HRD as an activity
Based on Human Resource Management, 4th edition, by Alan Price
HRD as an activity
This final section examines HRD at the activity level,
focusing on the training and experiential process which makes up development programmes.
We examine the continuing role of training needs analysis and the value of formal training
as opposed to experiential 'action learning', and consider similar issues in the context
of leadership development. The chapter in the book concludes with a discussion of how training activities
can be evaluated in terms of cost-effectiveness and quality.
Training methods are presented with an ever-increasing range of learning methods.
Traditionally they have been divided into two categories:
- On-the-job training, including demonstrations of equipment and
procedures, instruction manuals and PC-based training packages.
- Off-the-job training, such as group briefings, projects and
Off-the-job training can be in-house, taking place within the organization, or external,
for example at a local college or university.
Revans (1972) argued that classroom-based management education is not adequate.
He devised a systematic, experiential or Action Learning
programme based on job
exchanges which place managers in unfamiliar situations and ask them to take on
challenging tasks. (...) Revan's ideas are consistent with the principles of the learning
organization discussed earlier in this chapter. The emphasis lies with learning rather
than training and with meeting the changing needs of an organization in a competitive world.
His approach is also mirrored in many current programmes aimed at developing leaders.
The skills of leadership have attracted management theorists and trainers
alike. Whereas good leaders are comparatively easy to recognize when they are in positions
of authority, developing people to achieve the necessary qualities is not so easy. Just as
the nature of leadership is not fully understood, the appropriate methods of training and
leadership are a matter of controversy. At the same time, leadership training is a lucrative
area for training consultants, and management gurus have been ready to produce packaged methods.
It is arguable that many supposed 'leadership' courses are actually
teaching management skills rather than those of leadership. (...)