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STRATEGIC ORGANISATIONAL TRAINING

NEEDS;
DO YACHTS OFFER A NEW DIMENSION
FOR DEVELOPMENT ?

Submitted by;
Paul Ellis

Fairlead training at
www.fairlead-training.co.uk
Offer Outdoor Management Development
USING THE YACHTING ENVIRONMENT
Contact Paul on 07803927303
A Dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment for the MA in Human Resource Management
in the School of Management at Thames Valley University
SUMMARY
The aims of this dissertation are twofold, firstly, to establish the effectiveness of existing
outdoor management development courses in satisfying particular needs. Second, in the light
of findings on the first objective to explore the suitability of yachts as a vehicle for
management development.

The research was undertaken by tripartite interview of ;- i) providers of management


development courses using the outdoors. Of the five providers interviewed, currently
providing land-based Outdoor Management Development (OMD), two had previously
designed and facilitated such courses aboard yachts. ii) Organisation Training Managers who
had purchased external, land-based OMD courses. iii) Delegates who had attended the OMD
courses.

All aspect of the courses were examined in relation to two theory models. An overview was
provided by the adaptation and linking of models suggested by Fredericks et al (1996) The
Strategy-HRD connection, and Stone (1991) A Pragmatic Framework, the systematic
training cycle.

All users of general OMD interviewed were satisfied with its effectiveness in satisfying the
particular objectives set in the courses researched, and would use outdoor courses in the
future. Their main reservations about the use of yachts in this role were, seasickness,
restrictions in numbers of delegates per course, and limitations on task design due to the
confines of a yacht.

A wide variation among providers was found in relation to;- their awareness of strategic
corporate issues, their ability to facilitate learning on particular issues, and their
understanding of the theory underlying the facilitation process itself.
Delegates, without exception considered their OMD course to have been significantly more
effective in facilitating learning than they would expect of an input by traditional methods. All
delegates indicated significant improvements in the objectives targeted by their respective
courses and most were able to give examples of improvement in their performance at the job
behaviour level (Kirkpatrick 1967).

Research showed that OMD is very effective in satisfying a range of development needs. The
importance of the facilitator role in the whole training intervention is highlighted in many
respects throughout the research.
The provision of true management development courses on yachts is still in its infancy. The
apparent lack of appropriately designed tasks is a major restriction to their current use.
There is no apparent reason why such tasks cannot be designed.

The advantage of yachts may be the provision of a strategic dimension to metaphorical


transfer not evident in the land-based courses researched. The potential for all the tasks to be
towards a common and ultimate goal, (for the delegates to sail the yacht) can be
isomorphically linked to strategic organisational goals. Yachts are potentially more effective
than land as the medium for experiential learning and management development in the
outdoors.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank the following people and organisations for their help with my studies.
Their help was invaluable, without which the difficulties I have faced in the completion of this
work would have been considerably greater.

All the companies who assisted with the research, Providers, Organisational Training
Managers and Delegates

Work-placement;- thanks to Jill Smith for her support in the early stages, and the offer of
continued use of the HR facilities at Merisel.

The continuing help and support of Rod Stone, is especially appreciated.

Special thanks to my wife Rosie for her unfailing support, without which I would not have
even begun.

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CONTENTS
SUMMARY..............................................................................................................................2
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS....................................................................................................3
CONTENTS............................................................................................................................4
List of Figures.........................................................................................................................6
INTRODUCTION..................................................................................................................7
What is Outdoor Management Development?.................................................................................................8
Outdoor Activities ............................................................................................................................................8
Research............................................................................................................................................................8
METHODOLOGY................................................................................................................10
Sociological Paradigms...................................................................................................................................10
Research, initial Approach.............................................................................................................................10
Pilot study........................................................................................................................................................11
Interview Groups.............................................................................................................................................11
Providers.....................................................................................................................................................11
Organisation Training Managers...............................................................................................................12
Delegates....................................................................................................................................................12
Autonomy........................................................................................................................................................12
LITERATURE REVIEW......................................................................................................13
THE STRATEGY-HRD CONNECTION................................................................................. .....13
Strategy - HRD Connection......................................................................................................... ....13
Management style........................................................................................................................... ..13
HRD Practice........................................................................................................... ........................15
Training Strategy/Business Strategy Link..................................................................... .................16
Organisational culture..................................................................................................................... .17
SYSTEMATIC TRAINING CYCLE........................................................................................ .....17
Identification of Training Needs................................................................................ ......................17
Levels of training needs.................................................................................................................................18
Classification of Analysis techniques.............................................................................................................18
Methods of analysis .......................................................................................................................................19
Planning and Designing of Training..................................................................... ...........................19
Planning..........................................................................................................................................................20
Implementation of Training ...................................................................................... ......................20
Framework For Analysis of OMD..................................................................................................................21
Task............................................................................................................................................................22
Review Process...........................................................................................................................................22
Managerial Processes......................................................................................................................................23
Managerial Learning process.........................................................................................................................23
Task Classification Model..............................................................................................................................24
Kolb’s learning cycle......................................................................................................................................24
Learning Styles...............................................................................................................................................25
Action Learning..............................................................................................................................................26
Levels of transfer of learning .........................................................................................................................27
Participant, Theoretical and Resource Reality...............................................................................................27
Participant reality.......................................................................................................................................28
Theoretical Reality.....................................................................................................................................28
Resource Reality ........................................................................................................................................28
Specific Transfer Problems of OMD .............................................................................................................28
Levelling claims made about OMD................................................................................................................29
Assessing the Effectiveness of Training.............................................................................. .............30

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Definitions ....................................................................................................................................................30
Information systems........................................................................................................................................30
Evaluation and Validation..............................................................................................................................30
Perceptions of Effectiveness...........................................................................................................................31
The assessment of effectiveness......................................................................................................................31
Evaluation Frameworks..................................................................................................................................31
Evaluation methods........................................................................................................................................32
Problems of Evaluation ..................................................................................................................................32
FIELD RESEARCH.............................................................................................................33
Interview Stage................................................................................................................................ .33
Interview Proforma Design.............................................................................................................................33
RESULTS..............................................................................................................................34
Providers............................................................................................................... ...........................34
Organisation Training Managers........................................................................... .........................36
Delegates.................................................................................................................................. .........40
Critique of methodology.......................................................................................................42
DISCUSSION & CONCLUSIONS......................................................................................43
Strategy-HRD-OMD connection......................................................................................... ............43
Conclusion..................................................................................................................................................43
Training strategy/Business strategy link........................................................................ .................44
Conclusion..................................................................................................................................................44
Training Needs Analysis............................................................................................................. ......44
Conclusion ................................................................................................................................................45
Plan and Design .................................................................................................................... ...........45
Compatibility with objectives.........................................................................................................................45
Available resources.........................................................................................................................................46
Trainee related factors....................................................................................................................................46
Conclusion ................................................................................................................................................47
Task/activities set............................................................................................................................................47
Conclusion ................................................................................................................................................49
Facilitation Process.........................................................................................................................................49
Conclusion..................................................................................................................................................49
Course Outcomes............................................................................................................................................50
Kolb Learning cycle........................................................................................................................................50
learning styles.................................................................................................................................................50
Action Learning..............................................................................................................................................50
Transfer of Learning.......................................................................................................................................50
Conclusion..................................................................................................................................................51
Levelling claims about OMD.........................................................................................................................51
Conclusion ................................................................................................................................................51
Assessing the Effectiveness of training..........................................................................................................51
Conclusion ................................................................................................................................................52
RECOMMENDATIONS.......................................................................................................53
Strategy-HRD connection....................................................................................................... .........53
Training-Business strategy link................................................................................ .......................53
Training Needs Analysis ............................................................................................................. .....54
Plan and design of training...................................................................................... ........................54
Implementation of training ...................................................................................... .......................55
Assessing the effectiveness of training................................................................................ .............55
Personal ...................................................................................................................... .....................55
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APPENDICES......................................................................................................................57
Appendix 1 Providers Interview Proforma................................................................................................57
Appendix 2 OTM Interview Proforma.......................................................................................................59
Appendix 3 Delegates Interview Proforma................................................................................................62
Appendix 4 Initial Letter to Companies.....................................................................................................64
Appendix 5 Organisation Culture & Management Style...........................................................................65
Appendix 6 Benefits of OMD.....................................................................................................................65
Appendix 7 Learning Skills.......................................................................................................................65
Appendix 8 Learning Style of Researcher.................................................................................................65
Appendix 9 Culture Diagnosis...................................................................................................................67
Appendix 10 Summary of Interview Questions.........................................................................................68
Appendix 11 Tasks Used By W Of E..........................................................................................................69
Appendix 12 Yacht Insurance....................................................................................................................70
Appendix 13 Yachting tasks used by the M P............................................................................................71

List of Figures
Figure 1 Business Plan - Systematic Cycle link....................................................................7
Figure 2 Burrell & Morgan (1992)...................................................................................10
Figure 3 A strategic HRD view.............................................................................................14
Figure 4 Training strategy - HRD link................................................................................15
Figure 5 Tichy et al (1982)..................................................................................................17
Figure 6 Strategic level analysis..........................................................................................18
Figure 7 Job/occupational level analysis...........................................................................19
Figure 8 Training Interventions...........................................................................................20
Figure 9 Intended Outcomes................................................................................................22
Figure 10 Task objectives......................................................................................................24
Figure 11 Kolbs Learning Cycle..........................................................................................25

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INTRODUCTION
The aim of this thesis is to establish the effectiveness of existing outdoor management
development courses in satisfying particular strategic management development needs, and
then to continue to explore the suitability of yachts in this role.
Jones (1993 pp 223) describes Outdoor Management Development (OMD) as;-
“this widely used, but under researched and poorly understood form of training”.
The following framework (figure 1) is suggested in the research for use in considering the
strategic relevance and application of training and development interventions. The inclusion
of the strategic framework enables the consideration of corporate strategy, structure, and the
information flows which link them to training strategy. General Human Resource
Management responsibilities and function are also considered.

business objectives and plan

Training Strategy
encapsulated in a Training Policy

Training Action

Identify Training Needs

Assess the Effectiveness Organisation and


of Training individual Plan and
performance
Design

Implement Training

Figure 1 Business Plan - Systematic Cycle link

Each section of the framework is examined in turn. Specific theory that exists in relation to
OMD is detailed within the appropriate sections. Where no such specific theory exists the
systematic cycle is detailed in general, as it relates to all training interventions
Training Action stemming from business strategy objectives and training policy is examined.
A focus on organisational and individual performance is maintained as training needs analysis
is examined, followed by the planning and design stage of training. The implementation
section has been explored in greater detail than other sections in this dissertation due to its
centrality to the objectives of the research. The theory detailed in the implementation
provides a specific focus on OMD and considers the potentiality of yachts in this role.
Assessment of the effectiveness of training is examined, as is its link back to the business
objectives and plan.

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What is Outdoor Management Development?
The deepest roots of development training can be traced to the fourth century BC, when
Plato, described education as “the simultaneous and harmonious development of all aspects
of the human personality”. (in Everard 1993)
No universally recognised definition of OMD was found. The term is seen to encompass
activities ranging from a 30 minute task in the company grounds to 3 weeks of survival
training exercises in the Hebridean Islands.
One Provider interviewed had conducted courses on mountain bikes, at night through the
urban sprawl of Leeds

It is possible that the Development Training Advisory Group (DTAG), formed in 1977 were
responsible for the title ‘Outdoor Development’.
Its main purpose was to promote development training for young people. It was considered
that such training has greatest impact on adolescents.
The adventure element of development training is based more recently in movements such as
the Young Men’s Christian Association YMCA, founded in 1844, Boys Brigade 1883, and
the Scouts in 1908. Industry itself had been influenced by development in the Armed Services
which did much to develop training practice.

There has been a gradual convergence of outdoor education and development training. At the
same time financial constraints on businesses have reduced the average length of courses of
this nature. In the past, development courses of 4 weeks duration had relied to a certain
extent, on learning by way of ‘osmosis’, with most input provided by the ‘concrete
experience’ of the Kolb Learning cycle. Gradually it was realised that feedback, and the other
aspects of the systematic approach were essential in order to increase the effectiveness of
courses

Outdoor Activities
A loose division within the range of outdoor activities appearing in the literature is evident,
where ‘task’ refers to the shorter activities of 1-4 hr duration and ‘exercise’ extends beyond
this, occasionally lasting several days. This range of activities professes to tackle a variety of
objectives. However, opinions held as to the ability of OMD to deliver real benefits vary
greatly.

“Views of Outdoor Management Development vary between two extremes. For advocates,
OMD appears to hold almost mystical power to promote revolutionary, performance-
enhancing changes for those experiencing it. The sceptics believe that it is a series of
contrived, irrelevant and superficial attempts to create organisational metaphors away from
the workplace; and at worst, a highly discriminatory form of training fraught with
unjustifiable physical and psychological danger” (Jones 1993. pp210)

It is suggested by Jones (1993) that in comparison with other Management Development


techniques OMD is perhaps unique in the extent to which it invokes the complete learning
cycle, the physical and mental stress together with the subjective risk combine to increase the
memorability of the experience. These factors increase the probability that what was learnt
will be remembered and transferred to the workplace.

Research
In total 5 Providers, 5 Training Managers and 12 delegates were interviewed individually and
in person. An interview proforma was used as the basis for the interviews.

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It was not possible to gain access to a provider who was currently facilitating courses of
yachts. Only land-based providers previously involved with yachts were available therefore
no training managers or delegates were interviewed about such courses.
An examination was undertaken, of the circumstances in which land-based courses were
being run and information was requested of all interviewed with regard to their perceptions
about OMD courses being run aboard yachts.

My reasons for engaging in this research and indeed for signing up to the MA HRM are
unusual, and perhaps warrant brief explanation.
Having been a Prison Officer at Brixton for six years I found myself, in the last two years,
teaching other officers “Minimum Use of Force, Tactical Intervention” (M.U.F.T.I ).
Subsequently I joined the Metropolitan Police as an officer. Within three years I again found
myself in a teaching role. In both careers people were the focus.
Simultaneous to my Police service I acquired an interest in sailing. Within four years I
became a ‘Commercial Yachtmaster’ and began to teach sailing for the Police sailing school
(an approved Royal Yachting Association school).
Injuries sustained on duty caused my enforced retirement from the service requiring me to
reconsider my future. I decided to combine my experience of, and interest in people and
training, with my ‘hobby’ to create a career. It is this background which goes some way to
explaining my particular paradigmatic view.

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METHODOLOGY
This section first details the underlying social paradigms affecting my research. The initial
approach taken in the research, including methods used and data sources are given, both of
which changed slightly from that initially intended. Detail of the pilot study is provided, as is
some detail of the interview groups. Steps taken to retain autonomy are also mentioned.

Sociological Paradigms
In considering my basic methodological approach it is first necessary to state and understand
my own paradigmatic.
Burrell & Morgan (1992) identify two continuums; the objective-subjective, and that of the
sociology’s of regulation or radical change. The continuums, when crossed illustrate four
paradigms which they would argue are mutually exclusive .
See figure 2 below
Figure 2 Burrell & Morgan (1992)

RADICAL CHANGE
Radical Humanism Radical Structuralism

SUBJECTIVE OBJECTIVE

Interpretative Sociology Functionalist Sociology

REGULATION
It is necessary to look at the range of continuums across the objective-subjective divide in
order to analyse my assumptions. First, Ontology where I consider that reality is objective by
nature, rather than a product of individual cognition. Next, my assumptions about the
grounds of knowledge, my epistemological stance, is that knowledge is identifiable and
capable of communication. I also consider however, that when analysing personal issues in
depth, or when attempting to quantify them by objective measurement, the process becomes
cumbersome and unable to cope with the permutations of subjectivity.
I am deterministic, believing that I am “master rather than marionette” Burrell & Morgan
(1992 pp2). My views are not towards any of the extremes of the model, and perhaps lie
somewhere within the parameters of ‘interactionism and social action theory. I find however
that my position in relation to any given subject is contingent upon the subject itself though
my view includes the notion of conformity rather than that of conflict.

In the ideographic - nomothetic debate I accept the validity of surveys, questionnaires and
other standardised research instruments of objectivity, but I also value the ideographic
approach and the richness of subjective research. In my research I have used aspects of both.

Research, initial Approach


My initial intention was to undertake a tripartite comparison of data accumulated during
research interviews involving;- Providers of outdoor management development training,
Organisation training managers (OTM) who had sent delegates on such courses and

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delegates who had attended such training, to include some users of yachts in the training
provision

Dainty & Lucas (1992 ) note that “Programmes can differ quite considerably, not only in
terms of the types of tasks that participants are asked to perform, but also in terms of the
type of review process utilised, and the overall outcomes that are intended by the course
organisers.”
Because of differences between programs a broad range of questions was asked, to identify
themes and differences that could explain any variations in effectiveness between courses.
Due to time restrictions this was a retrospective study of courses that had been delivered, but
sufficiently recent to be fresh in the minds of those interviewed.

Interview proformas were formulated to allow analysis in relation to current theory. (see
appendix 1,2,3). The assessment of the effectiveness of existing OMD courses, and exploring
the suitability of yachts in the role was done in 3 stages.
1) by assessing the effect of land-based OMD courses on recent participants
2) by interview of experienced land-based providers who had facilitated courses on yachts
3) by analysis of the data obtained to determine the potential of yachts in the OMD role.
The intention had been to research courses that had been undertaken on yachts by the same
method as for the land-based courses, however, the yacht-based provider who initially agreed
to the allow the research declined at a late stage. No other current providers could be
located.

In the interview proformas (see appendices 1, 2, 3,), the basis of assessment of course
effectiveness was by the subjective opinion of delegates. Delegates were also required to
attach a value to their perceived gain from their attendance on the course, in order to achieve
a certain quantification of the research.

Pilot study
The interviews were piloted with the assistance of the training manager of the researcher’s
work-placement company. Several changes were made to the proformas as a result of
‘answers’ given, and comments made by her.
The ‘answers’ given were based on;-
1) previous dealings with provider companies as a training manager.
2) experience of arranging outdoor courses in the role of OTM
3) previous participation on an outdoor development course

Interview Groups

Providers
Contact with various providers of outdoor development programmes was initially made by
attendance for two days at the Human Resource Development exhibition, on the 19th & 20th
March 96.
Pugh’s (1982) description neatly described the sample thus obtained as being a ;- “sample, is
usually a euphemism for an assorted group of firms who have agreed to cooperate”.
At each level of interviews there was difficulty in persuading people to take time to be
interviewed, restricting the extent of the research.
A standard letter (see appendix 4) was sent to each provider company reaffirming interest in
their offers of help.

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Organisation Training Managers
Access was gained to OTM’s at the discretion of Providers. Their selection was made on the
basis of ‘who were most likely to agree to help’. The relationships between providers and
OTM clearly affected the selection, and needs to be considered when analysing the results
obtained.

Delegates
Delegates were selected by the OTM’s, their selection again on the basis of who would
assist. Consideration by OTM’s as to who would be most positive about the course may have
affected the sample of delegates to whom I had access.

Autonomy
An assurance was given, that the researcher had no affiliation to any other organisation.
Confidentiality was guaranteed, save to the extent that the university required full research
details. No company was told the names of any other companies involved. The importance of
such autonomy is stressed by Bulmer (1982).

Providers were forwarded copies of the interview proformas ( appendices 1,2,3) for use in
the interviews of ;- Providers, Training Managers, and Delegates.
The advanced notice of the questions to be asked, aided the research in the following ways,
i) it would speed the interview process by allowing information stored elsewhere to be
gathered by the interviewee prior to the interview,
ii) it allowed a considered response to requests for possibly sensitive information, which if
requested for the first time in interview would have been refused.
iii) any concerns generated by them could be dispelled prior to the interview.

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LITERATURE REVIEW
THE STRATEGY-HRD CONNECTION
This section discusses the links between organisational strategy, structure and the role of
Human Resource Management and Development. It is the human resource department in a
proactive stance that assumes some responsibility for the communication and implementation
of strategic issues within an organisation. This responsibility together with the advisory role
played by training managers potentially provide the link between strategic needs and training
interventions. The framework below is suggested as a tool with which to ;- i) identify
researched companies strategic orientation, and how it informs training action, and ii) to
identify issues relevant in each company for assessing the effectiveness of a training
intervention
Within the HR role there is a focus on training and development issues. Consideration is
given to the relevance of management styles, and to organisational culture. An awareness of
change and the tendency for a culture of enablement to be utilised to cope with it is detailed.
The limited time available in the research restricted the use made of the model

Strategy - HRD Connection


Fredericks et al (1996 pp103).see organisation structure a common factor among much
management theory and use this as a key concept of their model. Defined by Fredericks et al
.(1996 pp103).as “...organisational arrangements to do with authority relations which, in
turn, have the effect of setting limits, or constraining the actions and behaviours of individual
organisation members” i.e. the internal relations.

A wide range of views are to be found on organisation strategy. Fredericks et al (1996)


define it as “those organisation decisions and actions which are intended to and/or have an
impact on the long-term survival of the organisation within its operating environment.” The
‘environment’ described can be elaborated upon by examining the following external factors
P.E.S.T.L.E; - Political - Economic - Social - Technological - Legal -
Environmental

Management style
Management style is a function of ;- knowledge, skills, beliefs and values of the individual
manager, and manifests as the individual’s actions and behaviours concerned with managerial
decision making. Top managers are more concerned with the construction of authority
relationships and the lower managers are concerned with operating within them

Fredericks et al see strategy and structure as separate but interdependent (see figure 3). This
view is shared by Tichy et al (1982). However, where Fredericks et al consider Management
style Tichy et al’s model (see figure 5) incorporates Human Resource Management in its
entirety. Johnson & Scholes (1989) place more emphasis on strategy, dividing it into analysis,
choice and implementation, and show organisation structure as a sub-element of strategic
implementation.

In this model (see figure 3) , the extent to which strategic decisions are known, understood,
and agreed with by organisation members will affect their actions and behaviours.
Communication / information flow within the organisation will affect the extent to which
these decisions are known
Recognising that intended and actual strategy frequently differ, Frederick et al suggest that if
the actions/behaviours could be identified that would bring about the intended strategy, and
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further that if those actual actions/behaviours could be attained then both actual and intended
strategy would be the same

Management style develops from an individuals values and beliefs about themselves, others,
work situations, both in the abstract and the particular. This influences their approach to their
work, and how they interact with others.
Fredericks et al consider that management decisions are influenced along a continuum, at one
extreme the ‘belief in enabling’ deriving from a recognition of the importance of organisation
strategy in their work. This view equates readily with the view of Morgan (1986) of
‘Organisations as Organisms’.
The ‘belief in conforming’ lies at the other end of the continuum, emphasising the importance
of structure as the co-ordinating mechanism equating to Morgan’s (1986) Organisations as
machines.
In my opinion this is rather simplistic and the range is better illustrated by Quinn et al (1983),
though their ‘entrepreneurial stage’ may equate with the ‘enabling’ and their ‘control stage’
to the ‘conforming’ of Fredericks et al, with the other stages identified by Quinn lying
between.

The problem in believing that the ‘belief in conforming’ is suitable in ‘stable environmental
conditions with a low level of complexity’ is that;-
“Even to stand still in todays world requires managers to become skilful at managing change,
because the environment within which one is trying to remain static is itself changing so fast”
(Robinson 1992)

Within the confines of organisation structure there is scope for individual discretion, i.e.
“limits and potentialities’ in relation to their behaviour and actions arising from their
participation in the organisation” Fredericks et al (1996)
HR practice both overt and covertly has an effect by socialising the established patterns of
behaviour, e.g. by skill enhancement. Proactive HR is concerned with learnt/learning
behaviours and actions which are directly related to the organisations ability to adapt,
change and develop.
STRATEGY STRUCTURE
INFORMATION
FLOWS

SOCIALISED BEHAVIOUR AND ACTIONS

BELIEF IN HUMAN RESOURCE POLICIES AND PRACTICES, BELIEF IN


ENABLING MANAGEMENT OR LEADERSHIP STYLE CONFORMANCE

LEARNT/LEARNING BEHAVIOUR AND ACTIONS

Figure 3 A strategic HRD view

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HRD Practice
The primary role of proactive HRD practice then, is to create capability within the
organisation to facilitate the above mentioned adaptation, change and development which is
necessary to allow effective response to strategic environmental conditions

Fredericks et al (1996) argue that by considering the following questions it will be possible to
identify the organisation current location (org’ context); 1) by considering P.E.S.T.L.E
(external) mentioned earlier, and value chain analysis (internal).
2) by the use of their model, which gives consideration to the list below;-
are beliefs orientated to conformance or enabling
is there a dominant management style
does current HR practice endorse/support that style
where is the space between socialised and learnt/learning behaviour
how can new actions-beliefs become possible

Any contradictions apparent in the context will highlight ‘both potential and preferred
directions for change. The effective consideration of these issues requires active liaison by
HRD personnel, especially with managers, requiring additional elements of proactive
practice.
The preferred directions for change will be encapsulated in the ‘business objectives and plan’
of Stone’s (1991) model. It is this area which seems to cause the most problems in reality, in
that an effective link between strategic issues and the resultant training strategy is not always
clear

The model proposed by Fredericks et al (1996) I feel is unnecessarily complicated; for


example, he describes a direct link between ‘strategy’ and ‘a belief in enabling’, this can be
routed through ‘information flows’ though I accept that the enabling process flows from
strategy rather than structure. see figure 3

A simplified version of Fredericks (1996) model, is incorporated with that of Stone (1991)
(see figure 4) to provide an overview of my area of study.
Figure 4 Training strategy - HRD link

STRATEGY INFORMATION STRUCTURE


15
FLOWS

SOCIALISED BEHAVIOUR AND ACTIONS


LEARNT/LEARNING BEHAVIOUR AND ACTIONS

HUMAN RESOURCE POLICIES AND PRACTICES,


BELIEF IN MANAGEMENT OR LEADERSHIP STYLE BELIEF IN
ENABLING CONFORMANCE
BUSINESS OBJECTIVES AND PLAN

Training Strategy
encapsulated in a Training Policy

Training Action

Identify Training Needs

Assess the Effectiveness Organisation and Plan andDesign


of Training individual Training
performance

Implement Training

Training Strategy/Business Strategy Link


The training stategy is frequently encapsulated within a training policy. The policy will
frequently contain a statement of principles and aims which must be followed. Such policies
can act as a restriction on managers, but for others can act as a guide such that managers
make decisions in keeping with the broader organisational goals. (Reid et al 1992).
There is the assumption within this statement of a matching of corporate strategic goals and
training strategy. This matching is by no means a foregone conclusion. Frequently in this area
there are major difficulties within organisations regarding what is required to realise
corporate goals and what is being supplied in training action towards that end.
The proactivity of the HR function can have a significant impact in this area. Tichy et al
(1982) in their model (Figure 5) below emphasise the importance of development within the
HR function, with performance being central to the model. Further, we see that Fredericks et
16
al (1996) link proactive HR to strategy and to a belief in enabling, providing an ability to
change in response to changing environmental conditions
I consider that this flexibility, together with the vital part that the HR function plays in the
information flows combine to give a potentially better link between strategy and the training
function.

Figure 5 Tichy et al (1982)

REWARDS

SELECTION PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL

DEVELOPMENT

Sloman (1994 pp76) acknowledges that successful training and development must be aligned
with business strategy and recognises that this alignment is easier to achieve where a high
profile business initiative is in existence, e.g. TQM.
He makes some practical suggestions for providing the link;-
• trainers or training managers having a theoretical understanding of the strategic
management process,
• trainers ascertaining the methods used in their organisation, and distinguishing between
strategy formulation and formation
the HRM implications of strategic options should be articulated and developed using a
proactive rather than a reactive approach, and as part of the broader human resource
management activities. (pp63).
By following these as a guide it may be possible, even where there is no training policy, for
trainers and the training function to be conditioned by top management’s expectations of
their training role.

Organisational culture
The organisations culture and Management style are often the responsibility of the HR dept.
Reid et al (!992) identify five main culture types and indicate the implications for training
interventions. (see appendix 5)
Culture types;- Power-based, - People-based, - Role-based, - Task-based, - Quality-based.

SYSTEMATIC TRAINING CYCLE


It is within the HRD function that the systematic training cycle is operated, the use of which
gives coherence to training and development interventions. Adherence to the cycle provides
the opportunity to develop a learning organisation. Each aspect of the cycle is considered
vital to this dissertation and therefore each has its own introduction.

Identification of Training Needs


This section will discuss the importance of training needs analysis (TNA) in relation to the
assessing of effectiveness of development courses. Also the relevance of TNA as the starting
point from which to structure course content. The different levels of training needs, the
classification of those needs and methods of their analysis are also discussed.

17
Levels of training needs
Stewart (1994) separates training needs into the following 3 levels;-
Strategic level- where there are shortfalls in the performance of the organisation, and
consideration for future needs
Manpower planning - considering the flow of people in, through, around and out of the
organisation
Individual level - people underperforming compared to expectations (knowledge attitude and
skills)

It is difficult, if not impossible to assess the effects/benefits of a course, or even to construct


a relevant course if the ‘entry’ skills of the participants are unknown. The TNA identifies
‘where we are at’, having ascertained this, it is then possible to structure training in an
incremental way towards ultimate goals, whatever they may be.

Classification of Analysis techniques


Analysis can be divided into group and individual techniques. Group techniques are most
appropriate at the strategic level (see figure 6), planning training priorities. Individual
techniques are designed to access the needs of people individually.
A further distinction is ‘deficiency techniques’ where shortfalls in current performance are
identified whereas ‘ideal based techniques’ are designed to state what the ideal situation
would be then training people towards that goal.
Kenney et al (1992) details the stages of an organisation wide review of training, shown
below
Figure 6 Strategic level analysis
Step 1
Preparation for the review

Step 2
Collection of data and initial interpretation

Step 3
Detailed interpretation of data and
development of recommendations

Step 4
Preparation for implementing the
recommendations

The system described above relates to the strategic level, as described by Stewart (1994).

The manpower planning of Stewart is described by Kenney et al as the ‘job or occupational’


level see (figure 7). This, together with the training needs at the individual level are
approached by Kenney et al in the sequence shown below ;-

Step 1
Gain the co-operation of all concerned

Step 2
Carry out pre-analysis investigation

18
Step 3
Decide appropriate analytical approach

Step 4
Analyse the job

Step 5
Write the job description

Step 6
Write the job specification

Step 7
Write the training specification

Figure 7 Job/occupational level analysis

Methods of analysis
Critical incident
The identification of problems encountered by a selection of managers typical of the ‘target
group’ The classification of information received over a period of time such that training
needs for the group are distilled.
Self report questionnaires
i.e. What training do you think you need? selecting from a range of options. However some
do not know what they need and some will not know what training is available.
Structured Interviews
Managers are interviewed, and all are asked the same set of questions. The results should be
independently assessed by two or more people such that any one interviewer’s values are less
likely to have undue influence
Diary method
Those involved keep diaries recording their activities under a variety of predetermined
headings which are later analysed to identify skills needed.
Performance questionnaire
Uses a series of bipolar statements and is usefully used at the interface between individual
needs analysis and organisation development.

Content Analysis
Is non-reactive, with information obtained from sources such as performance appraisal
records, complaints, training manuals.
Behaviour Analysis
Peoples actions and statements are categorised in a running analysis performed by themselves
or the trainer
Psychological tests/Repertory grid
can also be used
It is through the identification of needs that objective(s) for a training intervention are
developed. Planning and design of appropriate training can then be conducted.

Planning and Designing of Training


Having identified particular training needs of the organisation or individuals it is necessary to
plan and design the appropriate training to fit the need/s identified.
19
This section discusses briefly plan and design, having already decided; why the training is
needed, how it fits into the organisational goals and... who is going to pay. Moss (1991)

Planning
From the TNA it is possible to set objectives attainable by a ‘training intervention’
Consideration must then be given as to the type of training appropriate. A wide variety is
available. Baumgarten (1995) though discussing training in relation to an international staff
indicates a continuum of ‘modelling process’ or training interventions (see figure 8).They
range, from fact-giving, to analytical, to experiential. She notes on the vertical axis the
increasing training rigor, using the term rigour as within social learning theory, i.e. the
trainee’s degree of cognitive involvement.

Experiential
Training methods
Training
Rigour
Analytical

Factual

symbolic Participative
verbal Observational Verbal Behavioural
Figure 8 Training Interventions

Reid et al (1992, pp269) use the term training strategy to refer to what in Stone’s (1991)
model is called ‘plan and design training. They group training possibilities into five groups
On-the-job training; planned organisational experience; in-house courses; planned
experiences outside the organisation; external courses.
In order to decide on the appropriate training strategy Reid et al (1992 pp269)suggest the
use of the following decision criteria, recognising that. most decisions are a compromise
between what is desirable and what is possible’.
compatibility with objectives
estimated likelihood of transfer of learning back to the work-place
available resources (including time, money and staff)
trainee related factors
These decision criteria as they relate to Outdoor Management Development are discussed in
depth in the following section, particularly its compatibility with objectives and transfer of
learning issues. Trainee related factors are also highlighted in the implementation section,
noting the relevance of individual learning styles.
Available resources are considered in the Evaluation of Effectiveness section.

Implementation of Training
Outdoor Management Development is a diverse medium. It has the problem that it is easily
capable of being misunderstood rather than managed. Lack of understanding and a lack of
20
clarity as to what are its advantages and disadvantages can result in the avoidance of its use
as a serious Management Development tool.
This section examines initially a theoretical framework, linking outdoor tasks via a review
process to a range of intended outcomes. The outcomes illustrated cover the spectrum of
objectives currently targeted by OMD courses.
Kolb’s learning cycle and the associated learning styles are discussed, the task and process of
the framework mentioned above facilitating active experimentation and observation/reflection
respectively within the Kolb cycle. Detailed consideration is given to principles of action
learning theory as they apply to OMD.
The managerial learning process is reviewed and consideration is given to the ability of OMD
courses to assist managers in learning to learn. Both general and specific transfer problems
are identified in relation to outdoor learning.
Outdoor tasks are closely examined from a variety of viewpoints. In the absence of any
tripartite research data from yachting courses and in order to make an assessment of their
suitability in the OMD role it is necessary to compare land-based task design with task
options on yachts.

Framework For Analysis of OMD


Dainty & Lucas (1992) developed a framework with which to inform one’s approach in the
use of the outdoors. They comment on the lack of research, and lack of critical reviews of
this style of development. They suggest the framework “as a starting point from which to
review or question the approach that is taken to OD” (see figure 9).

21
TIGHT NARROW BROAD
SKILLS SKILLS
Quadrant 2 Quadrant 3
T

A
SELF & OTHER
S FUN/ENJOYMENT AWARENESS
Quadrant 1 Quadrant 4
K

LOOSE
LOW PROCESS HIGH

Figure 9 Intended Outcomes

Task
Tasks are described along a Loose-Tight continuum.
‘Loose’ tasks (e.g. the rescue exercise), are unstructured, with broad objectives and with
little technical support and lie at one end of the continuum. Such tasks have great potential
for developing managers, tasks where there is a wide choice open to delegates to achieve a
particular objective. Longer and more complex tasks allow for the development of power
struggles, miscommunication and drama, which in many respects resemble those found in the
workplace making possible the metaphorical transfer of learning

Tightly structured tasks (e.g. abseiling ) are those with narrow objectives, high technical
support and are highly structured with little choice open to individuals as to how the task is
achieved.
Tight tasks tend to have restricted learning outcomes and although they may be personally
challenging, the skills learnt may suffer from a difficulty of transference to the workplace,
particularly when coupled with low intensity review as seen in the model. (figure 9)
Pettigrew (1974) suggests that the most dramatic learning, that which informs future action
comes from dramatic, spontaneous intense experiences. It is vital however that there are
clear objectives in using such an approach. Such tasks alone are insufficient, it is the review
process that provides the developmental aspect.

Review Process
Care must be exercised when using the term ‘process’ in that it is used to refer to two
different aspects of management development. First there is the process/es by which
delegates complete the task (elaborated below), indeed, it may be these processes (e.g. of
communication, leadership) upon which whole courses may be focused.
The process referred to in the Dainty & Lucas (1992) model relates to the ‘facilitation’,
‘review’, ‘debrief’ or ‘wash- up’ session. This Review process continuum, describes a
variation in intensity, where intensity means ‘the amount of pressure put on course
participants to give and receive personal feedback concerning individual behaviour, to
explore the feelings of others in the group and to take part in self-reflection and discussion’.
High intensity process would involve high interaction, challenge and directness.
Low intensity process implies minimal encouragement of personal feedback and where the
issues drawn from the exercises remain general rather than specific to the individuals.

22
Dainty & Lucas (1992 pp116) “If there is any aspect of OD which demands high skills, can
require considerable personal responsibility, and is the lynch pin around which a program
potentially can provide high developmental experiences for its participants, it is processing.”
The Dainty & Lucas model illustrates the clear linkage between Task, Process and intended
outcomes in figure 9 It emphasises the differences in outcomes obtainable from variations in
the design of a course.
Outcomes
Fun/enjoyment which is self explanatory, but courses designed with this sole aim are lost
opportunities for development. Spontaneous, unplanned development may occur. The more
self aware and the better assessment made by an individual of his/her development needs, the
greater the chance of development in this quadrant. Without ‘feedback’ on their actions either
from results, or observations of others it is difficult to see how individual progress can be
made.
Narrow concrete skills refers to specific skills which can be applied in more or less the same
way to many situations e.g. listening skills, negotiating, coaching, such an outdoor example
would be abseiling. The structure of the course should provide the feedback on progress.
Tutors give encouragement and support, but these skills may be more cost effectively learnt
in other environments.
Broad concrete skills have a range of possible approaches and are contingent by nature, e.g.
leadership, team-building, coping with ambiguity and change. These are the skills largely
considered by Dainty & Lucas (1992, pp111) as being “the more complex people
management skills”.
Development of self and others awareness according to Dainty & Lucas the least
straightforward outcome, potentially the most important and an aspect minimised by
executive developers. They argue that whilst a main focus of development is on the broad
skills it is only by being ‘self and others aware’ that development in the other areas can be
effective, and further argue that OD “provides one of the most powerful mediums for the
development of self and other awareness” (pp112).
Bank (1994 pp25),elaborates on the benefits of Outdoor Development. These benefits may
be located in the outcome sectors of the Dainty & Lucas Model. (see appendix 6)

Managerial Processes
Crawford (1988) views OMD in three dimensions of reality..
Task - what must be done
Process - How it is to be done
Environment - the context in which it is done
The model proposes that where reality on all 3 is high (such as on the job training), the
learning will be primarily about the task. It suggests that;-
“it is only when the reality of both the task and environment are low that there will be
significant process learning” (Crawford 1988. pp18)
most literature suggests that the processes concerned will be those related to management,
team, and interpersonal issues.

Managerial Learning process


Having highlighted the potential of OMD to focus on managerial and organisational
processes, there has been less emphasis on its ability to act as a metaphor of managerial
learning process.
Jones (1993) identifies a variety of learning processes experienced by participants on OMD
courses which correspond closely with the 14 learning skills identified by Mumford (1981).
23
(see appendix 7), considered essential by Mumford for managers to learn from experience,
adapt to change and continually improve their work performance.

This indicates that that OMD training may be an important tool for increasing delegates
learning abilities ( learning to learn )as well as being a ‘vehicle’ for imparting specific
managerial process skills.

Task Classification Model


In analysing the suitability and design of tasks it is appropriate to consider the distinctions
illustrated by the model below (Tuson 1994) (figure 10)

METHOD OF OPERATING

Known Unknown

K
N
O
B
O
W 1 3
J N
E
C
T
I U
V N
E K
S N
O 2 4
W
N

Figure 10 Task objectives

Type 1 task consists of a task with a defined and definitive objective, and a clear, effective
method of operating. These are common, uninteresting tasks and not usually utilised in
outdoor learning
Type 2 Consists of situations where the method of operating is clearly defined but the
objectives are not. Useful when looking at issues relating to setting and achieving goals,
especially in a short task early in the program. There use is limited because a significant part
of an outdoor program is the provision of a stimulating environment in which to learn
Type 3 Where the objective is clearly stated but the means of achieving it have to be devised
by the group. These are likely to form the majority of the tasks in the program
Type 4 Sets problems where neither the objectives nor the method of achieving them are
clear. (similar to the problems facing middle and senior managers). It is in courses focused on
this level or tasks focused on creativity that they tend to appear

Kolb’s learning cycle


Kolb’s learning cycle (figure 11) (in Bank 1985: Tuson 1994.) is now widely used in some
form by most Outdoor Development providers. It proposes that if events or ‘concrete

24
experiences’ are remembered then they have the potential to be incorporated into a process
of ‘observations and reflections’.
There is an inherent assumption that we seldom learn from experience unless we have the
opportunity to take time to reflect on an experience, & then assign our own meaning to it.
Observations made during this reflection allow the participant to form ‘abstract concepts and
generalisations’ which in turn allows conscious consideration to be given to future similar
events.
Subsequent ‘testing’ of the concepts and their implications are then made when the learner
applies them to a new situation.
The ‘new situation’ is then treated as another learning opportunity (concrete experience)
which invokes the continuation of the learning cycle.

It is the metaphorical links between the activities and processes highlighted in OMD and
those of the workplace that allows transfer of learning from the OMD programme to the
workplace. where the learning cycle can continue.

The Dainty & Lucas model described, links to the learning cycle of Kolb, where the task
provides a ‘concrete experience,’ the facilitation process encourages ‘observation and
reflection’, and ‘abstract concepts and generalisations’. The facilitation of the latter of these
two may sometimes be ‘front loaded’ and given as a theory lecturette prior to the concrete
experience as was the case in one of the provider companies researched.

‘Testing of the concepts’ is provided normally by new opportunities during the program,
though in some short courses this testing may be done back in the workplace, in which case
post course follow-up by the facilitators becomes of even greater significance, to ensure the
transfer of learning.
Transfer of learning is discussed in a later section.

Figure 11 Kolbs Learning Cycle

Learning Styles
Learning style is one of the many factors affecting learning. It is emphasised as being
particularly important to the trainer because it is something the trainer can directly influence.
With such an awareness a trainer can accommodate learner preferences at an individual level.
Individuals, once aware of their own learning style can develop their learning ability by
consciously targeting the styles for which they have less preference.
A trainers own learning style often influences the style of course he/she has designed, and
their facilitation of courses. It is necessary therefore that they reflect on their assumptions
about their course programs.
25
Honey and Mumford (Honey 1993 pp103) identify learning styles, based on the work of
Kolb. KOLB LINK
Activist- what’s new? I’m game for anything concrete experience
Reflector- I’d like time to think about this observation and reflection
Theorist - How does this relate to that concepts and generalisation
Pragmatist - How can I apply this in practice testing in new situations

These learning styles tie in with the stages of the Kolb cycle. It is possible to develop ones
learning ability to encompass all styles though generally a preference for a particular style will
be retained. Honey (1992 pp 107) suggests a method for such development, and suggests
that trainers should be integrated learners if they wish to facilitate all styles of course. My
own learning style is illustrated (see appendix 8)

Action Learning
L = P + Q where ;-
L = learning;
P = Programmed Knowledge (facts and figures). Such programmed input in OMD is often
less explicit though some courses include a specific theory input.
Q = Insightful questioning (domain of leaders wanting to drive a project forward), is very
much the domain of the facilitator of OMD courses, encouraging such questioning, and
linking to the learning.
‘Action learning’, some principles of which are easily applied to OMD, was summed up by
Prof Revans (1980) as;-
“learning to learn by doing with and from others who are also learning to learn by doing”
This focuses not on the teachers knowledge but on the needs and experiences of the learners.
It is not suprising then if a variety of training outcomes are reported from the same course as
a result of individuals, each having used it to learn what was important to him/her. This may
explain the differences noted during research where the outcomes intended by providers and
training managers were not always the same as those identified by delegates. Differences
were noted between delegates learning on the same courses also.

Revans saw action learning as involving people working with real issues, in sets generally
lasting for a period of months. The time and cost of such a work system has restricted its use
in the UK. The use of the main principles of action learning in OMD rely heavily on the
ability to relate back to the workplace by metaphorical transfer.

Jones (1993) suggests that participants on OMD courses attend with their differing learning
needs, and further that, any learning autonomy obtained during the course can be
isomorphically (of similarity of form) linked to the workplace.
Such learning process can occur indoors or outdoors. The benefits available in the outdoors
are worthy of consideration as a method of improving existing management development
programs

“If memorable and relevant experiences form the basis of future actions then paradigm
OMD activities appear to have the potential to provide the building blocks of managerial
and organisational learning and behaviour” (Jones 1993. pp215)
.Traditional presentation of OMD activities as metaphors of managerial process therefore,
may be only part, and that it may additionally act as metaphor for the managerial learning
process

With regard to learning from experience Mumford (1988 pp14) comments that;-
26
“The reality [of managerial life] is that it tends in practice to be, hectic, disconnected and
highly active, rather than reflective analytical and methodical. Most learning for most
managers, most of the time occurs from doing the job, equally for most managers most of
the time learning is rarely identified beforehand as an opportunity and only slightly more
frequently identified afterwards as something that happened”

Hence it follows that “Knowing we learn from experience we should be able to become more
proactive and plan to learn methodically from experiences we are about to have” Kolb (in
Inglis 1994)

Levels of transfer of learning


In order to ‘locate’ metaphorical transfer as a learning medium it is appropriate to mention
the three levels of transfer of learning identified by Gass (1991) OMD programmes can
provide learning transfer in all three. The most important according to McGraw (1993) is the
metaphorical transfer.

Specific transfer
Specific transfer; which occurs when skills are learned which can be directly transferred to
another situation e.g. listening. Within the outdoor environment situations are designed such
that issues such as listening skills become a vital factor in delegates success or failure in a
task.

Non specific transfer


Non specific transfer; where the processes of learning are generalised into attitudes to be
used in the future, e.g. patience

Metaphoric transfer
Metaphoric transfer; when processes in one learning situation serve as an analogy for
learning in another, e.g. more risk taking approach to work following participation in events
with a high ‘perceived risk’.
For effective use of metaphorical transfer from an outdoor programme to the workplace in
therapeutic situations McGraw (1993) identifies 4 elements that must be present.
The metaphor must be able to hold the participants attention, have a different, successful,
ending to a real life situation and be isomorphic. It must also contain enough detail to enable
the participants to attach personal meaning to the situation.

In order for these requirements to be satisfied it is necessary for courses to be individually


designed and set in the appropriate context such that participants can make the links which
allow transfer of learning. For this to happen it is imperative that the provider is fully aware
of the training needs of the group, and also aware of the organisational dynamics of the client
company.
This requirement was dispensed with in one subject company of my research. The
Organisation training Manager detailed his exact requirements of course content to match his
specific needs, the problem encountered as a result was inappropriate facilitation by the
provider organisation due to their lack of awareness of the organisational dynamics involved.

Participant, Theoretical and Resource Reality


These views of reality of Kirk (1986) are a framework with which to review Outdoor
Management Development. Consideration is given to each in terms of its effect on the design
of outdoor learning events.
They also offer a means to assess whether management development objectives can be met
by the tasks set in a particular outdoor program
27
Participant reality.
Kirk (1986 pp88) refers to participant reality as being “the extent to which the design and
content of the learning event relates to the learners and their points of reference”. This
‘reality’ or metaphorical link is essential, the absence of which, according to Kirk;- “can
prevent learning within the event, or delegates may learn but fail to connect it to the work
environment.”. Kirk’s comments add emphasis to the four elements noted by McGraw above.
In order to examine the concept of participant reality of OMD courses in more detail Kirk
uses Stuart & Binsted’s (1981) three dimensions. The dimensions used are ‘content, process
and environment’. These relate to the dimensions as used by Crawford (1988) and described
below.
The Three Sub-divisions of Participant Reality
Crawford identifies 3 dimensions of reality of the training event as they relate to the
individual participant. These are as sub-divisions to the participant reality of Kirk. It is the
successful manipulation of these 3 dimensions of reality that is critical in determining what is
learnt and what can subsequently be transferred to the work environment.
Task - what must be done Process - How the task is to be done
Environment- the context in which it is done

Theoretical Reality
This relates to the extent to which the design of a course takes account firstly of the relevant
body of knowledge related to the management topic under consideration, e.g. the storming,
forming, norming and performing of teams, and the Belbin team roles. A second
consideration is the fit between event design and the theories on ‘how managers learn’ Kirk
(1986)

Resource Reality
For OMD resource costs are high in terms of opportunity costs.
The Systematic evaluation of outdoor programmes is essential to ensure value for money, by
examining what they achieve in relation to what they cost, then comparing that with the
achievements of alternative methods and their cost.
Levelling/ neutralising claims made about metaphorical transfer
- A novel environment that most participants are not used to,
- No individual has any significant knowledge advantage over any other,
- Previous experience is unlikely to be at the level of ‘expertise’.

Specific Transfer Problems of OMD


This section looks at the practical difficulties of transferring learning gained on such courses,
back into practice in the workplace.
1. Adequate analysis.
The adequate analysis of future organisational needs in terms of management competencies,
operational skills required by the organisation’ and personal development needs of the staff.
McGraw (1993) considers there is a need to develop the OD facilitators role to include
consultancy in organisational development in order to ensure a congruence between course
and company such that the learning provided satisfies succession planning requirements of
the organisation as well as individual development needs.
2. Congruence between organisation culture and development intervention.
Full consideration of organisational culture is needed when contemplating the use of OD.
Systematic analysis, pre-program liaison between provider and client, and the involvement of
senior management give such consideration.
Diagnosis of culture can be made, according to Dunford (in McGraw 1993) through an
analysis by focus on themes, or analysis of elements (see appendix 9). Analysis can be made
by combining both elements and themes. Sub cultures must also be considered.
28
Implementing cultural change, if that is the intention of the program, is notoriously difficult.
There is considerable debate among organisational psychologists as to whether it is
manageable at all. The objective/subjective debate.
McGraw (1993, pp72) considers that without consideration of these wider processes “OMD
programs will probably provide manager development but not management development in
its fullest sense.”
3. Active participation of top management in the intervention.
A comprehensive list of reasons for lack of managerial support is given in Garavan (1991).
He considers it essential to secure top management support for training and development
activities, for them to be fully effective.
4. Create an organisational desire for development.
There are numerous personal reason that can result in an unmotivated participant, they
include; fear of the unknown, fear of failure, lack of self esteem.
McGraw (1993 pp56) feels that most can be overcome by ‘adequate pre-program briefing
and a good program design and delivery’. A particularly good illustration of this was a pre
course briefing by a provider company ‘changed the minds’ of three persons who, prior to the
briefing were adamant they would not attend at all.
5. Skills developed must be relevant to workplace and be encountered by the delegate at
work.
6. Positive support
Support for new skills (by appraisal, reward and feedback) in the workplace. The
stereotypical differences between Organisational Development and Experiential Education
(OMD) are described by Flor (1991). The main differences are, the long term nature of the
OD process, the effect of OD on the organisation as a whole, and the emphasis of OD on
changing organisational culture.

Levelling claims made about OMD


Terms such as levelling, neutralising are used to suggest that any prior knowledge or learning
will not affect the performance of individuals on OMD courses, or provide any individual an
advantage.
Jones (1993) suggests however that even a slight technical knowledge relevant to the task
will give a delegate an advantage, thrusting them into the leadership role or distort the power
balance. It may be that even a perceived knowledge can have this effect, causing the delegate
to assume or be delegated to the role. .
Dainty & Lucas in contrast consider that it is by removing participants from the work
environment that; they are then unable to ‘hide behind organisational and educational norms
in an environment where they no longer exist’; their behaviour, and consequence of it is then
visible for tutors and participants to observe, thus providing discussion points for the review
(process) session.
It must be considered though, that as training via OMD is largely justified by its ability to
bring about process learning then this inequality with regard to task may be considered as a
minor criticism.

Participants on such courses will undoubtedly have considerable process knowledge


differences by virtue of their past experience. If we accept that process skills learnt on OMD
courses can be transferred to the workplace then it is hard to argue simultaneously that such
transfer does not operate in the reverse.
These differences are taken to the OMD situation by delegates and therefore negate claims of
‘a level playing field.’ Boud et al (1993; 8) further negate the ‘level playing field’ argument;-
“Learning always relates, in one way or another, to what has gone before. There is never a
29
clean slate on which to begin; unless new ideas and new experience link to previous
experience, they exist as abstractions, isolated and without meaning.”

The popular belief that the high process reality, stressful environment and novel tasks of
OMD can facilitate organisational change is further doubted. If existing behaviours, imported
into the OMD program by metaphorical transfer are used by a participant and are perceived
by them to be successful; then the OMD may actually serve to reinforce existing behaviours.

The issues highlighted in this section have a major impact of the effectiveness of the
intervention. Earlier sections have indicated other factors of influence. Assessment of the
effect overall is considered below.

Assessing the Effectiveness of Training


This section looks at the intricacies of the validation and evaluation of training, the different
methods and depths of its measurement and some of the difficulties, particularly in relation to
management training. It also looks at the use of such information obtained. Consideration is
given to the meaning of effectiveness and the ways in which training effectiveness can be
assessed.

Definitions
Evaluation
“The assessment of the total value of a training system, training course or program in social
as well as financial terms. Evaluation attempts to assess the overall cost benefit of the course
or programme and not to just measure the achievement of its laid down objectives.” (UK
Dep’t of Employment Glossary of Training Terms)
Validation
“1. Internal Validation. A series of tests and assessments designed to ascertain whether a
training program has achieved the behavioural objectives specified
2. External Validation. A series of tests and assessments designed to ascertain whether the
behavioural objectives of an internally valid training program were realistically based on
accurate initial identification of training needs in relation to the criteria of effectiveness
adopted by the organisation.”
(UK Dep’t of Employment Glossary of Training Terms)

Information systems
“Information systems on training are vital but neglected. It is necessary to demonstrate to line
management that the training department adopts a hard approach, and also to obtain
information for control purposes” (Sloman 1994)
Such information is necessary for cost control, and to facilitate decision making by both line
management and the training manager in respect of training initiatives and their justification
in financial and results terms.

Evaluation and Validation


Evaluation is a key aspect of any systematic approach to training. There is an increasing
focus on measuring the effectiveness of training. Government assessment of firms seeking
‘National Training awards’ and ‘Investors in People’ requires such measurement to be part
of the training system of the organisation.
The possession of these awards by one Management Development Provider was quoted as
being one of their ‘Unique Selling Propositions’
Hamblin (1974) does not accept the definitions given above from the dept of Employment,
but includes validation within his definition of evaluation. He postulates that it is impossible
30
to measure the total value of a training system. He also considers the definition of validation
is too narrow and should be extended to include ‘both the anticipated and unanticipated
effects, and both the desirable and undesirable effects on a training program’ (pp8)
Hamblin (pp8) defines training as “Any attempt to obtain feedback on the effects of a training
program, and to assess the value of the training in the light of that information”.
Hamblin concentrates, not on the distinction between validation and evaluation but on the
levels of evaluation shown in the diagram below.

Perceptions of Effectiveness
Effectiveness can be considered at various levels, individual, organisational and at industry
level. There are two broad approaches according to Ryan (1992), the universalistic and the
contingency view. The first suggests that ‘certain characteristics or activities will lead to
effective operation regardless of the circumstances’. The contingency approach, ‘suggests
that characteristics or activities leading to effective operation are context specific.’

The assessment of effectiveness


essentially lies in 3 streams of thought,
Goal Based;-
very much assessed on the goals set by those with power in the organisation and not
necessarily of maximum overall benefit to all stakeholders.
Systems based;-
which introduces the debate about whether, and to what extent does the organisation form
part of a larger picture, recognising interdependence within a wider social system.
Multiple constituency;-
views are an extension of the systems approach, here it is considered that the organisation
must to an extent “satisfy the criteria for effectiveness of those groups and individuals upon
whom it primarily depends. (Ryan 1992)
The effectiveness issue relates to my research when making comparisons between
organisations, whether as providers of, or purchasers of management development courses in
that it is difficult to know whether you are comparing like with like.

“In accepting the political nature of effectiveness it can be seen that it depends on the values
of the assessors”. (Ryan 1992)

Evaluation Frameworks
The most common evaluation framework used in the USA is by Kirkpatrick, and offers four
levels of evaluation (Sloman 1994)
Reaction - how well did training participants like their program?
Learning - what knowledge (principles, facts, techniques) did participants gain from the
program?
Behaviour - what positive changes in participants behaviour stemmed from the training
program?
Results - what were the training programmes organisational effects in terms of reduced costs,
improved quality of work, increased quantity of work and so forth

Evaluation can be undertaken at each of the levels, the most superficial, Reaction, being the
easiest to measure. Results, are the hardest to accurately evaluate due to the difficulty of
identifying and quantifying all other factors simultaneously affecting ‘results’
Evaluation methods by Hamblin (1974), Warr, Bird & Rackman (1970) are similar and
displayed in the table below from Stone (1988) figure 10.

Hamblin Kirkpatrick Warr, Bird and figure 10


31
(1974) (1967) Rackham (1970)
Level 1 Reaction Reaction Reaction
Level 2 Learning Learning Immediate
Level 3 Job Behaviour Job Behaviour Intermediate
Level 4 Organisation
Level 5 Results Ultimate
Ultimate Value

Evaluation methods
There are three main approaches to evaluation, though most commentators utilise a
combination of all 3,
Measurement,
Key features of which are, integration, clear and unambiguous goals and testing before and
after the event.
Intervention
Practical difficulties have led to more sophisticated methods of evaluation. There is an
evident problem of demonstrating clear links between training objectives and organisational
goals, particularly management training. (Sloman 1994).
This perspective regards evaluation as an important part of organisational intervention with
the ability to deliver a variety of effects beyond the training goals

Easterby-Smith (1993) identifies four general purposes of evaluation;-


Proving- demonstrating conclusively that something has happened as a result of training and
development activity
Improving- trying to ensure continuous improvement in training
Controlling- ensuring that trainers and courses are operated as intended
Learning- which treats evaluation as an integral part of the learning process itself
This approach tends to place greater emphasis on how the information is used, evaluation can
assist in the learning process by reinforcing the training objectives (Sloman 1994)

Systems approach
Used to a large extent in the USA, (distinct from the systematic training model which treats
evaluation as measurement)
Use is made of multiple data sources in order to obtain a more rounded view, providing the
opportunity for developing wider support for the evaluation findings

Problems of Evaluation
Evaluating training, particularly management training poses problems, in part due to the
variety in the management role. In contrast, for the operative with a repetitive task output is
easily quantifiable, consequently increased output as a result of training relatively easy to
measure.
Within management roles there is much more scope for an individual approach, there is no
single correct way. Training is likely to consist of the consideration of alternative approaches,
therefore evaluation can not rely on the observation of specific change in a managers
behaviour. It is therefore much more difficult to accurately gauge.
The manager may be prevented from practising what was learnt by the ‘Leadership and
organisational climate (Warr et al 1970)
A manager is not in direct control of the out put of his department in that the performance of
his subordinates is not directly controllable by him.

32
FIELD RESEARCH
By this stage the providers had identified companies who would be receptive to the research
in order that specific information could be elicited by the researcher in relation to the
particular course and organisation. This section details interview proformas and the method
by which they were undertaken.

Interview Stage
Interviews were conducted in person, answers were written by the interviewer onto the
standard proforma’s. A Dictaphone was available at all interviews for use where it became
clear that answers were going to be elaborate and to write in long hand would have required
interrupting the interviewee.

Interviews were conducted in order, Providers, then OTM’s and lastly Delegates. This order
was maintained in each case as information provided at each stage was used at each
successive stage, for example; details of the particular tasks were obtained from the providers
and used so that the interviewer would understand the later discussions with the delegates.
Anonymity was guaranteed to each interviewee, in an attempt to ensure honest answers were
given to the questions put.

Interview Proforma Design


The interview proformas (see appendices 1,2,3), were designed to give some quantifiable
results from what is mainly a personal, subjective experience. However, some questions were
designed to recognise the value of individuals interpretations and experiences. In total 6
proformas were designed, one for each of ;- Provider; Organisation training manager (OTM)
and Delegates. A slight variation of each was designed to take account of those that had
been involved with Outdoor Development on Yachts.

Interview Proformas
For fuller summary of the questions asked see appendix 10.
OTM PROVIDER DELEGATES TYPE OF QUESTION
1 Job title at time
1,2 1,2,3 2 Identification of training needs
3,4,5,7 4,6,7 3 Design & plan of training
6a,6b 5 5,6,7,8,10,11 assessing course effectiveness
9 personal view of type of course
8,9 unique selling proposition
8 10 4 learning styles
15 aware of importance of facilitation
9a,b,c 16a,c,d implementation of training
10 ambiguity and change
11 11 seeks negative comments on t’ng
12,13,14 12,13,14 task, environment, process known?
15 17 12 comments invited re the alternative (on yachts)
16 any other comments
figure 13

33
RESULTS
The results are detailed under Provider, Organisation Training Manager and Delegates.
Results as they relate to particular training interventions, i.e. individual courses and the parts
played by the Provider, OTM and Delegates will be highlighted in the discussion section.
Providers
Five Providers of Outdoor management Development were interviewed. All five were
actively involved in the provision of management development on land. Two of them were
interviewed specifically because of their past experience of providing such courses on yachts.
Questions asked of these 2 groups, providers of solely land-based courses and providers of
courses on yachts are shown in appendix 1.

Their answers given to the questions are shown collectively where answers illustrate no
differences between land-based and yacht-based courses.

Providers
1. How were the organisations needs identified ?
40% provide a full consultancy service
20% do no consultancy re needs identification at all
40% undertake limited consultancy work, generally using the clients own analysis.

2. How were delegates needs identified ?


40% use their own pre-course questionnaire
60% base their courses on needs identified by the organisation’s trainers.

3. What training needs were identified ?


20% identified needs in terms of ‘knowledge, skills, and attitude.
80% identified needs in terms of the objectives listed at Question 9
4. How did the course link to those objectives ?
All providers used the Kolb learning cycle and designed the course to suit identified needs

5. How were changes in delegates performance followed up post-course ?


60% do no follow up, leaving it to the client organisation
20% by posted questionnaire
20% by on-site reviews after 8 week ‘cooling period’

6. How was the course structured ?


60% on the Kolb cycle, one emphasising non-competitive, non-individualistic aspects
20% used Belbins team roles to allocate tasks
20% on the Kolb cycle with the ‘back-loading of theory

7. What alternatives were considered ?


60% (the land-based providers) considered different land-based tasks
40% (the sailing providers) considered using land-based courses

8. What makes the course effective ?


no groupings were identified among the answers, yachting/land providers are listed
separately
34
Land-based - delegates have ownership of the course, they set the pace and raise issues
- outdoor tasks are more memorable than conventional mediums
- neutral environment
- opportunity to experiment and articulate learning
Yacht-based - out of normal environment
- total interdependence on others for some tasks
- fitness not an issue

9. What is the ‘Unique Selling Proposition’ (USP)?


One firm offered refunds if the course did not facilitate positive change on agreed objectives
One quoted Investors in people, National Training award and ISO 9001 awards
Others quoted were, professional staff, price, location, bespoke training.

10. What consideration is given to individual learning styles ?


60% gave no consideration
40% quoted the use of a range of delivery methods and considerations given when
designing course tasks.
On yachts one considered that there was inadequate time for the reflective stage/style

11. Are you aware of any limitations to the effectiveness of outdoor development ?
Peoples’ negative perceptions are a barrier. Emotional baggage- people who do not want to
be there bring their own restrictions to learning
‘Some abhor active experimentation’
One provider considered that it could not deal with long-term issues (1-3 years)
‘Reflection can not take place in high adrenaline situations’
Exercises can be time consuming.

12. How relevant are the actual tasks themselves, in achieving the course objectives?
All providers appreciated the importance of tasks being designed to allow metaphoric
transfer of process issues via facilitation, back to the workplace.
The actual task completion was recognised as being irrelevant by only one provider
who emphasised that only the processes used were relevant.

13. How important do you consider the outdoor environment to be , in achieving the course
objectives ?
All considered it important, for the following reasons;-
Yachts - effective at ‘real-time’ team-building
- different, in that some managers will already have ‘outdoor developed’ so yachts
can be a new environment
General- stimulating - away from the workplace - neutral ground

14. How important is the facilitation process of the program in transferring course learning
back to the workplace ?
All considered this vital ‘otherwise it becomes just a day out, and is soon recognised as such
by the delegates’
15. What style of facilitation was used on this particular course ?
None considered facilitation in terms of ‘degree of intensity’, but summarised by one as a
combination of;- Experience; Express; Examine; Explore.
16. In respect of the list below :-
The courses analysed varied in their objectives but all providers noted their ability to target
all the objectives listed. In addition, Attitude, Creativity, Understanding team roles and
problem solving are also objectives developed by some providers.
35
Awareness (self and others)
Coaching
Communication
Decision making
Effective delegation
Leadership
Managing ambiguity and change
Motivation
Team building
Culture change

17. What comments do you have about the effectiveness of this type of course being run on a
sailing yacht ? (asked of land -based providers)

Positive observations
- a new experience - inspiring - needs teamwork
- specific skills taught can be used to facilitate communication and coaching skills
- no escape, have to work together, - can be seen as a reward
Negative observations
- tasks too long - seasickness - can not stop instantly for reviews
- safety - cost - qualifications needed
- uncertain weather - limited tasks - insurance
- time wasted learning specific skills not transferable to work
- proximity, shared facilities/domestic arrangements
- yachting environment less controllable than land
- sailor may not benefit from experience

Organisation Training Managers


General information about the companies employing the OTM’s.

Mortgage Services
A separate entity within a Clearing Bank, employing XX staff. It operates a centralised HRD
function which is responsible to the head of mortgage operations. Training budgets are
‘owned’ by individual work units who use the training department as a resource.

Defence
An international market leader in defence systems, involved in purchase and supply world-
wide. It employs XX staff, many operating in advanced technology on secret projects.
A HR director controls the HR functions, of which learning and development is one. This
function splits into three aspects; further education, technical skills and personal skills.

Telecommunications
Is part of an American owned international operating within the UK. The company is
focusing on core competencies of the company as a lead supplier to the telecommunications
industry. They work predominately in project teams focused on current and future customer
needs. HRD is the responsibility of the senior quality manager, to whom the training
department reports. Line managers own their training budgets with HRD dept as advisors.
36
There is an additional responsibility shared by HRD, they advise in the adaptation of
corporate initiatives from America to suit the UK culture.

Estate Agents
Are a chain of 12 estate agents, employing 175 staff. The company is market leaders in their
house range (£25- £60,000). It is wholly owned by a mortgage company.
They are profit led in that they are required to return 10% profits on investment. They
additionally generate £40-45 million in mortgage business for their parent company per year.
The deputy MD controls, and has a particular interest in training and deals directly with
managers to identify needs at a ground level

Recruitment services
A recruitment consultant in the UK. Highly fragmented, price sensitive, competitive industry.
A personnel manager is on the board, the T&D manager reports to the PM. The personnel
manager owns the training budget.

The environmental conditions with regard to a PESTLE analysis, within which these
companies are operating are similar. Distinctions evident, are the relatively low tech of both
the estate agency and recruitment services, coupled with their lower profit margins. Defence
and telecommunications are both in sophisticated, high tech and high profit margin business.
banking lying between these two groupings.
All the companies researched had both a training strategy and a written training plan.
Training budgets varied per person per annum, from £200 to £2,000. All the companies have
been using Outdoor Management Development for over 5 years, and general management
development for over 10 years. In each, the line units controlled the training budgets with
development staff acting as advisers

1. How were the training needs identified on this occasion,


a) for the organisation ?
40% no formal analysis
60% identified by department head
b) for the delegates ?
20% no formal analysis
60% pre-course questionnaire
20% questions of subordinates and peers

2. What criteria were used for selecting delegates ?


60% group/team focus
40% self selection

3. What other training options were also appropriate for identified learning needs?
20% incorporated OD as part of a training package (which included class work)
20% considered it to be the only option for targeting ‘trust, change and ownership’.
60% on-site training as occasional alternative

4. Why did you choose Outdoor Management Development on this occasion ? and in
particular, this kind of OMD ? (some expressed more than one reason)
2 away from the office is more effective
4 the course seen to meet objectives (one considered it the only option)
2 these courses identify ‘deeper issues’

37
5. Did Outdoor development tackle ‘pressing business initiatives’ ? What are/were they ?
(some expressed more than one reason)
2 shared vision among team; 2 tackling personalities within team;
1 ambiguity of roles; 4 teamwork on strategic projects;
1 change; 1 ownership; 2 communication

6. How has the effect of the course been measured :-


a) within your organisation/department ? (e.g. cost benefit analysis )
40% debriefing of staff attending
60% none formally (improved soft skills mentioned by one)
b) for the individual delegates ?
40% none
20% post course questionnaire
40% debriefs

7. What input (if any) did you have on course design


40% only regarding the length of course (course selected because of its content)
20% extensive, in relation to task, review and theory
40% accurate briefings as to desired outcomes (method left to provider)

8. What consideration was given to individual learning styles ?


100% none given in the selection stage
(40% considered that this type of course can be designed to cater for all styles)

9 In respect of the list below :-


a) On this occasion, what outcomes did you intend as a result of using Outdoor Development
(place a tick in column a against any that apply)
b) Which of these do you consider that the Outdoor Development course has dealt with
effectively on this occasion ? (place a tick in column b for any that apply)
c) Would you consider using Outdoor Development to address any of the list below in the
future (place a tick in column c against any that apply)
Please add to the list, any skills or organisational objectives that you feel are missing

a b c
Awareness (self and others) 4 4 5
Coaching 1 1
Communication 4 5 4
Decision making 4 4 5
Effective delegation 2 1 4
Leadership 3 4 5
Managing ambiguity and change 1 1 4
Motivation 4 4 5
Team building 5 5 5
38
trust noted by OTM 1 1 1
Culture change 2 2 2
forward looking noted by OTM 1 1
fun noted by OTM 1 1
supporting noted by OTM 1 1 1

10. Do you see any links between Outdoor development scenario’s and the task of managing
ambiguity and change ?
100% saw a link. ’changing plans can be built into tasks, scenario’s change quickly’
‘some tasks are ambiguous, so can the brief’

11. Did you have any concerns / reservations about using the outdoors as a learning
medium ? What are they ? (some expressed more than one concern) ;-
1 injuries;
2 fear of the unknown;
1 psychological damage
3 none

12. How relevant do you consider the particular tasks set in the outdoors to be, in achieving
the course objectives ?
1 2 3 4 5 6
1 3 1
Unimportant Essential

Why ? the general comment was that “it should relate to the objectives”

13. How important do you consider the facilitation process of the program in linking the
course learning to the workplace ?
1 2 3 4 5 6
2 3
Unimportant Essential
Why ? “It’s where people learn, and relate to work issues”

14. How important do you consider the outdoor environment is, in achieving the course
objectives ?
1 2 3 4 5 6
3 1 1
Unimportant Essential
Why ? “it allows the demonstration of mistakes clearly, its memorable, is back to basics with
no real risks to the end result”.

15. What advantages / disadvantages can you see in using sailing yachts as a venue for
satisfying these same course objectives ?
+ve comments
- self-esteem; - can achieve the same benefits; - have to learn to live together;
- more exiting, - more memorable; -more novel;
- ve comments
- additional costs; - less options for activities; - personality clashes, can’t get away; -
- lack of facilitation space; - size of yachts effects exercises; - seasickness

39
Delegates
1. What was your job title at the time of selection for the Outdoor development course ?
All delegates were 2nd level Managers or above, with one exception, a graduate apprentice.

2. How were you selected for the course


17% by personality, by manager
58% by being part of a particular team
25% self nomination

3. What briefing did you get about the course prior to your attendance on it ?
From the 1) Provider, 2) Organisation 3) Line Manager
67% met OTM and Provider together, for question & answer session, and subsequently
received written ‘joining instructions’ from their line manager.
33% met OTM and Provider, with no line management involvement

4. Please grade the following learning styles, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th where:-
1 = most accurately describing your learning style 4 = least describing your learning style
1 2 3 4 total rank
a) Activist ;- What’s new? I’m game for anything 7 1 2 2 23 1st
b) Reflector ; I’d like time to think about this 3 4 1 4 30 2nd
c) Theorist ; How does this relate to that ? 3 4 5 38 4th
d) Pragmatist ; How can I apply this in practice ? 1 4 5 2 32 3rd

5. How effectively did the facilitators relate course exercises / learning to work issues :-
not at all 1 2 3 4 5 6 very well
a) After each task 1 1 1 6 3
b) After each day 3 2 2 3 2
c) At the end of the course 1 3 1 3 2 2

6. Was participation in outdoor tasks effective in making the theory more memorable ?
not at all 1 2 3 4 5 6 very effective (than theory alone)
3 6 3

7. What links do you see between Outdoor development scenario’s and the task of managing
ambiguity and change ?
8 % saw no link
67 % recognised that courses can be designed to create such a link- large potential
25 % saw a link in their course by task design, and an emphasis on communication.

8. Whilst on the course which of your skills listed below do you feel were enhanced by
attendance on the course ?

40
The results below represent delegates estimates of their improvement made in the particular
areas as were entered in box [C] on the completed questionnaires.
Estimates were graded 1-6 where 1 = no improvement, 6 = a vast improvement
1 2 3 4 5 6
Awareness (self and others) 1 4 4
Coaching 1 2 4 1
Communication 1 2 3 6
Decision making 1 2 4 3
Effective delegation 2 1 3 1
Leadership 1 4 3
Managing ambiguity and change 3 2 1
Motivation (of others) 4 3 4
Team building 2 2 5 2

Culture change 1 1
Commitment 1
Time Management 1 2
Influencing 1
problem solving 1
interpersonal skills 1
9. What criticisms / praise do you have for this type of course ?
.-ve comments
- poor accommodation, - reduced effect on subsequent courses,
- the better the ‘team’ know each other the more course preparation is needed
+ve comments
- fun, - out of work environment, - seen as a reward, - thought provoking, - networking,
- get to know people quickly, - preferred to formal courses, - facilitates memorability,
- post-course debriefing adds to the effectiveness of the course
- ‘I pushed myself, doing more than I thought I was capable of. I took this back to work’

10. On return to the workplace were you able to apply the skills learnt on the course?
67 % Yes; illustrated by various examples depending on the style of course attended
33 % No; in some instances ‘too soon’. or -ve attitudes of peers/managers in workplace.

11. Please give details of three work situations which have been enhanced as a result of you
attending the course.
83 % gave specific work situations enhanced 17 % commented that it was too soon

12. Consider the possible differences between the course attended and a course with the
same objectives being run aboard a sailing yacht. What are your views ?
-ve comments
- seasickness, - may be seen as a sailing course, - limited tasks, restrict course design,
- danger of becoming too involved in the task, - more people may refuse to go
+ve comments
- great challenge, - can’t escape, must sort out problems, - very similar to land-based,
- on-watch requires trust, - rekindles the original (land-based) effect, - more intense,
- ‘same objectives will give same result’ (as land-based) this view was expressed by 30%.

41
Critique of methodology
In attempting to establish the effectiveness of existing outdoor management development
course in satisfying particular needs it has been necessary to look at the whole context within
which such courses are conducted.
An attempt is made to explore the suitability of yachts in this role by making comparisons
between land-based development courses, and the experiences of two land-based providers
who have previously provided development courses aboard yachts.
The initial aim had been to conduct similar interviews with providers, OTM’s and delegates
involved with courses aboard yachts. However, the provider company initially agreeing to
assist, subsequently ceased to provide such courses and declined access to any information.
The absence of an alternative provider willing to assist necessitated the approach detailed
above.

The distant locations of the researched companies, the difficulties in gaining access at all, and
the problems encountered in making interview appointments, have restricted the total number
of interviews undertaken in the three groups. Consequently the results must be viewed with
caution

My research looks at a range of objectives, one of which is team-building. It is interesting to


note, putting my efforts into perspective , that research by Wagner & Roland (1992) involved
6 organisations, and 80 courses, training over 1,200 employees over a 3 year period, to
adequately assess team-building alone.

42
DISCUSSION & CONCLUSIONS
Strategy-HRD-OMD connection
The framework proposed, was used in an attempt to identify strategy within each
organisation and to assess whether training undertaken at a later stage was linked in any way
to that strategy.
Due to the limited time available in interview with the organisation training managers it was
not possible to elicit extensive information on the various organisation’s strategies. The
training managers were the only source of information used.
60% of the training managers interviewed seemed to have a very limited knowledge of
corporate strategy. In part this may have been due to company secrecy. A reluctance to
divulge information may also have contributed to this impression.

In 60% of the organisations researched, needs appeared to be identified at a business or


operational level without apparently taking direct account of corporate strategy. If strategic
issues were not taken into account either by the training specialist or the department manager
requesting the training then it is a real possibility that training provided may actually widen
the gap between intended and actual strategy.

The following example illustrates the importance of matching training to strategy, and the
negative effects of failing to do so.
Within XXX, a very structured company with a clear socialised belief in conformance, was
the frustration commented upon by two delegates. Both had attended a course incorporating
empowerment, and the changing of mind-sets among other objectives. Both delegates were
enthusiastic following the course but became frustrated soon after return to the workplace
due to the corporate structure restricting the development of their ‘changed attitudes’ and
behaviours. In this particular example business managers had no input into the training and
may not have been receptive to the results of it.

It is important to note however that within the confines of an organisation’s structure, and a
belief in conformance, there is scope for individual discretion in relation to behaviour and
actions. An appreciation of the restricting effects of structure on a delegate’s ability to apply
learnt behaviours back in the work-place should influence the overall course design such that
the objectives are realistically useable on return to work.

Fredericks et al (1996) see management style manifesting as individual behaviours and


actions. Within two of the researched companies there was active involvement of, or input
from board level into the training/development function with the aim of influencing managers
behaviours and actions. Particularly noticeable in one of these was the commitment of the
delegates to the corporate goals.

Conclusion
To ensure the matching of training and development to corporate strategy it is vital that the
person/s making decisions as to appropriate training programs have an understanding of
strategic issues, and a particular knowledge of their own corporate strategy.
In instances where there is representation of the personnel function at director level then
communication of strategy to the training function should be in a way that its training
implications are understood.
Where external training is utilised or contemplated it would be a distinct advantage if the
providers had a good understanding of corporate strategy. This gives potential for the best

43
link possible between strategy and course design. It also provides a consultancy aspect to the
provider company which would be of particular benefit in the instances where the training
managers have limited experience of corporate strategy.

Training strategy/Business strategy link


Only limited information was obtained in relation to training policy formulation in my
research.
The information flows providing the link between corporate, business, and training strategies
were seen to be vital. In one company XXX the deputy managing director played a central
role in the identification of training needs. This provided in one person, the complete link
between corporate, business and training strategy. The result was an extremely effective
course, indicated by the ability of all delegates to apply their learning back at work, and a
continued and increased commitment to the company goals.

When a training need was indicated by a department/business manager, the means by which
that need had been identified was often not clear to the training manager. The general lack of
formal identification of training needs in these circumstances meant in most cases that the
link between training and business strategy was wholly within the subjective view of the
business unit manager.

It was impossible for me to identify in the time available, the strategic knowledge or
understanding of the managers concerned. The experience of the training manager involved
may have assisted his/her assessment of this in order to understand the strategic nature of the
training requested.
It is from the business manager’s understanding of corporate strategy that business strategy
will form. Their understanding to some extent is responsible for the emergent strategy that
contributes to realised strategy.

Conclusion
Successful training should align with business strategy. I have already indicated that it should
also align with corporate strategy. Business strategy should flow from corporate strategy and
should also be aligned, frequently they are not.
It is essential that the differences and their causes are identified. It may be a failure in
communications, a lack of understanding by business managers, or an emergent strategy
caused by changes in other extraneous factors.
In addition to the necessary understanding of the different approaches to strategic
management it is important that trainers take a proactive stance, representing personnel
issues by indicating the training implications of strategic decisions, rather than reacting to
those strategic decisions.

Training Needs Analysis


The general lack of analysis of organisational training needs at a strategic level prior to the
instigation of outdoor management development courses was evident. At the strategic level
therefore, my ability to establish the effectiveness of the OMD courses studied was severely
restricted.

At the job/occupational level, analysis was almost exclusively by subjective analysis by the
OTM or department manager. The level of understanding of strategic issues by the
respective OTM or manager making the analysis, and the extent to which he/she aligned their
department to that strategy become vital. The level of understanding becomes the tenuous
link between analysis of the two levels, in that both levels may be taken into account in the
subjectivity of the analysis of the business unit.
44
It was not clear whether analysis by subjective means was considered by OTM’s to be
sufficient. The issues focused upon tended to be ‘soft skills’, these are perhaps considered
‘difficult to quantify’. The difficulty, cost and time involved in completing a more accurate
analysis of needs were further possible reasons for more accurate analysis not being done.
Time was certainly an issue in several of the companies researched. OTM’s were extremely
busy and under pressure to supply courses.

There was more identification of individual needs than of strategic/ job needs. Their needs
were mainly identified by self-report questionnaires. Two considerations are necessary
regarding the questionnaire; first, a reluctance to be self critical. Second, it may well be that
delegates are not aware of their own needs. Both issues would restrict the analysis of needs.
Analysis by peers, subordinates and manager of the prospective delegate would be more
revealing, and was used by one company in identifying needs.

The ability to understand strategic organisational issues and the particular needs of the
individuals would make available a consultancy aspect from provider companies. Even if not
used in the consultancy role such knowledge would greatly enhance the potential
effectiveness of courses. This effect would be particularly noticeable where the facilitators of
courses had this knowledge, allowing them to relate more readily to them in the transfer of
learning. This has implications for facilitation, which will be discussed later.

The pre-course assessment of individual needs by the provider ‘in confidence’ may produce a
more accurate analysis by increasing the likelihood of honesty.
Use of questionnaires more sophisticated than those frequently used, to highlight needs that
the individual himself is unaware of.

Conclusion
The needs analysis existing, particularly at the individual level meant that the systematic
training cycle was able to be used. The eventual assessment of effectiveness however would
be limited mainly to the individual performance.
Failing to identify accurately the cause or extent of any problem at the strategic level and job
levels adds to the difficulty in measuring course effectiveness at the deeper levels of
‘behaviour and results’ as identified by Kirkpatrick (1967).
Provider companies should ideally be able to supply a consultancy service which includes
strategic needs analysis, continuing down to the job and individual levels. This ability may
then be utilised by OTM’s who simply do not have the time for detailed analysis but who
recognise its importance and may be able to budget for its completion.

Plan and Design

Compatibility with objectives


Training Managers in the organisations researched believed that OMD was the most effective
learning medium for achieving their specific objectives. Their belief was generally based on
previous experience of similar courses, comparison of results with more conventional
courses, and feedback from delegates.
In all instances there was an ‘identified’ need for group learning. Other course designs were
considered but the benefits of the experiential learning option were considered most
appropriate in these instances. Experiential learning is able to focus on group and individual
learning whereas traditional learning is focused more on the individual.

45
The input required from the training was more than simply knowledge. An understanding of
the processural issues underlying the objectives was also required.
The majority of delegates were managers and as such it was appropriate that their learning be
participative with the opportunity to reflect and decide for themselves

OMD was considered to have distinct advantages over the more traditional methods, on the
job training and planned organisational experiences. It allows active experimentation in a safe
environment where learning by mistakes can be encouraged, without the cost of real mistakes
to the business. It actively encourages learning beyond existing abilities and provides the
opportunity to concentrate on the objectives, away from other issues in the workplace. It was
considered that such courses could tackle ‘deeper issues’ (attitudes) affecting corporate
culture.

One provider of courses on yachts considered them inappropriate, and unable to supply the
variety and available in land-based courses. On examination of the course he operated it
seemed probable that the task design (see appendix 11) rather than the yachting medium was
the problem.

Available resources
An element for concern was the time wasted in travelling to OMD venues, particularly for
short courses. An advantage of yachts over land-based OMD courses is that they are mobile
and readily available for charter around the country, also many companies have access to
their own yachts e.g. through a company sailing club. Under such circumstances the
providers and facilitators could travel to a local marina chosen by the company seeking
training.

One training manager made a comparison of costs between a land-based course and a course
they held with the same objectives aboard a yacht. The comparison was made using a ready-
reckoner system where each item/member of staff utilised has a value allocated. Comparing a
3 day course in the Brecon Beacons at £400 per head against the yachting equivalent at
£380.

The absence from work of staff from the training department facilitating OMD courses is an
additional expense and extraction from the regular training duties. This can be avoided by
using a provider with facilitators experienced sufficiently to understand the strategic context
of the training and to competently facilitate the transfer of learning required.
Among the providers interviewed, only two employed individuals qualified to consult,
facilitate and supervise safety on tasks. The remainder split these functions among more than
one person. The ability for the facilitator on board a yacht to be proficient at all three
functions is essential due to restricted space.
The numbers of such suitably qualified persons on yachts is likely to be small, and therefore
restrict the total number that can be catered for at any one time.

Trainee related factors


Some concern was expressed by all parties in relation to trainee related factors. Unless these
are adequately addressed prior to a course it is probable that they will negatively affect the
success of the course.
Most can be dealt with either by open discussion at pre-course briefings, or by course design.
For example, those delegates who ‘abhor active experimentation’ may play little physical part

46
in a task and extra time should be considered for the other parts of the Kolb cycle to
compensate.

Poor standard of accommodation is perhaps one of the harder criticisms to resolve,


particularly on yachts. Single ‘rooms’ if required aboard a yacht would limit a 45ft yacht to a
course of about 6-8. Poor quality or inadequate quantity of food will also distract from
efficient learning.
Of the people interviewed, all expressed seasickness as a concern, yet only one actually
suffered personally, she said “ I’m seasick, but I’d give it a try definitely.”
Seasickness can be controlled to an extent; by keeping tasks under 3 hours in the early stages
(most land-based tasks examined were less than this), and by sailing in sheltered waters such
as the Solent.
Safety issues and insurance are of concern. The Royal Yachting Association in conjunction
with the department of transport operate a code of practice. Compliance with this contributes
to a relatively low insurance cost for training courses. (see appendix 12)

The close proximity of delegates aboard a yacht was expressed as both a positive and
negative aspect. It was thought to be benefit in the formation of teams. It may also assist in
self and other awareness, assisting to get to the underlying issues and also keep delegates ‘in
view’ of the facilitator. A negative aspects may be when personality clashes need space.
Individuals may also need space as a personal preference.
This can be controlled according to requirements, by providing ‘ashore time’ in the same way
that delegates on any land-based course usually have relaxation periods.

Conclusion
Land-based OMD is widely accepted as being able to facilitate learning on a wide range of
objectives, particularly
and is frequently used instead of the more traditional alternatives. The success of yachts as a
medium for learning the experiential way will greatly depend on the design of tasks in
relation to the learning objectives.
Trainee related issues such as seasickness, food, accommodation and safety are important
issues and will affect the success of a course. Potential problems should be discussed pre-
course and considered fully in course design.
Implementation of Training
The experience of training managers was instrumental in the decision to use OMD in the
specific instances studied. In all instances the training manager considered the use of other
learning mediums but decided that OMD was the most effective available to meet the
objectives identified, inmost instances a theory input was provided in an indoor setting.

Task/activities set
The style of implementation of training varied considerably between provider companies, in
part due to the portfolio of tasks they possessed, and part due to the requirements of the
customer organisation. For most, the ‘tailoring of courses’ meant simply selecting the most
appropriate tasks from the portfolio. The portfolios having been accumulated over a period
of time and refined such that they now collectively cater for all the objectives targeted by
OMD.

The challenge aspect of a physical task in a harsh environment coupled with a high perceived
risk may succeed in boosting managers confidence to overcome difficulties in the workplace.
Any relationship between such achievements and improved effectiveness remains hidden, i.e.
increased confidence does not necessarily mean increased ability. In the courses studied,

47
providers emphasised that generally such extremes in task and environment were
inappropriate.

Some of the tasks were able to illustrate more than one of the objectives and so focusing on
any particular aspect was a role for the facilitator. It was clear though from the delegates
answers, that the tasks highlighted different objectives for different individuals. This may
have been due to the particular role they played, or on the objective they were focused on at
the time. It is an illustration of how people learn differentially.

Due to the limited use of yachts in OMD, there is no established portfolio of tasks, they
therefore need to be specifically designed for objectives set. This is a positive aspect,
particularly as there are concerns that some land-based tasks are becoming ‘old-hat’.

In the instance where yachts were used by XXX, straight-forward tasks (see appendix 13)
appeared to satisfy the main processural objectives of communication , team-building and
leadership. These tasks were part of a program leading to a complex type 4 task of Tuson’s
(1994) task classification model. It may be that the task designed by the XXX (appendix 11)
may have been more appropriately used at this stage in a course.
Answers given in relation to questions on task design indicated that providers and OTM’s
recognised the importance of task construction such that it allows a focus on the objectives
set. ‘Off the shelf’ tasks were mostly selected to do this. Tasks must also be able to reflect
situational aspects of the delegates work. This generally requires some task/scenario design
or adaptation, to aid delegates relate learning from the task back to the workplace by using
metaphorical transfer.

Providing these aspects are satisfied then it does not matter what the actual task is. Accepting
that this is so then yachts have the potential of providing such tasks for this learning process.

What was not witnessed in the structure of any of the courses was a linking of tasks to each
other with a theme, towards an overall objective in the outdoor setting. This linking, even if
done on land may fail to have the impact of a yacht-based course. On land most situations are
contrived whereas on yachts this is not necessarily so. “The issues are real, the boat is real,
and so are the rocks” (Cotton, 1996).

Total involvement in the task itself however can be counter productive in that the success or
failure at a task is relevant, only in as far as it illustrates the effectiveness with which the
processural issues have been applied. The ability of a facilitator to keep these processural
issues ‘in focus’ is fundamental, as is the ability to relate back to the workplace.

Individual tasks on a yacht can be designed to link together, culminating in the efficient
operation/direction/management of a yacht. (though sailing ability resultant from the course
remains wholly a side issue). This design can be related metaphorically to an individual’s
actions and how they can ultimately affect the whole organisation, providing delegates with a
greater sense of contribution to strategic issues.

The link to overall strategy provides an additional level to metaphorical transfer only
available on yachts. If the absence of strategic needs analysis mentioned earlier can be
remedied by consultancy, or by the development of more strategic awareness at the OTM
level then there is potential for yachts to offer a new dimension in the focus and metaphorical
transfer of OMD on strategic issues that is not possible on land-based courses. Isomorphic
transfer at this level gives the opportunity of an additional point of reference for participants

48
(see Kirk 1986), and an additional level to which participants can attach personal meaning
McGraw (1993).

One provider company XXX focused on self/other awareness before continuing with other
objectives, using high intensity review. Results showed that their methods were particularly
effective. This view is reinforced by Dainty and Lucas (1992) who stress that only by first
utilising high intensity review (high impact in Wagner et al (1992) terms) to increase
delegates self/other awareness can you then go on to effectively tackle other development
issues. If Dainty & Lucas are correct then the reason Wagner et al (1992) did not see
individual behaviour changes in the courses assessed was due to the low intensity review
process.

Conclusion
There is potential for yachts to offer a new dimension in the focus and metaphorical transfer
of OMD on strategic issues that is not possible on land-based courses.
Task design has been a limitation on the use of yachts in the OMD role to date
Self and others awareness should generally be an initial element of OMD courses.

Facilitation Process
Questions asked of the providers and OTM’s indicated that they considered the facilitation
process to be vital to the effectiveness of OMD. Facilitators, on occasions found it necessary
to interrupt a task to re-focus delegates on the processural issues. The ability to stop for a
review instantly is vital, yet often impractical on a large traditional yacht, unless a full
professional crew is provided (expensive). On a simply rigged (sloop) boat this is possible
(by heaving to), and can be done in seconds. The choice of size and ‘rig’ of a yacht is
therefore crucial in this respect.
“..the boat doesn’t just stop because you think its time for a review” (Cotton 1996), in
reference to a 70ft ‘gaff rigged’ yacht.
Task memorability is an advantage professed, and generally accepted of OD, yet the task is
only the learning medium. Rarely mentioned explicitly and perhaps taken for granted is that
by remembering the task, the process by which the task was undertaken will also be
remembered. I am not convinced that this is automatically so, but feel that the facilitation of
the course is crucial in ‘attaching’ learning to the memorable event.

According to delegate’s responses, providers varied in the quality of the facilitation supplied.
This variation may also have reflected delegate’s different learning styles and their
preferences for different stages of the Kolb cycle. It was clear however that some individuals
lacked experience as facilitators and were qualified mainly for the outdoor pursuits aspect of
their role.
This lack of experience could have serious implications for a course, greatly affecting the
amount of learning transfer, particularly in tasks within Quadrants 3 and 4 of Dainty &
Lucas’s model (1992), arguably the most important areas.

Conclusion
Facilitation is a crucial apect of OMD courses. The ability of a facilitator to ‘attach’ the
process learning to the memorable event is fundamental to the success of a course. The
ability to adjust the facilitation style to suit individuals’ particular needs, and to match
intensity of review to a particular desired course outcome are also vital.
It is also the facilitator who enables metaphorical transfer. It is their observations during
tasks that provide the opportunity for discussion during task reviews.

49
Course Outcomes
The course outcomes, as described by Dainty & Lucas were evident in my research. The
quadrants certainly do not seem to be mutually exclusive, but I consider them to be a reliable
guide to advise the structuring of courses.

Kolb Learning cycle


The Kolb cycle was used extensively in all the courses researched. It is a well tested base for
experiential learning. The outdoors exercises provide the opportunity for concrete
experiences and the testing of concepts in new situations. What is essential is adequate input
by facilitators in terms of theory and actual facilitation to complete the cycle.
It was noted that one provider on yachts considered that the ‘adrenaline rush’ following the
‘concrete experience’ on a yacht prevented the focus of delegates on the observation and
reflection stage. I consider that the difficulty on a yacht following a task is the difficulty in
removing the delegates from the proximity of the task. It may be necessary therefore to
consider the use of a land-based classroom facility, or certainly to create a situation on the
yacht where delegates are focused on the reflection stage. A mini projector and screen in the
‘lounge area’ may be an appropriate tool to use, isolating sailing during the reflection stage.

learning styles
Most OTM’s and providers felt that the OMD courses could cope with all learning styles. If
OMD can cope with all styles, and a variety of style preferences are represented on any
course, then it can only beby facilitation that allowances are made for individuals on a course.
Providers and Trainers should be aware of their own learning styles as it can affect the course
they design or the way they facilitate, in the emphasis they give to the different stages of the
Kolb cycle. I have identified my own learning style (see appendix 8), to be aware that it may
inform my opinion on OMD as a learning medium. Identifying delegates learning styles can
be a valuable exercise, helping them understand how they learn, and be informative for the
course facilitator.

Action Learning
Within OMD it is the facilitation that encourages insightful questioning of issues highlighted
in the task. Revans advocated action learning in relation to real issues, i.e. within the work
setting. It is seen as a learning process. For the action learning approach to be utilised on an
OMD course, clear use of metaphorical transfer must be made. If the link to work is not clear
then the benefits are lost. OMD can be used as an excellent illustration of, as Revans (1980)
stated of action learning “learning to learn by doing, with and from others who are also
learning to learn by doing. The essential aspect is the facilitation. The principles of action
learning in-part explain why delegates of OMD courses learn differentially, in that there is a
focus on the individual needs.
Conclusion
With careful facilitation OMD can be the medium for learning to learn.

Transfer of Learning
Without the transfer of learning OMD would not really exist, i.e. there would be no
management development. All that remained would be outdoor tasks, that could be fun,
enjoyable. The fun element, while an essential element aiding in the memorability of OMD
tasks, is only a small aspect of such courses.
The type of transfer required at any time depends on the objectives of the particular course.
Coaching was one course objective where specific transfer was apparent. Its use was limited,
it is likely that such learning is being done more cost-effectively using traditional venues.

50
Metaphorical transfer was identified by research as being the most important transfer method
used in OMD, by providing participant reality. An isomorphic link between course/task
design and the workplace is essential to enable facilitation to occur effectively. This is
generally done by providers. What was not identified was tasks linked by a theme towards an
ultimate aim that would be metaphorically transferable.
The final aim to sail a yacht could be so linked, by comparing aspects of sailing to
management units, and the aim of those units was the direction/control of the yacht. This
could provide the metaphorical link to the strategic direction of an organisation.
Those OTM’s unconvinced of a providers ability, to transfer learning by facilitation from
outdoor tasks back into the workplace are unlikely to use OMD.
Accepting that a course has provided the desired learning, research concurred with the
theory, namely that top management support was quoted by delegates as being an
encouragement to use course learning back at work. Lack of support caused disillusionment
and prevented the use of skills learnt.

Conclusion
The OD facilitator should be able to provide a consultancy service to ensure a congruence
between organisation culture and development intervention
Support of senior management and immediate manager is essential if learning is to be utilised
back at work.

Levelling claims about OMD


Both OTMs and Providers expressed the commonly held view that OMD is a ‘great leveller’.
In relation to process knowledge, e.g. of management skills, delegates attend a course with
varying degrees of such skills. Delegates abilities in relation to the tasks set may also vary.
There is no practical way to determine how these skills and abilities are spread among
delegates prior to a course. The differences may ‘balance out’ to provide a level playing field,
they may not. I prefer to consider that delegates arrive with different levels of expertise and
different needs. It is hoped that sufficient needs analysis has been done to ensure that those
on the course are able to benefit from it.
I further consider that delegates are able to learn differentially through the Kolb cycle and the
principles of action learning.
The real danger of a course reinforcing existing behaviours that are contrary to organisational
needs can only addressed by the design and facilitation of the course focused attention on
explicit organisational needs. The lack of identification of strategic training needs evident
pre-course creates a difficulty in this area.
Conclusion
Lack of strategic training needs analysis may provide insufficient course direction to prevent
courses reinforcing inappropriate needs.

Assessing the Effectiveness of training


Research showed that effectiveness assessment was being done by some providers and
OTM’s. The results were not made available. What was evident was OTM’s commitment to
this type of training as an effective means to tackling the objective being researched.
Belief in OMD’s ability to deliver effective learning seemed grounded in reports from
managers at occupation/job level, and delegates views.
By emphasising anonymity in my questionnaires I hoped to get honest answers from
delegates about courses. It seems unlikely that strong criticism of a course would be given to
an OTM, and instigator of a course. They might consider that such criticism would reduce
their chances of another course

51
OTM’s may have been reluctant to admit that objectives set for the course had not been
achieved. This would have been an admission of a mistake. The results obtained from
delegates however did support the OTM’s assertion that the courses were successful.
The answers given by delegates indicated that an effect at the ‘job behaviour level
(Kirkpatrick 1967) was noticeable. A short time lapse between courses and research was one
factor why no measure of effect at deeper levels was observable, or attributable to the
courses. OMD courses are a relatively small intervention considering all the other issues that
affect the deeper levels of evaluation.

Delegates considered that the outdoor tasks made the theory more memorable than if they
had received that theory input in a traditional manner. This is the only comparative data
between OMD and conventional methods obtained. It cannot be relied upon as anything
more than an indication that OMD may be the more effective but takes no account of cost-
benefit analysis. Subject to what has been mentioned previously with regard to task design,
yachts potentially are as effective, as land-based courses.

Conclusion
In order to assess the effectiveness of the training it is necessary to identify a start point in
terms of delegates skills. These skills should be considered in the light of strategic, job and
individual needs. Criteria should be decided, against which the delegates post-course ability
should be measured.

52
RECOMMENDATIONS
These recommendations follow on from the conclusions developed in the previous section.

Strategy-HRD connection
To ensure the matching of training and development to corporate strategy it is vital that the
person/s making decisions as to appropriate training programs have an understanding of
strategic issues. Where there is representation of the personnel function at director level then
communication of strategy to the training function should be in a way that its training
implications are understood.
I would therefore recommend that time is allotted each month for the discussion of strategic
issues between the director responsible for training and training managers. Training managers
should also receive training in strategic HRD issues, such as;-
Strategic Analysis
• the environment
• culture and stakeholder expectations
• resource and strategic capability
Strategic Choice
• identifying strategic options
• evaluating options
• selecting strategy
Strategy Implementation
• managing strategic change
• organising structure and design
• planning and allocating resources
(Johnson & Scholes 1989)
Other initiatives for the training manager to achieve this strategic linking should be
considered. These may include, the development of strategic alliances both internally and
externally in the development field, defining a power base for the training function,
heightening awareness of their availability as a resource, and as an information expert. The
development of a support network both within the organisation and externally will assist, as
will the development of a comprehensive evaluation framework for the training activities.
Successes in training matters should be communicated to the organisation and its directors.
This issue can be developed as a marketing skill internally or externally as marketing of the
training function. In so doing it is necessary to understand the organisations politics.

Where external training is utilised or contemplated it would be a distinct advantage if the


providers had a good understanding of corporate strategy. This gives potential for the best
link possible between strategy and course design.
I would recommend that providers develop an understanding of corporate strategy within
their organisation, to be able to advise training managers and provide a link between
corporate strategy and training objectives

Training-Business strategy link


In addition to the necessary understanding of the different approaches to strategic
management it is important that trainers take a proactive stance.
I would recommend that training managers should cultivate relationships with department
managers and other agencies, providing a service to them by assisting them in the
identification of business training needs. In this way it will be possible to identify of a range

53
of stakeholders that can be satisfied. It is essential that the training manager is aware of the
organisation’s business goals.

Providers where possible should liase with departmental managers and delegates to obtain a
full understanding of the environment in which the delegates operate. This will assist in the
matching of course programmes to business needs.

Training Needs Analysis


The needs analysis existing, was almost exclusively at the individual level. This meant that the
systematic training cycle was able to be used. The eventual assessment of effectiveness
however would be limited mainly to the individual performance.
My recommendations resulting from this are, that training managers, in conjunction with
business managers should establish a procedure to identify job and strategic needs.
Management competencies should be identified as a method of assessing needs. Such
identification will provide potential for management development rather than the mainly
manager development existing at present.
Provider companies should develop the ability to supply a consultancy service at all levels of
needs analysis.

Plan and design of training


Land-based OMD is widely accepted as being able to facilitate learning on a wide range of
objectives, particularly ‘soft skills’ and is frequently used instead of the more traditional
alternatives. The success of yachts as a medium for experiential learning will greatly depend
on the design of tasks in relation to the learning objectives.
I would recommend as imperative that facilitators should understand strategic, job and
individual issues relevant to a particular training intervention such that they are able to relate
processural issues highlighted in the tasks, by review, back to the work-place.
Facilitators should be further provided with a clear theoretical awareness of each objective of
OMD and with the skills to review tasks using varying intensity appropriate to the objectives
set and the needs of the delegates present.

I recommend that land-based providers develop an ability in task design such that they are
capable of matching business scenarios to allow metaphorical transfer. This ability will also
prevent tasks offered to customers from becoming ‘old hat’.
The combining of in-depth knowledge of the sailing environment, a full understanding of the
objectives targeted by OD and their relevance to strategic, job and individual needs is
recommended. From this combination, innovation in yacht-based task design should be
developed.
I recommend the exploration of task design on yachts; identifying a range and classifying
according to quadrants identified by Dainty & Lucas (1992) and Tuson(1994).

Trainee related issues such as seasickness, food, accommodation and safety are important
and will affect the success of a course. The effects of seasickness can be minimised by
keeping tasks in the early stages of a course to within 4 hours. Operating in sheltered waters
will further reduce the effects. Food and accommodation arrangements can be varied by
altering the type/size of yacht and crew used for any particular course depending of the
objectives of it.
The use/availability of shore based facilities such as class-room, dining and accommodation
should also be considered by a provider such that the broadest degree of flexibility will
increase their ability to satisfy training managers requirements.
Safety is of paramount importance. Sailing is considered to be extremely safe with more
people drowning in cars in the UK each year than drown in yachting related incidents.
54
Courses should be run on yachts of the RYA standard of ‘sail training vessel’. Crew should
be of at least ‘commercial Yachtmaster’, the standard required by the RYA of instructors in
recognised schools, for the teaching of the first two sailing qualifications.
Courses should be operated to the safety rules and standards required on RYA courses
I suggest that potential problems should be discussed at pre-course meetings with the
delegates. Sailing courses involving hours or days at sea are unnecessary and should be
avoided unless specifically requested by a customer company.

Implementation of training
• Training managers should seek to enlist the help and support of senior managers in the use
of OMD programs.
• Immediate managers of delegates should also be involved, by pre and post course
assessments, and with briefing and de-briefing of the delegates
• Training managers should attend a pre-course meeting 2-3 weeks prior to a course with
delegates and provider to discuss any issues raised by delegates, dealing with
preconceptions, fears held, and administrative matters.
• Post course meetings should be held as a follow up to the course in order to assist
delegates consolidate on the course learning and continue with their self-development.
• Senior managers should be invited to post course meetings and/or attend the final day of
the course to show support for it.
• The OD facilitator should be able to provide a consultancy service to ensure a congruence
between organisation culture and development intervention
The implementation of these recommendations will require additional resources in terms of
extraction’s from the workplace, additional charges by some providers, and the cost of
facilities in which to hold the meetings suggested.
Assessing the effectiveness of training
• To assess the effectiveness of the training it is necessary to identify a start point in terms
of delegates skills. Criteria should be decided, against which the delegates’ increased
ability should be measured.
• Post-course effectiveness should be assessed at all levels by the use of interviews or
questionnaires at 1, 3 and 6 month intervals.
• It is necessary that providers develop the ability to supply a consultancy service in this,
and other aspects mentioned earlier in my recommendations, as frequently training
managers had no time to undertake such tasks.

Personal
I will attend the Southampton boat show in September and attempt to identify any
organisations present who currently operate management courses aboard yachts, or who are
potentially suitable to operate such courses.

55
Further full-time studies October -December 96 for membership of the IPD and the
completion of a management report by March 97 provide the opportunity for further study in
this field.
• It is necessary to obtain experience in task/course design in general, such that I can apply
the principles to yachting tasks for management development. I have secured a provisional
work-placement within the training department of an organisation which will allow this
Oct-Dec 96.
• I need to gain further experience in the facilitation of management development courses,
linking learning to the processural and theory aspects of each OMD objective, including
that of learning to learn. Approaches will be made during October to contacts made
during my research to explore any opportunities that may exist.

Obtaining the experience detailed above will allow me to critically evaluate tasks designed for
use aboard yachts.
• .I intend to develop a range of tasks for use aboard a yacht and then implement a pilot
course, utilising the full model developed in my dissertation to identify the effectiveness of
the course. This should be ready for completion by July 97.

56
APPENDICES
Appendix 1 Providers Interview Proforma
PROVIDERS
1. How were the organisations needs identified ?

2. How were delegates needs identified ?

3. What training needs were identified ?

4. How did the course link to those objectives ?

5. How were changes in delegates performance followed up post-course ?

6. How was the courses structured ?

7. What alternatives were considered ?

8. What makes the course effective ?

9. What is the ‘Unique Selling Proposition’ (USP)?

10. What consideration is given to individual learning styles ?

11. Are you aware of any limitations to the effectiveness of outdoor development ?

57
Provider cont’d
12. How relevant are the actual tasks themselves, in achieving the course objectives ?
Please elaborate ;

13. How important do you consider the outdoor environment to be , in achieving the
course objectives ? Please elaborate ;

14. How important is the facilitation process of the program in transferring course learning
back to the workplace ?

15. What style of facilitation was used on this particular course ?

16. In respect of the list below :-


On this occasion, what outcomes did you intend as a result of using Outdoor Development
(place a tick in column a against any that apply)
Do you use Outdoor Development to address any of the list below ?
(place a tick in column c against any that apply)
Please add to the list, any skills or organisational objectives that you feel are missing

a c d
Awareness (self and others)
Coaching
Communication
Decision making
Effective delegation
Leadership
Managing ambiguity and change
Motivation
Team building

Culture change

Enter in column [d] the/a title of a task that you use to facilitate learning of the particular
‘skill’ shown in the left hand column.
Please supply details of the tasks listed, and of all tasks used on this particular course

17. What comments do you have about the effectiveness of this type of course being run on a
sailing yacht ?

58
Appendix 2 OTM Interview Proforma
ORGANISATION TRAINING MANAGER
General information about the company

What is the position of the training/HR department within the company ?

Who does the department report to ?

How long has the organisation been using OD ?

How long has the organisation been doing formal MD training

Who decided to use O.D ?

Who ‘owns’ the training budget ?

1. How were the training needs identified on this occasion,


a) for the organisation ?

b) for the delegates ?

2. What criteria were used for selecting delegates ?

3. What other training options/solutions were also appropriate for the identified learning
needs ?

4. Why did you choose Outdoor Management Development on this occasion ? and in
particular, this kind of OMD ?

5. Did Outdoor development tackle ‘pressing business initiatives’ ?


What are/were they ?

6. How has the effect of the course been measured :-


a) within your organisation/department ? (e.g. cost benefit analysis )

b) for the individual delegates ?

7. What input (if any) did you have on course design, (e.g. length, level of complexity,
amount of theory input, style of feedback, design of tasks)?

8. What consideration was given to individual learning styles ?


(e.g. course designed for them, or they were selected for the course)
9 In respect of the list below :-
a) On this occasion, what outcomes did you intend as a result of using Outdoor Development
(place a tick in column a against any that apply)
59
b) Which of these do you consider that the Outdoor Development course has dealt with
effectively on this occasion ? (place a tick in column b for any that apply)

c) Would you consider using Outdoor Development to address any of the list below in the
future (place a tick in column c against any that apply)

Please add to the list, any skills or organisational objectives that you feel are missing
a b c
Awareness (self and others)
Coaching
Communication
Decision making
Effective delegation
Leadership
Managing ambiguity and change
Motivation
Team building

Culture change

10. Do you see any links between Outdoor development scenario’s and the task of
managing ambiguity and change ?
[Change = unplanned change or change necessary due to unforeseen circumstances]
[Ambiguity = in the absence of all the desired information.]

11. Did you have any concerns / reservations about using the outdoors as a learning
medium ? What are they ?

12. How relevant do you consider the particular tasks set in the outdoors to be, in achieving
the course objectives ?
1 2 3 4 5 6

Unimportant Essential Why ?

13. How important do you consider the facilitation process of the program in linking the
course learning to the workplace ?
1 2 3 4 5 6

Unimportant Essential Why ?

60
14. How important do you consider the outdoor environment is, in achieving the course
objectives ?

1 2 3 4 5 6

Unimportant Essential

Why ?

15. What advantages / disadvantages can you see in using sailing yachts as a venue for
satisfying these same course objectives ?

16. Any other comments

61
Appendix 3 Delegates Interview Proforma
DELEGATES
1. What was your job title at the time of selection for the Outdoor development course ?

2. How were you selected for the course

3. What briefing did you get about the course prior to your attendance on it ?
a) from your organisation
b) From your line manager ?
c) From the provider company ?

4. Please grade the following learning styles, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th where:-
1 = most accurately describing your learning style
4 = least accurately describing your learning style
a) Activist ;- What’s new? I’m game for anything
b) Reflector ; I’d like time to think about this
c) Theorist ; How does this relate to that ?
d) Pragmatist ; How can I apply this in practice ?

5. How effectively did the facilitators relate course exercises / learning to work issues :-
not at all 1 2 3 4 5 6 very well
a) After each task

b) After each day

c) At the end of the course

6. Was participation in the outdoor tasks effective in making the theory more memorable ?
not at all 1 2 3 4 5 6 very effective

7. What links do you see between Outdoor development scenario’s and the task of
managing ambiguity and change ?
[Change = unplanned change or change necessary due to unforeseen circumstances]
[Ambiguity = in the absence of the full facts]

8. Whilst on the course which of your skills listed below do you feel were enhanced by
attendance on the course ?
Place a tick in box [A] for all those relevant
62
Please add to the list, any other skills that you feel were enhanced as a result of attending
the course.
[A] [B] [C]
Awareness (self and others)
Coaching
Communication
Decision making
Effective delegation
Leadership
Managing ambiguity and change
Motivation (of others)
Team building

Culture change

Please write in box [B], adjacent to the skill, the outdoor task that you felt most assisted in
the development of that particular skill. (the same task may appear more than once)

For each of the skills that you ticked in box [A], estimate your improvement in these skill
areas resulting from the course.
Grade your estimate on the scale shown below and enter it in box [C] adjacent to the
relevant skill.

no improvement 1 2 3 4 5 6 vast improvement

9. What criticisms / praise do you have for this type of course ?

10. On your return to the workplace were you able to apply the skills learnt on the course?
If Yes;- How ? If No;- Why not ?

11. Please give details of three work situations which have been enhanced as a result of you
attending the course.
1

12. Consider the possible differences between the course attended and a course with the
same objectives being run aboard a sailing yacht. What are your views ?

63
Appendix 4 Initial Letter to Companies

132 Manor Road North,


Thames Ditton,
Surrey.
KT7 OBH
Tel/fax 0181 224 6198

Dear Mr

We had a conversation recently at the IPD development show at Wembley, about


Management Development Training, In particular I mentioned my interest in ‘outdoor
development’.

To remind you, I am studying for an M.A in ‘Strategic Human Resource Management’, and I
have just begun the background reading for my dissertation, I expect this to take until the
end of April.

I am a full-time student at Thames Valley University (Ealing) and have recently been
‘medically retired’ from the Metropolitan Police due to a neck injury
I am researching ‘Strategic Organisational training needs’ Do yachts offer a new
dimension for development?
. My specific focus will be;-
i) to identify a range of outdoor learning strategies
ii) to establish the effectiveness of existing outdoor management development
courses in satisfying particular needs
iii) to explore the suitability of yachts in this role.

My research will involve structured interviews of the following groups;


a) Consultant/trainers who provide and facilitate development courses
b) Companies who have sent their employees for development
c) Participants on previous development courses

Would you consider allowing me to undertake any aspects of this research within your
company ?

In return I can ensure confidentiality, and full access to the findings of the research, which I
intend to be of practical use.

yours sincerely

Paul Ellis

64
Appendix 5 Organisation Culture & Management Style
Organisational Culture and associated management styles.
Reid et al (1992).

The Power-based culture


Training plans are likely to reflect attempts by those in power to improve the performance of
those who are not.
The People-based culture (consensus is prized)
Training will often reflect individual requests, including transfers, attachments, etc.
The Role-based culture (is bureaucratic)
Training systems dominated by written documents, standard courses for specific groups
The task-based culture
Training emphasis on the current work goals. Much group/team work toward common task,
so training often determined on a group basis.
The Quality-based culture
Training becomes part of the system, ‘quality education courses’. Quality improvement teams
(often with the aid of a consultant) devise new techniques.

Appendix 6 Benefits of OMD


Bank (1994, pp25) suggests the following benefits of OMD.

insight skills,
team-building,
development of communication skills. He also lists the following;
self development through personal audit
attitudinal change in the assessment of self and others
an antidote or cure for burn out
an experience in team-building
development of leadership
a living workshop on communication skills
an experience of dealing with change and uncertainty

Appendix 7 Learning Skills

The 14 learning skills identified by Mumford;-

The ability to;-


establish effectiveness criteria for oneself measure ones own effectiveness
identify ones own learning needs plan ones own learning
take advantage of learning opportunities review ones learning process
listen to others accept help
face unwelcome information take risks and tolerate anxieties
know oneself analyse what other successful performers do
share information with others review what has been learned

Appendix 8 Learning Style of Researcher


My learning styles
65
Activist
-
-20
-
-
-
-
-15
-
-
-
-
-10
-
-
-
-
-5
-
-
-
Pragmatist Reflector
| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |
20 15 19 5 0 5 10 15 20
-
-
-
-5
-
-
-
-
-10
-
-
-
-
-15
-
-
-

-20
Theorist-

ACTIVIST 10
REFLECTOR 18
THEORIST 15
PRAGMATIST 16

66
Appendix 9 Culture Diagnosis

Diagnosis of culture;-

A Focus on themes

degree of autonomy given to employees


degree to which productivity is encouraged
whether conflict is suppressed, or dealt with openly
degree to which information is shared or withheld
whether organisation’ is customer driven
extent of hierarchical organisational practices
whether innovation is rewarded
whether criticism or the organisation is encouraged or discouraged
level of employee participation in decision making
whether team work is encouraged, rewarded or emphasis on individual action
whether long term thinking is encouraged

Analysis by focus on elements, such as;

language,
stories,
behavioural norms,
managerial practices,
physical layout,
organisational beliefs.

67
Appendix 10 Summary of Interview Questions
Summary of questions in interviews
OTM interviews
The first page of the OTM proforma was designed to obtain information about the corporate strategy
and the strategic positioning of both the Human Resource Department and HRD within the
organisation.
Questions 1 and 2; related to the identification of training needs and selection criteria
Ques 3, 4, 5 and 7; to identify the reasons for choosing outdoor management development as opposed
to other training options, relating to the planning and design of training
Ques 6a and 6b; were put to see whether ‘in house’ assessment of course effectiveness had been
undertaken, to identify both organisational and individual performance.
Ques 8; to identify whether consideration was given in the planning stage to individual learning styles.
Ques 9a,b,c; relate to a list of objectives widely professed as being outcomes or OMD and looks to
the implementing of training, by identifying a) specifically the objectives targeted, b) the considered
success or failure of this course, and c) an opinion on their future likely use of OMD.
Ques 10; highlights the objective of increasing performance in ‘managing ambiguity and change.
Ques 11; seeks negative comments about using OMD as a learning medium.
Ques 12,13,14; break outdoor learning into task, environment and process.
Ques 15; seeks an opinion of the manager, in the light of his experience detailed previously, on the use
of yachts in the same role. N.B. for managers who have dealt with a course aboard yachts this
question is changed to obtain their view of land-based courses
Ques 16; provides an opportunity for any other comments
Provider interviews
Ques 1,2,3 ; enquire about training needs analysis
Ques 4,6,7; investigates training design and the flexibility of the providers portfolio
Ques 5; enquires of their post course assessment of course effectiveness
Ques 8,9; Course; Unique selling proposition
Ques 10; what consideration of individual learning styles
Ques 11; seeks negative comments on the effectiveness of such courses
Ques 12,13,14; break outdoor learning into task, environment and process
Ques 15; tests the awareness of the provider of the professed importance of the facilitation process
within OMD.
Ques 16a, c; to identify their intended outcomes for the particular course, and the objectives they can
target. The implementation of training
Ques 16d; to identify the actual layout of the particular course. Design/implement
Ques 17; seeks the professional opinion of the provider, in the light of his experience detailed
previously, on the effectiveness of yachts in this role. N.B. for managers who have dealt with
a course aboard yachts this question is changed to obtain their view of land-based courses.

Delegates
Ques 1; job title of delegate
Ques 2; relates to Training needs analysis
Ques 3; pre-course briefing, plan and design training
Ques 4; identifying individual’s learning styles
Ques 5,6,7,8,10,11; assessing the effectiveness of the training
Ques 9; personal view of course type
Ques 12; comparison sought between land-based and yacht based courses.

68
Appendix 11 Tasks Used By W Of E

Based on the Belbin Team roles, catering for a crew of 6 delegates

The Monitor/Evaluator
Tidal height calculations
Tidal rate calculations
Global positioning system
Radar

The Implementer
Passage planning
Provisioning the boat
Weather forecasts
Shift systems

The Shaper
Sail setting
Helming

The Co-ordinator
Collision regulations
Collision avoidance
Keeping watch
Pilotage

The Team worker


Safety
Man over-board routine
Communications
Depth of water

The completer
Navigation
Chart-work
Symbols and abbreviations

69
Appendix 12 Yacht Insurance

Insurance details for a yacht-based course

Under the auspices of such a RYA sailing school, the holder of a ‘Commercial Yachtmaster’
certificate may teach sailing to the level of ‘Day Skipper’.

The Day skipper qualification allows the holder to skipper a yacht in daylight in familiar
waters.

With a ‘commercial Yachtmaster’ in charge of a 45ft yacht the following details apply.
Insurance for operating management development courses are calculated below

location of sailing UK waters, including Brest-Elbe

Value of boat £ 100,000

size of boat 45ft

basic ins (including 1,000,000 passenger liability) 0.65% = £ 650

skippered charter 0.25% = £ 250


___
900

insurance tax 2.5% = 22.50

total £ 922.50

70
Appendix 13 Yachting tasks used by the M P

Yachting tasks used by one provider

Task 1
Tie a Reef Knot Time 20 mins
Team split in two, both halves are at either end of a long rope. They are joined to the rope by
their wrists. Discussion of how to complete the task must cease before they begin their
attempt. The reef knot must be tied in the rope section between the teams.

Task 2
Put up the main-sail Time 20 mins
Leader appointed.

Task 3
Find the depth of the boat keel Time 30 mins
equipment;
1 piece of rope, 1 buoyancy aid, pencil and paper. ( the yacht is 35’ long)

Task 4
Find height of mast
equipment;
pencil, paper, ruler.

Task 5
Man over-board

Task 6
Navigation exercise Time 1 hour
A to C via B in the shortest possible distance ‘over the ground’

71
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