In his 1999 article ‘Training is the answer… but what was the question?’, Bob Rosner promotes the idea that, in order for a training process to prove effective, it must be 100% consistent with the notion of purposefulness. Among the main principles of ensuring this process’s successfulness, Rosner proposes the following:
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- Identifying the actual rationale for training.
- Confirming that the proposed training approach can indeed be thought of in terms of a ‘solution’.
- Making an inquiry into the corporate legacy of training in the concerned company.
- Having a clear vision of how the actual outcome of training can be measured/tested.
- Ensuring that there are circumstantially adequate timeline and budget to the would-be-deployed training strategy.
- Making sure that those managers, in charge of training, understand the full scope of their responsibilities, in this respect.
- Figuring out the best strategy to deliver the training content.
- Creating opportunities for the concerned trainees to indulge in the specifically experiential type of learning.
- Designing the strategy of training in such a manner that it never ceases being thoroughly consistent with what may account for the affiliated set of circumstances/challenges.
- Ensuring that a training process fully correlates with the provisions of the affiliated corporate culture.
- Working out a methodologically sound conceptual framework for training.
- Guaranteeing that the concerned instructors are thoroughly qualified.
- Requiring the facilitators of training to confirm that their instructional approach has been proven effective in the past.
- Establishing the objective preconditions for training to have a long-lasting effect.
There can be only a few doubts that Rosner’s article does contain a number of in-depth insights into how managers should go about ensuring the effectiveness of a particular training program. One of the reasons for it is that being thoroughly analytical, the concerned article emphasizes that only the methodologically appropriate training-paradigm can prove beneficial. The article’s point, in this respect, appears thoroughly consistent with Blanchard and Thacker’s view on training, as such that under no circumstances may end up being considered a waste of time (2010). This particular point appeals to me, as well. After all, it does not account for much of a secret that the practical implementation of a number of different training programs, within the organizational settings, often proves utterly wasteful and ineffective – especially when these programs aim to ‘empower’ employees, without specifying what the notion of ‘empowerment’ stands for. Therefore, I cannot help but agree with the author when he states that, under certain circumstances, no training at all is better than the ill-designed one.
What also appears to contribute to the article’s value rather substantially, is that it can be well discussed in terms of a practical tool, to which managers may resort, while striving to ensure the effectiveness of training. This simply could not be otherwise, because ‘Training is the answer… but what was the question?’ does outline the systematic strategy for managers to go about reducing the factor of uncertainty, within the context of how they conceptualize the anticipated effects of training.
Finally, the article’s yet another strength can be well deemed its logical integrity – ‘Training is the answer… but what was the question?’ is written in easy-to-understand language, with the contained argumentative points being self-evident to an extent.
At the same time, however, I was able to identify a few shortcomings to the article in question. The main of them is the fact that it contains a number of the self-repeating suggestions, as to how managers should go about choosing in favour of a particular training program. For example, there is no much of a qualitative difference between the author’s conceptualizations of the ‘meaningful’ and ‘multidimensional’ types of training. Yet, in his article, Rosner lists these types of training separately.
In addition, no reference has been made to the fact that, as many of today’s managers are being fully aware of, the design and implementation of a particular training program cannot be discussed outside of what accounts for the specifics of the targeted trainees’ ethnocultural affiliation. The reason for this is apparent – these specifics play a substantial role in how trainees perceive the surrounding corporate reality and their place in it (Hill-Briggs, Evans & Norman, 2004).
Overall, there is indeed a good rationale to believe that Rosner’s article will come as an indispensable asset for managers – especially the ones that happened to be in the position to make executive decisions of whether to require employees to enrol into a particular training program or not. Therefore, there can hardly be any doubts, as to the article’s relevancy to the course. After all, it remains a commonplace assumption, in the field of management, that one’s ability to organize the training-related activities, aimed to increase the measure of the employees’ professional adequacy, positively relates to the extent of the concerned individual’s own effectiveness, as a manager. This, of course, provides the author with yet additional credit.
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Blanchard, P. & Thacker, J. (2010). Effective training: systems, strategies, and practices. Boston: Pearson Education.
Hill-Briggs, F., Evans, J. & Norman, M. (2004). Racial and ethnic diversity among trainees and professionals in psychology and neuropsychology: Needs, trends, and challenges. Applied Neuropsychology, 11 (1), 13-22.
Rosner, B. (1999). Training is the answer… but what was the question?. Workforce, 78 (5), 42-49.