Case Questions Essay
1. What is meant by the statement that training is extremely “faddish”? In an effort to remain on the “cutting edge” of a particular industry, organizations often shop for the most recent gimmick in training programs in hopes that it will provide them a competitive advantage over other firms. As a result, training entrepreneurs spring up around whatever is new in training approaches (e. g. , sensitivity training, OD, behavior modeling) without much attention to evaluation of results.
When the new technique fails to demonstrate results (as often happens), it fades away and is replaced by something newer. 2. How can Hutchinson Inc. avoid becoming a victim of the faddishness of the training business? The key is a thorough needs analysis, followed by rigorous evaluation of outcomes. Needs analysis should follow these steps: organization analysis, operations analysis, and individual analysis. Then, behavioral learning objectives should be established. Finally, a specific training approach should be adopted that has the best chance of achieving these learning objectives. . Develop a detailed training evaluation strategy that Tom can present to Cathy which would provide evidence of the effectiveness of a particular training technique.
First, the evaluator must be concerned with the general principles of experimental design. There must be enough control in the evaluation process to be able to decide at the training program. We must be able to answer the following four questions: a) Did change occur? b) Is the change due to the training? c) Is the change related to effective organizational functioning? ) Will similar changes occur with a new group of trainees? Most instructors will recognize the issues of threats to internal and external validity underlying these four questions. While there are several possible experimental designs that reduce the threats to internal and external validity in the evaluation of training programs. First, potential trainees should be randomly assigned to experimental and control groups (control groups can be trained later). Second, pre?training sales levels can be assessed if desired to provide additional evidence that the two groups are equivalent.
Third, the experimental group should be trained. Fourth, both groups should be assessed on certain criteria and compared to determine if the training made a difference. A key question in training evaluation is the type of criterion to be utilized. If possible, the evaluation should use both internal and external criteria. In a sales training program, it would be fairly easy to measure trainees’ reactions to the training (with a satisfaction questionnaire at the end of the training) and their learning’s.
It is usually much more difficult to assess the effects of training against external criteria. However, in the case of sales training, supervisors or outside assessors could observe and rate sales behaviors in actual selling situations and, more importantly, could measure the effects of the training in terms of changes in results (sales dollars). In each case, the changes in behaviors and results should be compared to the control group to see if there are alternate explanations for any improvements observed.