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The meaning of training and development

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1. Introduction

Human Resource Management (HRM) is a distinctive approach to manage people. People make a business function efficiently and yet they cause the greatest difficulties. Especially in the new information-based economy, people, not physical assets, are now critical. But people, unlike coalmines and factories, cannot be owned. Organizations therefore must create an environment that makes the best people want to stay.

In this regard, Training and Development (T&D) can be the most important HRM function to treat people well and increase the competitive power for the organizations. Training refers to improving competencies needed today or very soon. In comparison, development refers to activities intended to improve competencies over a long period of time (Jackson & Schuler, 2003, p350-351). Training and development, although different from their focus, are of course closely related to influence the individuals and firms. In this respect lots of authors have paid more attention on this issue. Following, the papers open by a review of literature, and conduct critical review on TCL Corporation’s practice compared with the literatures.

2. Literature review

T&D’s primary, traditional roles have been to insure that the workforces are provided with the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to perform a given function well (Harrison, 1993) (Stone, 2002, p344-348) (Pinnington & Edwards, 2000, p186-190) (Price, 2001, p325).

To employees, T&D provide the means of maintaining their own competition by improving knowledge, skills and abilities (Lane & Robinson, 1995). To shareholders, T&D can be seen as foundation to meet the profit targets (Pfeffer & Veiga, 1999). Some benefits of basic skills training include increased productivity, higher quality products, reduced absenteeism, and increased commitment and job satisfaction (Washburn & Franklin, 1992).

In terms of some authors (Jackson & Schuler, 2003, p360-392) (Ivancevich &  Lee, 2002, p156-184), the HR managers should conduct T&D basically in four steps: needs analysis, designing program, implement the program, and evaluation. In tandem, some experts pointed out some relevant standpoints around the four stages.

(1) Needs analysis

The diagnosis of needs is a process of information gathering and analysis, and the many texts advocate a range of investigative techniques, such as organization analysis, operations analysis and staff analysis, for improving its effectiveness (Leat & Lovell, 1997, p143) (CSU material Topic 6). McCole, Morrow, Ponsonby and Kelly(2001, p90) stated that the decision to adopt new technology into existing processes usually could result T&D. Paton (1996, p11) put forward that training and development should be respondence to disaster stressors. Therefore, the need analysis must be conducted by the training department timely (Brinkerhoff & Gill, 1995). However in high effective training, it is carried out by the line managers.

(2) Designing and implementing program

The literatures suggested using internal and external trainers, on-the-job training and off-the-job training approaches, good location and instruction in training and development (Jackson & Schuler, 2003, p360-393) (Ivancevich & Lee, 2002, p156-184). However, Berge, deVerneil, Berge, Davis and Smith (2002, p43) recognized that well-designed instruction did not guarantee performance, and most HRD practitioners still spent the bulk of their time in the design and delivery of class-room-based training events. Grugulis (1998, p383) pointed out that the managers also strongly influenced the level of training available to others, since it could be often managers who arrange training for their subordinates. For true technology transfer to occur, “learning by using” (Rosenberg, 1982) has to result in the adaptation and applications practice. Mentorship is considered an important training and development tool in the academic literature (Hunt & Michael, 1983, p475-485), and is present as a formal program in many companies (Burke & McKeen, 1989, p69-76) (Klauss, 1981, p489-496).

(3) Evaluating the program

The main evaluation modules consist of product evaluation model, Kirkpatrick’s 4 stage model, and Warr, Bird & Rackham’s process evaluation model which is recently developed by Trapnell (CSU material Topic 6). Typically, only short-term reactions to training are assessed (Jackson & Schuler, 2003, p393). Traditionally, evaluation is usually conducted after the training. Based on Kirkpatrick (1975), the evaluation should assess reaction, learning, behavior, and result. Recently, the literature advocates putting the evaluation into the whole process (CSU material Topic 6).

3. The brief review on TCL

3. 1. The background of TCL

TCL Corporation is a comprehensive large-scale enterprise, which was established in Shenzhen city of China in 1981. TCL is well known in home electronics appliances industry and is one of the biggest color TV manufacturers in China. Its most popular products are color TV sets. At present, TCL has more than 2 thousand employees.

Through 10-year’s continuous efforts, TCL builds a steady and quality work team, and establishes an extensive nationwide sales and distribution network. At present, TCL employs hierarchical organizational structures. Under the CEO, TCL has 13 different departments, and HRM Department (HRMD) was created five years ago. Mainly, HRMD is charge for the whole business related to human resource. Since the end of 2002, TCL recognized the strong pressure from the new technology and other rivals, then began to carry out the new strategy to embrace the challenge. In order to associate with this situation, a training and development program was conduct in the end of 2003 (http://www.tcl.com/english).

3. 2. The findings

To compare TCL’s practice with academic literatures, there are some visible differences between them. Figure 1 briefly illustrates the comparison.

Figure 1 The differences between TCL’s practice and Literature

Process Literatures TCL’s practice

Needs Encouraging actively analysis Asked by other departments

Analysis Analysis by HR managers & Analysis only by HR managers

Line managers

Resource Has no the step Has the step


Designing & Hire internal & external trainers Only use internal trainers

Implementing Encourage using various methods Merely on-the-job training

program Various training models Informal model only

Evaluation Evaluation in the process Before training evaluation

After training evaluation

More evaluation models Simple evaluation model

Evaluation in-depth Only assess knowledge & skills

4. The review on the program of TCL

4. 1. Needs analysis

4. 1. 1 The comparison

The most significant difference in the step of needs analysis is that, the needs analysis was not initiated by TCL’s HR department timely. Usually, other departments suffer some problems in the operation process, and ask HR department for analysis of the reasons. However, as same as the literature’s standpoint, TCL also conducted the organization analysis, job analysis, and personnel analysis by HR department.

4. 1. 2 Discussion on TCL’s practice

(1) Organizational needs analysis

TCL did good organization analysis. Usually, after the problem occurs, the HR managers consider their company’s strategic direction through observation of report materials, versus employees’ performance to make a decision on training. If the problems occurred due to the business strategic direction, the entire employees will be trained after the new business strategies are set; if the problems occurred due to the problem employee/s, the managers will individually train in order to have skilled service at their finger ends.

At that time, TCL recognized that common color TV set would be improved to the Plasma-Display-Panel (PDP) TV set soon. However, the entire operator could not grasp the relevant knowledge and skills at that time. Hence, the line managers put forward this problem to the HR department. Under that environment, HR department realized that the related training and development program should be necessary for employees.

(2) Job analysis

A thorough job analysis with competency modeling provides the information required for job needs analysis (Freeman, 1993, p32). In this sector, TCL’s HR managers did not conduct well. They only simply analyzed the job, task, knowledge, skill, ability without specific content description and rating of importance, frequency, and difficulty of the task. As a result, nevertheless, TCL announced approximately10,000 hours of required training should be necessary.

(3) Person needs analysis

Person needs analysis identifies gaps between a person’s current capabilities and those identified as necessary or desirable (Jackson & Schuler, 2003, p362). TCL’s HR managers did quiet well in this field. They concerned employees’ basic skill levels, attitudes, and the work environment in determining if performance problems could be solved using training. At last, they believed that the ability, productivity, quality rate, and staffs morale could benefit from the T&D for the entire operators.

4. 2. Resources finding

4. 2. 1. The comparison

By now, most of the literatures don’t put the resource finding as the separate step. However in TCL, due to the population of the employees is consider large, the program should refer to lots of resources, for example, time, material, capital, etc. Accordingly, TCL had to regard it as a separate stage in arranging the relevant resource well.

4. 2. 2. Discussion on TCL’s practice

In a word, TCL had limited resources to implement the T&D program. The situation influenced the effects of the program at some extent.

Budget. TCL took out 2% of total employee’s salary annual for this training and development program.

Time. TCL mainly utilized the working time to train the employees. Besides, it also used thirty minutes before business hour to teach some knowledge.

Material. TCL used the new machines as facilities. The manual, internal news paper, relevant books and journals were used to coach.

Expertise. TCL had to find it from other companies. To solve this problem, TCL asked the machines suppliers to offer the related files.

4. 3. Program designing and implementing

4. 3. 1. The comparison

In this major sector, TCL’s performance was considerable different with the literatures. In order to save the resources, TCL only chose its managers as the program designers, and trainers. Likewise, it only adopted on-the-job training approach in the program. Besides, in order to access the program conveniently, TCL did not use the formal instruction and model to train subordinates. In contrast, the informal model of training was employed widely in the whole process.

4. 3. 2. Discussion on TCL’s practice

(1) The objects

Enhancing the employees’ knowledge, this included company policies and regulations, basic technological knowledge.

Improving their skills, this consisted of operation skills, controlling skills, innovation skills in producing PDP TV sets.

Promoting their performance, this included transfer of training to the working position, working attitude, etc.

(2) The transfer of training

TCL tried best to stimulate positive transfer occurring. It employed the strategy of “learning by using”, and created the similar situation with the actual working environment in order to the positive transfer occur. The trainees were trained by the same product line, same machine sets with their positions. Therefore, the knowledge and skills they acquired were considerable easy to transfer into the manufacture process.

(3) TCL only hired its managers as the trainers

To some extent, the success of the training and development program depends on proper selection of the person who performs the task (Anfuso & Frazle, 1997, p81). TCL believed its managers were familiar with the internal situation and the PDP TV industry. Therefore, TCL only used 23 line managers as the trainers, but never hired the external experts in the process.

(4) TCL merely adopted on-the-job training approach

On-the-job training was less in investment of time, money, and materials, but much valid and convenient for the trainees. Therefore, TCL merely employed on-the-job training. Nevertheless, the situation reduced the effect of the program.

Brief lecture

Employees just took 30 minutes before the business hour, and stood in front of the trainers. Trainers briefly summarized the last day situation, introduced new knowledge and performance guides etc.

Coaching and counseling

One of the best and most frequently used methods of training is to teach them by the superiors (Waldroop & Butler, 1996, p111-119). Within the product line, trainers showed the performance, and let trainees imitate their behavior. Meanwhile, the incorrect performance could be revised.

Job rotation

Job rotation could make possible that the employees handle more skills (Ivancevich & Lee, 2002, p168). In TCL, half of trainees were asked to change the position orderly.

4. 4. Evaluating the program

4. 4. 1. The comparison

In the last stage, TCL also did some things different with the literatures. In fact, TCL only conducted the evaluation before the training and after the training, because most of the trainers complained it was very difficult to assess in the process. Besides, TCL merely evaluated the simple data or aspects, but not including the in-depth evaluation for it.

4. 4. 2. Discussion on TCL’s practice

Evaluation is the process of determining the value and effectiveness of a learning program. As for this program in TCL, two times evaluation were conducted by the trainers.

Before-training evaluation

The purpose was to assess the actual situation of the trainees, and provide the benchmark for the after-training evaluation (see figure 2).

After-training evaluation

TCL based on the internal and external factors, partly adopted Kirkpatrick’s 4 stage evaluation model of reaction evaluation, learning evaluation, and behavior evaluation to assess trainees. In detail, they conducted a matrix evaluation in figure 2.

Figure 2 TCL’s evaluation matrix (TES: total employees’ salary annual)

Criteria Assessment Before T&D After T&D

Methods Degree Degree

Rate of person handling

New technologies? Test 11.8% 68%

Degree of improving the skills Test 8.9% 63%

Satisfaction rate by the customers Data No data 87%

Qualification rate Check No data 89%

Accident rate Data No data Less 5%

Capital cost Calculate No data 1.9% of TES

Time cost Calculate 8 months 6 months

By assessing the relevant issues, generally, TCL’s program was successful in training the employees for PDP TV. Through the program, 63-68% of employees could be suitable with the requirement of the position. To surprise, satisfaction rate by the customers, qualification rate were little favorable, and the cost of capital and time was endurable.

5. The influence of moral factors

In addition to the physical factors, moral elements such as trust people, fairness, and mutual respect, also influence the effect of program. Following, the three factors which strongly influenced TCL’s program will be discussed.

5. 1. Trustiness

Low trust results in closed communication, little problem-solving and poor cooperation. Therefore, trust building should be a common thread in most corporate learning initiatives. Training managers must integrate into their programs the principles of trust building, and trust healing should a betrayal occur (Anonymous, 2004, p5).

In this sector, TCL did quite good. By building a culture of awareness regarding trust, TCL’s employees and managers founded comparative sound relationship. It certainly facilitated the communication between trainers and trainees, and promoted the training. Further, the trustiness relation could encourage people work in accordance, and improve the productivity.

5. 2. Fairness

The success of the T&D depends on proper selection of the person who performs the task (Anfuso & Frazle, 1997, p81). Besides, who attend the program may be promoted or receive higher wages or salaries as a result (Ivancevich & Lee, 2002, p159). Therefore, fairness to choose the trainers and trainees is a key to employees’ mood and training. However, there were some problems in choice of the trainers in TCL. Most of the professional staffs were not chosen as the trainers, but only the managers. TCL only regards the managers as the professional technicians. Unfortunately, this situation discourages employees’ enthusiasm in studying technology. Overtime, the employees’ technology level may decline.

5. 3. Mutual respect

Mutual respect could maximize the effect of learning by improving the mood of trainers and trainees. In contrast, the effect of program must be limited. TCL advocated respect each one. Thus, every body could get the feeling of self-esteem from others. As a result, both trainers and trainees are encouraged to perform better by the sub consciousness. In future, it would stimulate the positive morale and create favorable corporate culture. Undoubtedly, it could continuously increase the competitive power.

6. The recommendation

Although the T&D program are comparative successful to improve PDP TV division for TCL, nevertheless, some weakness should be corrected immediately. Otherwise, TCL may suffer the human resource problems in future.

6. 1. Conducting risk analysis actively

T&D don’t only contribute to the current task, but future objectives. Hence, both HR managers and line managers should look forward and pay more attention to the potential risk, analyze the internal and external situation as early as possible, in order to carry out T&D timely in embracing the changing environment.

6. 2. Employing trainers and training approach widely

Sometimes, the internal trainers’ ability is limited by the education background and the working experience. In order to get better effect of T&D, TCL should hire the more excellent trainers in despite of internal and external. Besides, in addition to on-the-job training approach, off-the-job training is necessary to systemically diffuse the technology, and maximize the effect of learning.

6. 3. Increasing training facilities

Formal model training is also helpful to enhance the effect of T&D. Therefore, TCL is strongly encouraged to add some training facilities. For example, class-room, computer, Multi-media video, and intranets, these are necessary to facilitate T&D.

6. 4. Evaluating the program timely and completely

Through better the feedback collecting methods, TCL should run the evaluation into the entire T&D process. Besides, the more complete evaluation methods, such as results evaluation, should be considered using in the process. By doing so, TCL could timely know how about the program, and who need to be retrained in future, and make a sound decision to improve and adjust the program so that embrace the coming challenges.

7. Conclusion

As has been noted above, the program of training and development in practice are little different with the academic literature. Generally, the practices of T&D most tend to be validity and efficacy. By contrast, the literatures of T&D most tend to offer a basic frame work which guides HR managers in the practice. Although there is a gap between the literature and TCL’s practice, however, the literatures play theoretical role in training and development employees.

In tandem, by review TCL’s T&D program, there is evidence to prove that training and development could make more competitive for the individual and organization in surviving. Therefore, HR managers and line managers should combine continuously developing literatures and factual situation, effectively perform T&D for the future.


Anfuso, D. & Frazle, V., (1997) “HR is Everywhere”, Personal Journal January, p81.

Anonymous, (2004) “How Training Managers ‘Fix’ The Loss of Corporate Trust”. IOMA’s Report on Managing Training & Development. Apr. Vol. 4, Iss. 4; p5.

Berge, Z., deVerneil, M., Berge, N., Davis, L. & Smith, D. (2002) “The increasing scope of training and development competency”. Benchmarking. Vol. 9, Iss. 1; p43.

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Burke, R. J. & McKeen, C. A. (1989) “Developing formal mentoring programs in organizations”, Business Quarterly, Vol. 53, p69-76.

Freeman, J. M. (1993), “Training needs analysis”. Management Quarterly, Fall, Vol. 34, Iss. 3; p32

Grugulis, I. (1998) “Real” managers don’t do NVQs: a review of the new management “standards”, Employee Relations. Vol. 20, Iss. 4; p383.

Hunt, D.M. & Michael, C. (1983) “Mentorship: a career training and development tool”, Academy of Management Review, Vol. 8, p475-85.

Ivancevich, J. M. & Lee, S. H., (2002), Human Resource Management in Asia, McGraw-Hill Education (Asia), Singapore.

Jackson, S. E. & Schuler, R. S., (2003), Managing Human Resources: Through Strategic Partnerships, 8th edn. Thomson/South-Western, Canada.

Kirkpatrick, D. L. (1975) Evaluating training programs. American Society for Training and Development Inc. Washington, DC.

Klauss, R. (1981) “Formalized mentor relationships for management and executive development programs in the Federal Government”, Public Administration Review, Vol. 41, p489-496.

Lane, G., and A, Robinson (1995) “The development of standards of competence for senior management”, Executive Development, Vol.32.

Leat, M. J. & Lovell, M. J. (1997) “Training needs analysis: weaknesses in the conventional approach”. Journal of European Industrial Training. Vol. 21, Iss. 4; p143.

McCole, P., Morrow, T., Ponsonby, S. & Kelly, B. (2001) “The potential training impact of technology on SMEs in Northern Ireland”. Journal of European Industrial Training. Vol. 25, Iss. 2/3/4; p90.

Paton, D. (1996) Training disaster workers: promoting wellbeing and operational effectiveness. Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 5, Iss. 5, p11.

Pfeffer, J., and Veiga, J. F. (1999) Putting people first for organizational success, Academy of Management Executive, 13 (2) p37-48.

Pinnington, A. & Edwards, T., (2000), Introduction to Human Resource Management, Oxford University Press, Great Britain.

Price, A., (2001), Human Resource Management in a Business Context, Thomson/Learning, Croatia.

Rosenberg, N. (1982) Inside the Black Box: Technology and Economics, Cambridge University Press, New York.

Stone, R. J., (2002), Human Resource Management, 4th edn, John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd, Singapore.

Waldroop, J. & Butler, T., (1996) The Executive as Coach, Harved Business Review, November-December, p111-119.

Washburn, S. & Franklin, G. (1992) A Modem Workplace in the Face of an Age-old Problem: Illiteracy. Industrial Management, 34, p2-4.

CSU material Topic 6



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