Studies in Personnel and Industrial Psychology

By Edwin A. Fleishman | Go to book overview

Section Three
TRAINING EMPLOYEES AND MANAGERS

Introduction

THE TRAINING OF employees and managers represents one of the most extensive personnel activities in modern organizations. This section describes some representative contributions of psychologists to principles and developments in this area.

We must point out that a recent trend in training has been to broaden its scope in industry. Companies are becoming more concerned with developing the individual in more ways than in his immediate job behavior. Thus, many companies offer employees courses ranging from public speaking and blueprint reading to psychology and mathematics. Or executives may participate in programs to improve their reading speed or to become "more sensitive" to interpersonal relations. In one company, some managers are sent back to college for a year of "liberal arts," which, it is hoped, may broaden their approach to complex decisions and policy-making problems. The precise value of many of these programs is not yet known, but many of these developments and ideas are exciting and present a challenge to educators and researchers in this field.

We must not lose sight of the fact that much training activity is still concerned with specific job skills. Studies of learning from basic psychology should be of help in determining the optimum conditions of training. The first article in this section by McGehee, "Learning Theory and Training," presents some of the issues and problems in applying such principles in the industrial training environment.

The training department must make day-to-day decisions of the proper procedures and methods to use in relation to the skills in question. Traditional approaches may not always be the best ones and are being questioned more and more. This is where research comes in. The next three articles illustrate specific research on the relative effectiveness of different training approaches.

One sometimes forgets that motivation and attitudes are important factors influencing learning. Since the function of training is to change

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