Learning Theory in the Practice of Management Development: Evolution and Applications

Learning Theory in the Practice of Management Development: Evolution and Applications

Learning Theory in the Practice of Management Development: Evolution and Applications

Learning Theory in the Practice of Management Development: Evolution and Applications

Synopsis

The workplace is the ideal environment for tying together management theory and practice and yet, classes in many regular management development programs are conducted away from the work site, and class sizes are so large that individual instruction is difficult to achieve. In this book, the authors seek effective ways to merge theory with workplace practice, and advocate the modular preceptor method whereby participants work together in dyads and triads with a preceptor acting as advisor and instructor. Unlike traditional management development programs which do not usually lead to behavior changes, the modular preceptor model has behavior change as the basic aim. Participants can remain at work while experiencing individualized learning, developing problem solving skills, and acquiring new knowledge which can be immediately applied to work situations. This book also analyzes the behavioral sciences as they have impacted philosophies of learning and techniques of instruction of managers, and discusses the role of the university in management development.

Excerpt

In 1947, Professor Leonard D. White of the University of Chicago suggested to agency heads of the federal government in the greater Chicago area that they should establish a seminar to discuss common problems and issues. The agency heads rejected this proposal. They said that they had instituted all sorts of training programs in their agencies for different levels of employees and they were even conducting supervisory training programs for up to first-line managers. But the idea of the heads of agencies themselves participating in what could be called a training program was not needed or wanted.

However, a great revolution has occurred in the past fifty years, and today management training programs and management development activities, even for the highest-level executives, are continuously conducted. It is rare to find a large or middle-sized organization which does not provide its senior executives with management development programs.

There are a vast number of potential participants in management development programs. There are over 2.5 million executives and senior managers in the United States. Whether their role is one of control or support, their performance has great consequences for the fortunes of their organizations. Their activities, more than the activities of any other group, are characterized by riskier and more significant decision making and by more crucial boundary spanning activities. Even if the organization’s pattern demands working in teams, a manager can have great influence on the behavior of all who work in the organization.

Since World War II, organizations have made a steadily increasing effort to improve the competence of their managers and ensure that a pool of managerial talent will be available when needed. The impetus for this trend

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