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Developing a framework for assessing effective development activities

McDowall, A. & Mabey, C. (2008). Developing a framework for assessing effective development activities. Personnel Review, 37(6), pp. 629-646. doi: 10.1108/00483480810906874


This article compares 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.

We propose a unifying classification which combines existing dimensions derived from the literature, such as the degree of formality (e.g. Birdi et al., 1997), with further differences or communalities such as the degree of simulation, ownership of data and frequency of occurrence. This leads us 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.

Research and practical implications:
We propose that our classification framework could guide both the implementation and evaluation of diverse activities beyond those reviewed here. We argue that our framework may prove effective in making explicit and thus addressing the potentially conflicting expectations for prevalent activities from different parties involved. We propose that certain aspects of employee development, such as the employer-manager relationship may be more suited to investigation through qualitative paradigms, but that ultimately we also need more evidence for long term outcomes at different levels (e.g. the individual and the organization).

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: Developmental appraisal, coaching, 360 degree feedback, development centres
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
SWORD Depositor:
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