Human Resource Management

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Action learning

Reg Revans argued that classroom-based management education (or training) 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.

The whole process revolves around a real-life problem that needs to be important to the organization. (...) People are chosen for an action learning team (composed of four to eight members) for their experience and ability to contribute to the learning process - and also for the developmental benefit to them. So they must already possess relevant knowledge or skills for the particular issue they are working on. It is beneficial to have participants from a wide range of departments or functions, representing a number of views. They need to be positive and open-minded about the issue and possible solutions. It is also customary to appoint a team facilitator who is not a leader but helps the team to work together.

The process is different from traditional training in that:

* Tasks must be based on real work projects.

* Projects must be owned and defined by senior managers and be important to the future of the organization.

* The process is an investment requiring a real return on cost.

* Managers must work in groups, learning from each other and crossing boundaries between functions and departments.

* Projects must go beyond analysis - they should require real actionand change.

* Content (programmed knowledge) and process (questions/methods) of change should be studied.

* There must be public commitment from participants to action/report.

Revans' ideas are consistent with the principles of the learning organization (...). The emphasis lies with learning rather than training and with meeting the changing needs of an organization in a competitive world.

See also:

Action Research
Adult Learning
Competence
Conformity

Based on the glossary section of Human Resource Management, 4th edition.

HRM Textbooks

Human Resource Management

Human Resource Management, 4th edition
by Alan Price
 Covers all the key aspects of HRM. Available from:
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Fundamentals of Human Resource Management

Fundamentals of Human Resource Management
 Shortened version of Human Resource Management - concise analysis for non-specialists and one-semester courses.
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