Training Practices in State Government Agencies

By Gray, George R.; Hall, McKenzie E. et al. | Public Personnel Management, Summer 1997 | Go to article overview

Training Practices in State Government Agencies

Gray, George R., Hall, McKenzie E., Miller, Marianne, Shasky, Charles, Public Personnel Management

A succession of factors impacting the economy continues to create new competitive pressures for organizations. Movement to a service economy, greater international competition, dramatic technological development, and increased pressure to provide first-time product or service quality as well as greater operational efficiency are all changes to which organizations are adapting. While private sector firms may feel these pressures more forcefully, public sector organizations face many of the same challenges. This reality has magnified the importance of successful training programs with measurable results. As a consequence, training has become one of the most critical aspects of human resource management effectiveness.

The literature provides extensive data on the assessment of employee training needs, data-gathering methods, cost-benefit analysis of training methodologies and post-training outcome assessment in the private sector, but little material exists related to training in the public sector. Analyses of public sector training that do exist in the literature either focus on the federal level(1) or evaluate the effectiveness of large municipal programs.(2) With the exception of a few limited studies,(3) training practices at the state government level have been largely ignored.

This lack of attention to training efforts at the state level is surprising given the size of estimated appropriations for training in that sector. Estimates of training dollars spent by state governments stand at $12 billion or higher. This figure compares to an estimated $600 million to $1 billion spent at the federal level and $45 billion in the private sector.(4) With such a large investment in training by state governments, a comprehensive examination of training activities in this sector would represent a valuable addition to the training literature.

This study describes findings from a survey of 140 state government agencies in 30 states. The survey instrument includes basic questions related to training needs assessment, types and methodologies of training and training evaluation. The results address standard training practices and the degree to which state government agencies adhere to accepted practices in determining training needs, developing programs with outcome variables incorporated in the design, and assessing training outcomes.


The steps involved in carrying out an effective training program are well documented in the literature.(5) The steps involved in this process include training needs assessment, data collection, design and delivery of the training approach, and post-training assessment and evaluation. Each step in the process must accomplish its purpose to ensure that training programs achieve their intended short- and long-term objectives. This approach to the training process provided the outline for the present study. The questionnaire items used in the survey served to document the extent to which effective training processes occur in state government agencies.

Surveys are mailed to 323 government agencies in 30 randomly selected states. One hundred forty (140) usable surveys are returned for a response rate of 43 percent. The relatively high response rate suggests that the data on training practices reported in this study are likely to be representative of state agency training programs nationally. In addition to analyzing responses for the sample as a whole, the survey data are also analyzed by agency size (i.e., number of employees in the unit) to determine whether size had a significant effect on reported training practices. For the purposes of this analysis, agencies are divided into five categories by size (0-99, 100-499, 500-999, 1000-4999, and 5000 or more employees).


The survey data follow the steps in the training process outlined earlier: the assessment of employees' training needs, the collection of data for assessment purposes, training methods used, and evaluation of outcomes following training. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)


1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited article

Training Practices in State Government Agencies


Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.