A framework for employee development : a quantitative and qualitative study of individual differences and development outcomes
This Thesis is concerned with a framework for the research of employee development. To start, the importance of training, development and learning at the societal, organizational, group and individual level is set out. A review of the research on training and development argues that a detailed comparison may further our understanding of the latter, by investigating training effectiveness models (e. g. Colquitt, 2000) in the context of development. Individual difference measures that may affect development are discussed. Different development activities are compared on different dimensions such as the degree of formality and frequency of occurrence, and implications for research are discussed. Three quantitative studies [A, B, C] concentrate on staff appraisals and development centres, investigating how individual differences and demographic characteristics are associated with development outcomes. Results from Study A (N = 126) showed that age was correlated with participation in training and development; tenure was associated with participation in training; appraiser role was associated with participation in training and career movement, and predicted perceived utility and career movement. Study B (n = 63) showed that Learning Climate [LC] increased significantly following participation in appraisal ; changes in need to achieve [nAch] and tenure were associated with participation in development activities. Generally, nAch had stronger associations with development outcomes than development specific self-efficacy [DSE] in both studies. In Study C, nAch and DSE changed significantly following DC participation (n = 87), these gain scores, age and gender predicted DC ratings, but no significant associations with development outcomes were observed (n = 47). Linking in with the observations from the literature review, the potential limitations of quantitative approaches were highlighted. Therefore the final study [D] took a qualitative approach using template analysis to elicit managers' definitions of training and development. The analysis showed that managers (N = 20) are able to differentiate training and development, and that decision-making processes and outcomes appear different for each type of activity. Development is seen as less measurable and quantifiable in terms of organizational benefits, and therefore can take second place to training. The concluding Chapter argues that experimental approaches are perhaps limiting for the investigation of development due to its long-term and on-going nature. Although a whole array of individual differences (such as locus of control, learning styles or attitudinal variables) require further study we first need better methods for defining and measuring development motivation and development outcomes; an initially qualitative approach may be more conducive to further our understanding.