Academic journal article Journal of Managerial Issues

Training Motivation in Organizations: An Analysis of Individual-Level Antecedents [*]

Academic journal article Journal of Managerial Issues

Training Motivation in Organizations: An Analysis of Individual-Level Antecedents [*]

Article excerpt

The importance of training effectiveness has long been recognized as a crucial issue for organizations (Ford et al., 1997; Noe, 1986; Noe and Ford, 1992; Tannenbaum and Yukl, 1992). To the extent that employee training programs are effective, organizations are able to avoid wasteful spending and improve performance and productivity. Thus, a key consideration for virtually all organizations is the expected return provided the organization for its training investment. Because it has been suggested that organizations are likely to increase their reliance upon and utilization of employee training programs in years to come (London, 1989; Noe, 1999), the effectiveness of training interventions in organizations is likely to become even more salient in the future (Blanchard and Thacker, 1999; Noe and Ford, 1992).

One key determinant of training effectiveness is an individual's level of training motivation (Mathieu and Martineau, 1997; Mathieu et at., 1992; Tannenbaum and Yukl, 1992). Training motivation refers to an individual's desire to engage in training activities and fully embrace the training experience. All other things constant, the more motivated the trainee, the more likely he or she is to reap the intended benefits from the training experience (Facteau et al., 1995; Noe and Wilk, 1993).

A number of scholars have called for more research on the antecedent factors of training motivation (e.g., Mathieu et al., 1992; Noe and Wilk, 1993; Tannenbaum and Yukl, 1992). In particular, some researchers have suggested that individual-level influences on training motivation be given greater attention (e.g., Baldwin and Ford, 1988; Colquitt et at., 1998; Noe and Ford, 1992). In addition, Tannenbaum and Yukl (1992) suggested that dynamic individual constructs that can be influenced before, during, and after the training process be further examined in future research. Therefore, we attempt to answer these calls by examining the effects of individual-level antecedent variables (e.g., training self-efficacy, achievement motivation, attitude toward training) on training motivation. To do this, a model depicting the relationships of these antecedents to training motivation is developed and tested using structural equation modeling. Further, the results and implications for managers are discussed.

A Model of Individual-Level Antecedents of Training Motivation

The hypothesized relationships among the variables examined in this study are shown in Figure I. As indicated in Figure I, training motivation is the major outcome variable of interest. The most immediate antecedent of training motivation is attitude toward training. This variable is affected by a number of other variables within the model. Organizational commitment is hypothesized to influence attitude toward training directly and indirectly through flexibility. In addition, organizational commitment is expected to directly influence training motivation. Self-esteem is hypothesized to influence attitude toward training and training self-efficacy, but it is not expected to have any direct effect upon training motivation. Achievement motivation is expected to have a direct effect on training motivation, and an indirect effect through attitude toward training. Finally, training self-efficacy is hypothesized to have a direct effect on training motivation and an indirect effect through attitude toward training a nd achievement motivation. In the next section, the direct and indirect linkages hypothesized in the model are presented.

Hypothesized linkages within the Model

Training Self-Efficacy. Self-efficacy (Bandura, 1986) refers to an individual's self- perceived ability or capacity to achieve certain outcomes. Given the nature of self-efficacy, it is likely that persons high in training self-efficacy would experience higher levels of training motivation than persons low in training self-efficacy, in that persons high in training self-efficacy are likely to see themselves as capable of meeting the challenge to their present skills provided by training opportunities (Noe, 1986; Noe and Wilk, 1993; Tannenbaum et al. …

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