Swimming Against the Current: Understanding How a Positive Organisational Training Climate Can Enhance Training Participation and Transfer in the Public Sector

Martin McCracken, Travor Brown, Paula O'Kane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose – This paper aims to examine the personal and organisational factors that affected public sector managers' participation in leadership training programmes and their ability to transfer learning to their workplace. Design/methodology/approach – In-depth interviews were conducted with five Canadian and five Northern Irish managers who participated in one-day leadership training programmes. Findings – The uncertain environment throughout the public sector was the greatest inhibitor to training participation and transfer. However, other training characteristics and training design features were also noted (e.g. motivation, trainer influence). Practical implications – Public sector organisations must take concrete steps to address current environmental challenges to fully benefit from leadership training programmes. The paper highlights pre-, during, and post-training strategies that can be implemented. Originality/value – The findings illustrate that leaders in both public sector jurisdictions face similar issues and these have been exacerbated by the current turbulent climate. The authors suggest that to maximise return on training investment the public sector must create an environment supportive of training participation and transfer and suggest recommendations to help organisations in the future. These findings were facilitated by the use of qualitative training evaluation methods, not traditionally used in training transfer research.
LanguageEnglish
Pages301-316
JournalInternational Journal of Public Sector Management
Volume25
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2012

Fingerprint

public sector
climate
participation
training program
leadership
manager
jurisdiction
workplace
leader
inhibitor
learning
methodology
ability
interview
evaluation
Values

Cite this

@article{f7f416e629e3450da37cd1e968ef0e56,
title = "Swimming Against the Current: Understanding How a Positive Organisational Training Climate Can Enhance Training Participation and Transfer in the Public Sector",
abstract = "Purpose – This paper aims to examine the personal and organisational factors that affected public sector managers' participation in leadership training programmes and their ability to transfer learning to their workplace. Design/methodology/approach – In-depth interviews were conducted with five Canadian and five Northern Irish managers who participated in one-day leadership training programmes. Findings – The uncertain environment throughout the public sector was the greatest inhibitor to training participation and transfer. However, other training characteristics and training design features were also noted (e.g. motivation, trainer influence). Practical implications – Public sector organisations must take concrete steps to address current environmental challenges to fully benefit from leadership training programmes. The paper highlights pre-, during, and post-training strategies that can be implemented. Originality/value – The findings illustrate that leaders in both public sector jurisdictions face similar issues and these have been exacerbated by the current turbulent climate. The authors suggest that to maximise return on training investment the public sector must create an environment supportive of training participation and transfer and suggest recommendations to help organisations in the future. These findings were facilitated by the use of qualitative training evaluation methods, not traditionally used in training transfer research.",
author = "Martin McCracken and Travor Brown and Paula O'Kane",
note = "Reference text: Argyriades, D. (2010), “From bureaucracy to debureaucratization?”, Public Organization Review, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 275-97. Baldwin, T. and Ford, J.K. (1988), “Transfer of training: a review and directions for future research”, Personnel Psychology, Vol. 41 No. 1, pp. 63-105. Bandura, A. (1997), Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control, W.H. Freeman, New York, NY. Bates, R.A. (2001), “Public sector training participation: an empirical investigation”, International Journal of Training and Development, Vol. 5 No. 2, pp. 136-52. Benington, J., Hartley, J., Nielsen, J.C.R. and Notten, T. (2008), “Innovation, design and delivery of MPA programmes for public leaders and managers in Europe”, International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 21 No. 4, pp. 383-99. Blume, B.D., Ford, J.K., Baldwin, T.T. and Huang, J.L. (2010), “Transfer of training: a meta analytic review”, Journal of Management, Vol. 36 No. 4, pp. 1065-105. Brown, T.C. (2003), “The effect of verbal self-guidance training on collective efficacy and team performance”, Personnel Psychology, Vol. 56 No. 4, pp. 935-64. Brown, T.C. (2005), “The effectiveness of distal and proximal goals as transfer of training interventions: a field experiment”, Human Resource Development Quarterly, Vol. 16 No. 3, pp. 369-87. Brown, T.C. and McCracken, M. (2009), “A bridge of understanding: how barriers to training participation become barriers to training transfer”, Journal of European Industrial Training, Vol. 33 No. 6, pp. 492-512. Burke, L.A. and Baldwin, T. (1999), “Workforce traning transfer: a study of the effect of relapse prevention training on transfer climate”, Human Resource Management, Vol. 38, pp. 227-42. Christensen, T. and L{\ae}greid, P. (2007), “Introduction – theoretical approach and research questions”, in Christensen, T. and L{\ae}greid, P. (Eds), New Public Management: The Transformation of Public Sector Reforms, Ashgate Publishing, Abingdon, pp. 1-16. Colquitt, J.A., LePine, J.A. and Noe, R. (2000), “Toward an integrative theory of training motivation: a meta-analytic path analysis of 20 years of research”, Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 85 No. 5, pp. 678-707. Coxhead, F., Grauberg, J., Joyce, P., Knox, C., Lawes, T. and Massey, A. (2010), “New development: adapting university education for changing expectations of public services leaders and managers – guidance for designing and delivering MPAs”, Public Money and Management, Vol. 30 No. 3, pp. 138-42. Glow, J.I. and Sutherland, S.L. (2004), “Comparison of Canadian Master’s programs in public administration, public management and public policy”, Canadian Public Administration, Vol. 47 No. 3, pp. 379-405. Hebdon, R. and Brown, T.C. (2008), Industrial Relations in Canada, Nelson, Toronto. IJPSM 25,4 314 Holton, E.F. (2005), “Holton’s evaluation model: new evidence and construct elaborations”, Advances in Developing Human Resources, Vol. 7 No. 1, pp. 37-54. Kirkpatrick, D.L. (1976), “Evaluation of training”, in Craig, R.L. (Ed.), Training and Development Handbook: A Guide to Human Resource Development, McGraw-Hill, New York, NY, pp. 18-27. Latham, G.P. (2007), Work Motivation: History, Theory, Research and Practice, Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA. Latham, G.P., Borgogni, L. and Petita, P. (2008), “Goal setting and performance management in the public sector”, International Public Management Journal, Vol. 11 No. 4, pp. 385-403. Lim, D. and Johnson, S. (2002), “Trainee perceptions of factors that influence learning transfer”, International Journal of Training and Development, Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 36-48. Locke, E.A. and Latham, G.P. (2002), “Building a practically useful theory of goal setting and task motivation: a 35-year odyssey”, American Psychologist, Vol. 57 No. 9, pp. 705-17. McCracken, M. (2004), “Understanding managerial propensity to participate in learning activities in the Scottish life assurance industry”, Human Resource Development International, Vol. 7 No. 4, pp. 501-17. McCracken, M. (2005), “Towards a typology of managerial barriers to learning”, Journal of Management Development, Vol. 24 No. 6, pp. 559-75. McGehee, W.M. and Thayer, P.W. (1961), Training in Business and Industry, John Wiley & Sons, New York, NY. Nygaard, C. and Bramming, P. (2008), “Learning-centred public management education”, International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 21 No. 4, pp. 400-16. O’Brien, R. (2010), “Public sector faces ongoing leadership, succession crisis”, Government News, Vol. 30 No. 1, p. 8. Richman-Hirsch, W.L. (2001), “Post training interventions to enhance transfer: the moderating effects of work environments”, Human Resource Development Quarterly, Vol. 12 No. 2, pp. 105-20. Ryan, N., Williams, T., Charles, M. and Waterhouse, J. (2008), “Top-down organizational change in an Australian government agency”, International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 31 No. 1, pp. 26-44. Saks, A.M. and Haccoun, R.R. (2007), Managing Performance through Training and Development, 4th ed., Nelson, Scarborough. Vroom, V.H. (1964), Work Motivation, John Wiley & Sons, New York, NY. Whittington, L. and Campion-Smith, B. (2010), “PM makes Day chief cost-cutter”, The Toronto Star, p. A06, 20 January. Further reading Deloitte (2007), Coming of Age: 2007 Tech Talent Pulse Survey Report, Deloitte & Touche LLP, Toronto. Demetrios, A. (2010), “From bureaucracy to debureaucratization?”, Public Organization Review, Vol. 10 No. 2, pp. 275-97. Swimming against the current 315 About the authors Martin McCracken is a Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour at the Business and Management Research Institute and Department of Management and Leadership, University of Ulster, Northern Ireland. Martin McCracken is the corresponding author and can be contacted at: m.mccracken@ulster.ac.uk Travor C. Brown is full Professor of Labour Relations and Human Resource Management and Director of the Masters of Employment Relation Program in the Faculty of Business and Masters of Employment Relations Program, Memorial University, Canada. Paula O’Kane is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Management, University of Otago, New Zealand. IJPSM 25,4 316 To",
year = "2012",
month = "10",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1108/09513551211244124",
language = "English",
volume = "25",
pages = "301--316",
number = "4",

}

Swimming Against the Current: Understanding How a Positive Organisational Training Climate Can Enhance Training Participation and Transfer in the Public Sector. / McCracken, Martin; Brown, Travor; O'Kane, Paula.

Vol. 25, No. 4, 01.10.2012, p. 301-316.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Swimming Against the Current: Understanding How a Positive Organisational Training Climate Can Enhance Training Participation and Transfer in the Public Sector

AU - McCracken, Martin

AU - Brown, Travor

AU - O'Kane, Paula

N1 - Reference text: Argyriades, D. (2010), “From bureaucracy to debureaucratization?”, Public Organization Review, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 275-97. Baldwin, T. and Ford, J.K. (1988), “Transfer of training: a review and directions for future research”, Personnel Psychology, Vol. 41 No. 1, pp. 63-105. Bandura, A. (1997), Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control, W.H. Freeman, New York, NY. Bates, R.A. (2001), “Public sector training participation: an empirical investigation”, International Journal of Training and Development, Vol. 5 No. 2, pp. 136-52. Benington, J., Hartley, J., Nielsen, J.C.R. and Notten, T. (2008), “Innovation, design and delivery of MPA programmes for public leaders and managers in Europe”, International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 21 No. 4, pp. 383-99. Blume, B.D., Ford, J.K., Baldwin, T.T. and Huang, J.L. (2010), “Transfer of training: a meta analytic review”, Journal of Management, Vol. 36 No. 4, pp. 1065-105. Brown, T.C. (2003), “The effect of verbal self-guidance training on collective efficacy and team performance”, Personnel Psychology, Vol. 56 No. 4, pp. 935-64. Brown, T.C. (2005), “The effectiveness of distal and proximal goals as transfer of training interventions: a field experiment”, Human Resource Development Quarterly, Vol. 16 No. 3, pp. 369-87. Brown, T.C. and McCracken, M. (2009), “A bridge of understanding: how barriers to training participation become barriers to training transfer”, Journal of European Industrial Training, Vol. 33 No. 6, pp. 492-512. Burke, L.A. and Baldwin, T. (1999), “Workforce traning transfer: a study of the effect of relapse prevention training on transfer climate”, Human Resource Management, Vol. 38, pp. 227-42. Christensen, T. and Lægreid, P. (2007), “Introduction – theoretical approach and research questions”, in Christensen, T. and Lægreid, P. (Eds), New Public Management: The Transformation of Public Sector Reforms, Ashgate Publishing, Abingdon, pp. 1-16. Colquitt, J.A., LePine, J.A. and Noe, R. (2000), “Toward an integrative theory of training motivation: a meta-analytic path analysis of 20 years of research”, Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 85 No. 5, pp. 678-707. Coxhead, F., Grauberg, J., Joyce, P., Knox, C., Lawes, T. and Massey, A. (2010), “New development: adapting university education for changing expectations of public services leaders and managers – guidance for designing and delivering MPAs”, Public Money and Management, Vol. 30 No. 3, pp. 138-42. Glow, J.I. and Sutherland, S.L. (2004), “Comparison of Canadian Master’s programs in public administration, public management and public policy”, Canadian Public Administration, Vol. 47 No. 3, pp. 379-405. Hebdon, R. and Brown, T.C. (2008), Industrial Relations in Canada, Nelson, Toronto. IJPSM 25,4 314 Holton, E.F. (2005), “Holton’s evaluation model: new evidence and construct elaborations”, Advances in Developing Human Resources, Vol. 7 No. 1, pp. 37-54. Kirkpatrick, D.L. (1976), “Evaluation of training”, in Craig, R.L. (Ed.), Training and Development Handbook: A Guide to Human Resource Development, McGraw-Hill, New York, NY, pp. 18-27. Latham, G.P. (2007), Work Motivation: History, Theory, Research and Practice, Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA. Latham, G.P., Borgogni, L. and Petita, P. (2008), “Goal setting and performance management in the public sector”, International Public Management Journal, Vol. 11 No. 4, pp. 385-403. Lim, D. and Johnson, S. (2002), “Trainee perceptions of factors that influence learning transfer”, International Journal of Training and Development, Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 36-48. Locke, E.A. and Latham, G.P. (2002), “Building a practically useful theory of goal setting and task motivation: a 35-year odyssey”, American Psychologist, Vol. 57 No. 9, pp. 705-17. McCracken, M. (2004), “Understanding managerial propensity to participate in learning activities in the Scottish life assurance industry”, Human Resource Development International, Vol. 7 No. 4, pp. 501-17. McCracken, M. (2005), “Towards a typology of managerial barriers to learning”, Journal of Management Development, Vol. 24 No. 6, pp. 559-75. McGehee, W.M. and Thayer, P.W. (1961), Training in Business and Industry, John Wiley & Sons, New York, NY. Nygaard, C. and Bramming, P. (2008), “Learning-centred public management education”, International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 21 No. 4, pp. 400-16. O’Brien, R. (2010), “Public sector faces ongoing leadership, succession crisis”, Government News, Vol. 30 No. 1, p. 8. Richman-Hirsch, W.L. (2001), “Post training interventions to enhance transfer: the moderating effects of work environments”, Human Resource Development Quarterly, Vol. 12 No. 2, pp. 105-20. Ryan, N., Williams, T., Charles, M. and Waterhouse, J. (2008), “Top-down organizational change in an Australian government agency”, International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 31 No. 1, pp. 26-44. Saks, A.M. and Haccoun, R.R. (2007), Managing Performance through Training and Development, 4th ed., Nelson, Scarborough. Vroom, V.H. (1964), Work Motivation, John Wiley & Sons, New York, NY. Whittington, L. and Campion-Smith, B. (2010), “PM makes Day chief cost-cutter”, The Toronto Star, p. A06, 20 January. Further reading Deloitte (2007), Coming of Age: 2007 Tech Talent Pulse Survey Report, Deloitte & Touche LLP, Toronto. Demetrios, A. (2010), “From bureaucracy to debureaucratization?”, Public Organization Review, Vol. 10 No. 2, pp. 275-97. Swimming against the current 315 About the authors Martin McCracken is a Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour at the Business and Management Research Institute and Department of Management and Leadership, University of Ulster, Northern Ireland. Martin McCracken is the corresponding author and can be contacted at: m.mccracken@ulster.ac.uk Travor C. Brown is full Professor of Labour Relations and Human Resource Management and Director of the Masters of Employment Relation Program in the Faculty of Business and Masters of Employment Relations Program, Memorial University, Canada. Paula O’Kane is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Management, University of Otago, New Zealand. IJPSM 25,4 316 To

PY - 2012/10/1

Y1 - 2012/10/1

N2 - Purpose – This paper aims to examine the personal and organisational factors that affected public sector managers' participation in leadership training programmes and their ability to transfer learning to their workplace. Design/methodology/approach – In-depth interviews were conducted with five Canadian and five Northern Irish managers who participated in one-day leadership training programmes. Findings – The uncertain environment throughout the public sector was the greatest inhibitor to training participation and transfer. However, other training characteristics and training design features were also noted (e.g. motivation, trainer influence). Practical implications – Public sector organisations must take concrete steps to address current environmental challenges to fully benefit from leadership training programmes. The paper highlights pre-, during, and post-training strategies that can be implemented. Originality/value – The findings illustrate that leaders in both public sector jurisdictions face similar issues and these have been exacerbated by the current turbulent climate. The authors suggest that to maximise return on training investment the public sector must create an environment supportive of training participation and transfer and suggest recommendations to help organisations in the future. These findings were facilitated by the use of qualitative training evaluation methods, not traditionally used in training transfer research.

AB - Purpose – This paper aims to examine the personal and organisational factors that affected public sector managers' participation in leadership training programmes and their ability to transfer learning to their workplace. Design/methodology/approach – In-depth interviews were conducted with five Canadian and five Northern Irish managers who participated in one-day leadership training programmes. Findings – The uncertain environment throughout the public sector was the greatest inhibitor to training participation and transfer. However, other training characteristics and training design features were also noted (e.g. motivation, trainer influence). Practical implications – Public sector organisations must take concrete steps to address current environmental challenges to fully benefit from leadership training programmes. The paper highlights pre-, during, and post-training strategies that can be implemented. Originality/value – The findings illustrate that leaders in both public sector jurisdictions face similar issues and these have been exacerbated by the current turbulent climate. The authors suggest that to maximise return on training investment the public sector must create an environment supportive of training participation and transfer and suggest recommendations to help organisations in the future. These findings were facilitated by the use of qualitative training evaluation methods, not traditionally used in training transfer research.

U2 - 10.1108/09513551211244124

DO - 10.1108/09513551211244124

M3 - Article

VL - 25

SP - 301

EP - 316

IS - 4

ER -