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UK managers' conceptions of employee training and development

McDowall, A and Saunders, MNK (2010) UK managers' conceptions of employee training and development Journal of European Industrial Training, 34 (7). pp. 609-630.


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Purpose: Firstly to review the practical and theoretical distinctions between training and development in the organisational psychology and HRD literatures. Secondly to investigate how managers responsible for the training and development function conceptualise these activities in practice, the factors which guide their decision making, how they evaluate the outcomes and the extent they perceive a relationship between training and development.

Design/methodology/approach: Taking a critical realist perspective 26 interviews with UK managers were conducted and analysed through thematic coding using Template Analysis.

Findings: Managers conceptualisations of training and development vary. Formal training is prioritised due to a perceived more tangible demonstrable return on investment. Perceived success in training focuses on improvements to job related skills whereas success outcomes for development are more varied and difficult to measure. Managers consider training and development more valuable when combined.

Implications for research: There is a need for further process driven research to understand the interrelationship between training and development and to develop methods that can be used by organisations to evaluate both. This necessitates going beyond methods currently in use and include both qualitative and quantitative measures.

Implications for practice: Managers may take a more proactive and directive role in facilitating development than the literature suggests, consequently their role needs to be more actively considered in HRD learning strategies.

Originality/value: This is one of the first qualitative studies to explore the conceptualisations of managers responsible for training and development, highlighting the interrelationship between training and development and the factors guiding decisions regarding these activities.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Surrey Business School
Authors : McDowall, A and Saunders, MNK
Date : 2010
DOI : 10.1108/03090591011070752
Depositing User : Maria Rodriguez-Marquez
Date Deposited : 12 Oct 2010 15:37
Last Modified : 31 Oct 2017 14:05

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