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UK managers’ conceptions of training and development

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


Purpose: The paper commences with a review of the practical and theoretical distinctions between training and development in the organizational psychology and HRD literature perspectiveto investigate the conceptual distinctions between training and development. We then 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 they extent they perceive a relationship between training and development.

Design/methodology/approach: Interview data from 26 UK managers were coded using Template.

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: The findings highlight the need for further process driven research to understand the interrelationship between training and development and the need to develop methods that can be used by organisations to evaluate both. These need to go beyond those 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, thus 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

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: training, development, managers, decision making, evaluation of success, Template Analysis.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
SWORD Depositor:
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