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Developing a framework for assessing effective development activities

McDowall, A and Mabey, C (2008) Developing a framework for assessing effective development activities Personnel Review, 37 (6). pp. 629-646.

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to compare four different employee activities, namely developmental appraisal, coaching, 360 degree feedback and development centres, offering a comparative framework and an integration of existing research evidence. Design/methodology/approach – The paper proposes a unifying classification which combines existing dimensions derived from the literature, such as the degree of formality, with further differences or communalities such as the degree of simulation, ownership of data and frequency of occurrence. This leads to a review of the pertinent literature and research evidence for each of the four activities discussed, with particular reference to long-term outcomes, their social context as well as individual motivation. Findings – The literature review did not produce equivocal evidence for the effectiveness of any of the four activities. Ratings in appraisals are flawed, whereas their developmental aspect appears dependent on the communication between managers and their charges. Also, there is little evidence on what happens as a result of appraisal interviews in the context of the manager-employee relationship, and how organizations could best optimize this activity to aid long-term individual and organizational development. Practical implications – It is proposed that this classification framework could guide both the implementation and evaluation of diverse activities beyond those reviewed here. This framework may prove effective in making explicit and thus addressing the potentially conflicting expectations for prevalent activities from different parties involved. It is proposed that certain aspects of employee development, such as the employer-manager relationship may be more suited to investigation through qualitative paradigms, but that ultimately more evidence is needed for long-term outcomes at different levels (e.g. the individual and the organization). Originality/value – The paper may help understanding of when, and under what conditions, which particular types of development activities are best suited to meet both individual and organizational requirements.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Psychology
Authors :
McDowall, A
Mabey, C
Date : 1 January 2008
DOI : 10.1108/00483480810906874
Copyright Disclaimer : © Emerald Group Publishing Limited 2008
Uncontrolled Keywords : Social Sciences, Industrial Relations & Labor, Psychology, Applied, Management, Business & Economics, Psychology, Employee development, Performance appraisal, Coaching, 360-degree feedback, EMPLOYEE DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITY, SELF-OTHER AGREEMENT, MULTISOURCE FEEDBACK, MANAGEMENT DEVELOPMENT, INDIVIDUAL-DIFFERENCES, PERFORMANCE-APPRAISAL, EMPIRICAL-FINDINGS, ASSESSMENT-CENTERS, MODEL, INVOLVEMENT
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Additional Information : This is an electronic version of an article published as McDowall A, Mabey C (2008). Developing a framework for assessing effective development activities. Personnel Review 37(6):629-646. Available online at:
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 02 Oct 2012 16:30
Last Modified : 16 Oct 2017 09:55

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