Importance, evaluation of MDP3rd March 2021
Management or executive development is an organised and: planned process and programme of training and growth by which individual manager or executive at each level of management hierarchy gains and applies knowledge, skills, insights and attitudes to manage workers and the work organisations effectively.
Managers develop themselves by participating in formal training courses organised by the organisation. They also make use of actual job experience in learning new behaviours. The organisation must provide opportunities for development of its managers. But an equal, perhaps more important, counterpart to the efforts of the organisation are those of the individuals. Self-development is an important concept in the whole programme of management development.
Of course, it is beyond the shadow of doubt that the company can only create the favourable climate for the development of managers. Ultimately, in any programme of management development, self-development will be the key-factor to determine the success of the programme of executive development.
In other words, the participants in this programme must have the capacity to learn and develop and they must be highly motivated to achieve the planned objectives. Executive development is the guided self-discovery and self-development.
Obsolescence of managerial skills is another factor which calls for continuous management development. Management development is not a ‘one shot’ affair, it must continue throughout an executive’s career. Otherwise, an executive of yesterday will not be acceptable today and an executive of today will not be good enough for the future. Therefore, in order to be dynamic and to change himself according to the needs, a manager must continuously educate himself to successfully meet new challenges as they occur.
Objectives of executive development are as follows:
The size and complexity of organizations are increasing day by day.
- To increase the knowledge of managers.
- Management and labour relationship is becoming more complex.
- To improve the performance of managers.
- Business and industrial leaders are increasingly recognizing their social and public responsibilities.
- To develop managers for taking up new assignments in future.
- Management of public utilities, state enterprises and civic bodies are being professionalized in order to improve operational efficiency.
- To influence the behaviour of workers through the developed managers.
- Rapid technological and social change in society requires training of managers.
Evaluation of MDP
(i) Looking at Organisations’ Objectives, this is the first step in executive development programme. The objects tell “where we are going” and will develop a framework from which the executive need can be determined.
(ii) Ascertaining Development Needs calls for organisational planning and forecast of its needs for present and future growth. This is generally based upon a comprehensive job description, job specification and job analysis with particular reference to the kind of management work performed, the kind of executives needed, and the kind of education, experience, training, special knowledge, skills, personal traits, etc., required for such work. Most companies train their own executives, except when they experience a critical shortage of specialised high-level talent. In the latter case, executives are hired from outside.
(iii) An Appraisal of Present Management Talent is made with a view to determining qualitatively the type of personnel that is available within an organisation itself. The performance of a management individual is compared with the standard expected of him. His personal traits are also analysed so that a value judgment may be made of his potential for advancement.
(iv) A management Manpower Inventory is prepared for the purpose of getting complete information about each management individual’s bio-data and educational qualifications, the results of tests and performance appraisal. It may also be maintained on replacement tables or charts. From these, it can be known that several capable executives are available for training for higher positions.
An analysis of the information will bring to the attention of the management the potential obsolescence of some of the present executives, the inexperience or shortage of managers in certain functions, and skill deficiencies relative to the future needs of the organisation.
(v) The Planning of Individual Development Programmes is undertaken to meet the needs of different individuals, keeping in view the differences in their attitudes and behaviour, and in their physical, intellectual and emotional qualities.
The weak and strong points of an individual are known from his performance appraisal reports; and, on the basis of these, tailor-made programmes are framed and launched. Such programmes give due attention to the interests and goals of the subordinates as well as the training and development opportunities which exist within an organisation.
(vi) Establishment of Training and Development Programmes this job is done by the personnel department. A comprehensive and well-conceived programme is generally prepared, containing concentrated brief courses (often called crash programmes).
Such courses may be in the field of human relations, time and motion study, creative thinking, memory training, decision-making, leadership courses, and courses in professional or academic institutions, depending on organisational needs and the time and the cost involved.
(vii) Evaluating Development Programmes evaluation is the systematic collection and assessment of information for deciding how best to utilise available training resources in order to achieve organisational objectives.
The evaluation of training has been defined by Hamblin as “any attempt to obtain information (feedback) on the effects of a training programme and to assess the value of training in the light of that information.”
Evaluating management development
- Approaching evaluation
There are different approaches to evaluation. Some are regarded as being objective, rigorous and scientific, while others are much more pragmatic, subjective and interpretative in orientation (Easterby-Smith, 1994). In collecting data, it is normal to employ a range of quantitative and qualitative methods (Smith and Porter, 1990). Methods will include:
- in-course and post-course questionnaires;
- attitude surveys and psychological tests before and after the event;
- appraisal systems;
- observations by trainers and others;
- self-reports and critical incident analysis.
- Some issues in evaluation
In attempting evaluation, a number of issues emerge. Most evaluation is short termist in outlook captured in the ubiquitous ‘happy sheet’ questionnaire where questions focus on the immediacy of development activity rather than its longer-term outcomes. But to be effective, development must permit managers (a) the opportunity to transfer and apply new knowledge and skills and (b) a period of learning and adjustment in respect of newly acquired attitudes and behaviours. This implies that any evaluation of development outcomes has to have a longer-term orientation.
Figure presents a more developed view of the evaluation process. It incorporates pre and post development evaluation but critically, it suggests that attention must be given to evaluating post development activity after a period of time has elapsed – ideally somewhere between 6 and 12 months. This permits those responsible for development to make informed judgements about knowledge and skills transfer to the management role and attitudinal and behavioural change.
However, it should be borne in mind that, while the process shown in Figure may be easier to apply to structured and formal development activity such as management training courses and education programmes, it can also be applied to less formal approaches such as coaching or mentoring. In addition to assessing changes in the performance and behaviour of individual managers, evaluation must include some assessment of the impact of the organizational context in which managers are seeking to apply their new knowledge, e.g. the cultural and political environment that may promote or inhibit development.
As Smith (1993) observes, ‘management development programmes are not context free but dependent on the cultural baggage of the participants and the organisation’. Therefore any judgment about the outcomes of management development programmes must be viewed within the context in which they are embedded. This raises further issues about the way management development outcomes themselves are interpreted and justified.
For example, any claims about the efficacy of management development investment may fall prey to political games. As Fox (1989) explains, ‘because a pseudo-scientific approach [to evaluation] does not deal with human issues and value judgements, it is not surprising that they fall into disuse or are simply done by token [then] politics takes over’. Both Fox (1989) and Currie (1994), who have examined the evaluation of management development programmes in the National Health Service, conclude that political and cultural factors were heavily influential in shaping the evaluation process.
Another issue relates to the way development outcomes are measured. It is common to encounter evaluation methodologies that are left striving to display some form of pseudo-scientific objectivity to win or protect investment in development activity. For example, those responsible for development might be tempted to make unsubstantiated causal links between an investment in development and some aspect of organizational performance, e.g. annual sales.
Another problem is that the environment in which evaluation is taking place is often highly complex and subjective and evaluation methodologies may be judged simplistic and inadequate (Smith, 1993; Mole, 1996). For example, some of the criticisms levelled at competency-based development discussed earlier revolve around the doubts and reservations over supposedly objective and structured internal and external verification procedures as a means of determining the level of an individual’s competency (Loan-Clarke, 1996).
In other words, ‘the complexity of management training and development demonstrates the point that measuring its effectiveness cannot be adequately accomplished by using a single, generic formula’ (Endres and Kleiner, 1990). Concerns surround the need to ensure that emotional, attitudinal and behavioural outcomes are measured and have an equal validity alongside harder aspects such as financial performance and technical competence.