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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 – The first purpose of this paper is to review the practical and theoretical distinctions between training and development in the organisational psychology and human resource development (HRD) literatures. Then the paper seeks to investigate how managers responsible for the training and development function conceptualise these activities in practice, the factors that guide their decision making, how they evaluate the outcomes and the extent to which they perceive a relationship between training and development. Design/methodology/approach – Taking a critical realist perspective, 26 interviews were conducted with UK managers 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 that training and development are more valuable when combined. Research limitations/implications – 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 including both qualitative and quantitative measures. Practical implications – Managers may take a more proactive and directive role in facilitating development than the literature suggests; consequently, their role needs to be considered more actively 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 inter-relationship between training and development and the factors guiding decisions regarding these activities.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Psychology
Authors : McDowall, A and Saunders, MNK
Date : 2010
DOI : 10.1108/03090591011070752
Copyright Disclaimer : © Emerald Group Publishing Limited 2010
Related URLs :
Additional Information : This is an electronic version of an article published as McDowall A, Saunders MNK (2010). UK managers' conceptions of employee training and development. Journal of European Industrial Training 34(7):609-630. Available online at:
Depositing User : Maria Rodriguez-Marquez
Date Deposited : 03 Oct 2012 10:26
Last Modified : 06 Jul 2019 05:10

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