Training Strategy

from Lynton, R.P. and Pareek, K., Training for devlopment, West Hartford, CT: 1990.

More of a corporate model of training—one that sees efficiency as the main goal of training, ROI, notable from language such as “human resources” “An effective training strategy therefore focuses on making training an effective instrument of action in the field” They have the training and action part down but the reflection on theoretical perspectives is missing. They begin from the perspective that before beginning training it must be decided whether training will accomplish the goals of the organization (with an uncritical assumption that the organization is the best judge of what goals and skills need to be transmitted to workers). “The training system cannot set the goals of change. It is very important to be quite clear about this point. National and organizational policies set those goals. Trainers may contribute—but as citizens. The task of the training sytem is to work only on goals which training can help to attain, and which are adequately backed by organizational contributions.” (30)The trainer’s role is one of advising whether or not the organization’s goals can actually be accomplished through training (or whether they are better addressed through organizational change), defining the part that training will play in accomplishing the goal, and then planning the actual program (sequencing, timing, number of attendees/trained personnel needed, resources needed, etc.). Lynton and Pareek recognize the error of proceeding without clear goals. “If this situation prevails at the organization’s end, it tempts the organization to make the first classic error, namely, to proceed as if the training system is capable of doing the work organization’s homework.” On one level, wordy mcword (I’ve done that myself) but on the other hand according to the asset-based approach, of course the training system can do that work and should, because they need to help identify the trainees capacities and vulnerabilities. From the sheer perspective of “getting it done,” Lynton and Pareek’s methods are effective and classic in corporate training—proper goals and objectives,, clear measurements of inputs and outputs, just-in-time training, clearly defined roles and responsibilities, and a focus on the organization rather than the needs of the individual. It’s a very formulaic model that doesn’t allow for ambiguity or an organic analysis of the situation or practitioners’ actual experiences. There is some recognition of cognitive psychology and individual frameworks or paradigms in the “unfreezing-moving-refreezing” model but it treats individuals primarily as objects to be acted on and guided in the direction that the training has decided. There is also some mention of nonformal and more “action-reflection oriented models or locally-influenced or dispersed models of training where local actors have more of an impact on the training and its objectives but central control is still a major theme. Lynton and Pareek go on to identify six major orientations of what they call content and process modalities (ways of training): academic, laboratory, activity, action, person-development, and organization-development. They clearly place a great deal of emphasis on the latter (devoting space for six examples). They do recognize some of the elements of more transformative orientations—for instance noting in the action orientation section an example that explicitly states that the project in question met its action goals but failed in the larger goals of encouraging community participation, initiative and collaboration and including in the person-development orientation an acknowledgement of the uses of reflection on practice. In their emphasis on organizational development they do acknowledge as well the need to respond to “needs that actually arise in carrying out specific changes,” the need for flexible responses to changing situations, and the differences between ideal and actual situations; however, they are still very focused on long-term planning and justify flexibility in response to situations in terms of efficiency and economy in the long term. At the very end of the article they do say that training systems and organizations have different styles and need to be matched correctly at least.

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