Academic journal article SA Journal of Human Resource Management

A Process Evaluation of a Supervisory Development Programme

Academic journal article SA Journal of Human Resource Management

A Process Evaluation of a Supervisory Development Programme

Article excerpt


Key focus of the study

In this article we examine the attributes of a management development programme in the hospitality industry. Faced with the dual challenges of high staffturnover and expensive recruiting practices, a major hotel group in the Western Cape introduced a supervisory development programme to develop a cohort of young, trained employees to become potential supervisors, who could be ready at short notice to fill vacancies as they arose. This report describes the extent to which the implemented programme has achieved this and other objectives.

Trends from the research literature

Management development is generally defined as the process through which individuals acquire the necessary capabilities to perform professional management tasks (Mabey & Finch-Lees, 2008; Wexley & Baldwin, 1986). There is extensive debate about whether or not these management capabilities include the development of leadership capabilities (Amos, Ristow, Ristow & Pearse, 2008; Kotter, 1990; Paauwe & Williams, 2001; Zaleznik, 1977). The development programme that formed the basis of this evaluation aims to instil both managerial and leadership skills, as well as knowledge and attributes, related to these skills, in participants. It assumes that these capabilities include leadership, and therefore we pay no further attention to this particular debate. A further point of debate was whether or not there is a difference between training, development and education of managers. According to Mabey and Finch-Lees (2008), training refers to the acquisition of concrete and job-specific skills, whilst development is a longer-term learning process, which cuts across jobs. For these authors, management education is typically provided by formal academic institutions like universities and business schools, and is often more theoretical by nature (e.g. a Master's degree in business administration) than training or development. Mabey and Finch-Lees (2008) tried to clarify the debate by suggesting a classification of the three processes of training, development, and education under the super-ordinate label 'management learning'. The programme under evaluation contains elements of both management education and training and can be categorised under management learning.

Background to the study

The programme under evaluation is a supervisory development programme (SDP) established by a large luxury hotel group based in Cape Town, South Africa. The programme has been running since 2006. The following factors led to the programme's implementation:

* the high turn-over in the hospitality industry, and at this particular hotel

* the high cost of replacing exiting staff

* lengthy delays in the appointment of new staffas a result of stringent labour legislation

* the higher workload of mid-level managers who often have to perform tasks assigned to incompetent supervisors (according to the programme manager, personal communication, June 2009).

According to the programme manager the main aim of the SDP is to create a pool of competent supervisors who will address the company's current and future staffneeds for these critical positions. There are specific objectives for the participants and two main stakeholder groups of the SDP. For the participants these are:

* gain knowledge about the company as a system

* develop a strategic outlook on the organisation

* learn the skills required for supervisory positions within their business units.

The objective for the managers of participants is improved customer service by supervisors who can exhibit the full range of activities required by their positions.

The objectives for the company are:

* more skilled employees to fill vacant supervisory positions

* improved customer service ratings

* compliance with recruitment and selection standards.

The target population for the SDP was current supervisors within the organisation (inclusive of those recently appointed from outside) and employees not yet in supervisory positions, but identified by their line managers as potential supervisors. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.