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close this bookManagement Self-Development - A Guide for Managers, Organisations and Institutions (ILO, 1985, 282 p.)
close this folderChapter 10. What can institutions do to encourage self-development?
View the document(introduction...)
View the document10.1 The institution's philosophy and policy
View the document10.2 Teaching and training activities
View the document10.3 Research and advice
View the document10.4 Developmental materials and physical resources
View the document10.5 Suggestions for further reading

10.3 Research and advice

An institution interested in promoting self-development can play a valuable role in carrying out investigations and giving advice to organisations, managers and other institutions.

For example, you might make a survey to find out what materials and resources are available and, conversely, what materials need obtaining or developing. More basic research can give valuable insights into the preparation of materials for local use, whilst evaluation research can show how effective the materials are, what difficulties or gaps are being experienced, and how things can be improved.

Similarly, an institution can both identify needs for developmental courses, and evaluate courses that are being run.

Obviously there is a wide variety of methods that could be used for identifying developmental needs. One way is to distribute a check list to a good sample of managers, and simply ask them to tick those items that they would like to improve. Appendix 8 shows such a check list, based on the outcomes of the various exercises and activities of chapters 3 to 8. The managers are asked to score each item first for its relevance to their jobs, then for the extent to which they feel they have already developed that quality or ability. You can, of course, leave out some of the items if you think they are inappropriate.

Instruments of this nature are quite quick and simple both to administer, complete, and analyse. You can base it on any model of developmental characteristics that you like to work with. A more open-ended approach is to ask a sample of managers to write a short essay on "ways in which I would like to learn and develop", or a similar title. This, however, requires much more co-operation from the respondents, and is also more difficult to analyse. More time-consuming still - but possibly very useful - is to interview a sample of managers, individually or in groups. You can devise your own interview schedule, although open-ended questionnaires such as those in the appendices can very readily be turned into interview guidelines. Similarly, you can base an interview on the exercises for getting feedback from others, and for analysing critical incidents - both of which are also described in the appendices.

What about methods of evaluation? Again, you can either use questionnaires or interviews. A questionnaire design is shown in table 14, which is again based on the model of developmental characteristics. You will notice that it also includes space for people to describe what it was that led to the development. The questionnaire can be completed by managers who have used any of the processes or resources described in this book. Similarly, you can interview a sample of these managers.

Table 14. Design for a development evaluation questionnaire

ASPECT OF DEVELOPMENT

ON THE SCALE, MARK 'B' WHERE YOU THINK YOU WERE BEFORE (THE COURSE, PACKAGE, EXPERIENCE etc.), AND 'A' WHERE YOU THINK YOU ARE NOW.

(5 - fully developed this aspect; 4 - well developed this aspect; 3 - somewhat developed this aspect; 2 - not developed much of this aspect; 1 - hardly developed any of this aspect).

In the space between each scale, please describe briefly what, if anything, it was about (the course, package, experience etc.) that helped you to develop in this way.

list here the various aspects, as e.g. in appendix 8 (or select those you are particularly interested in)


(leave approximately 2 cm between each scale)

An institution can also play a very useful research function in finding out about the nature of developmental processes that are appropriate for local culture and circumstances. Although we cannot go into this in detail, we can at least point it out as something that needs vigorous studying. A number of possible strategies might be tried, but a good starting point might be in-depth interviews with managers about the way they think they have developed over a period of time - indeed, a more detailed version of the first exercise in this book (figure 2). There is also a link here with the evaluation research, particularly if managers are again interviewed about why various processes were or were not helpful.

Information on appropriate local developmental processes can then be used for the design and implementation of materials and processes.

All this information can be made available to trainers in organisations and in other institutions, either by short courses, seminars and workshops, or through some form of bulletin or other publication.