiple cases were used in order to gain the perspectives of multiple craft trainers. It was found that craft trainers enact multiple roles within differing contexts. This suggests that a variety of personal characteristics, skills, and capabilities are required to enact those roles. Further, it suggests that contextual, organizational or social factors may influence the roles and the role diversification that occurs.

Date of publication

Summer 8-24-2022

Document Type




Persistent identifier


Committee members

Rochell R. McWhorter Ph.D., Andrea D. Ellinger Ph.D., Neil N. Eldin Ph.D., PE


Ph.D in Human Resource Development

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