Methods and Techniques of Development
Various techniques of executive development may be classified into two broad categories as shown in fig.
A large variety of methods of management development have come into prominence these days. These methods can be classified into two broad categories:
• On–the–job Methods
• Off-the–job Methods
a) On–the–job Methods
The main feature of this method is to increase the ability of the executives to work while performing their duties. They aim at exposing the trainees to the real work situation. Generally, support is provided by immediate superior in the conduct of these development programmes. On the job training is most suitable when the aim is to improve on the job behavior of executives. Such training is inexpensive and time saving. The motivation to learn is high as training takes place is the real job situation.
Under this method, the immediate superior guides the subordinate about various ways and methods and skills to do the job. Here, it is important to note that the superior only guides and does not teach, although he extends his assistance whenever needed. The coach or counseller sets mutually agreed upon goals, suggests how to achieve these goals, periodically reviews the trainne’s progress and suggests changes required in behavior and performance. The rationale of this method lie in the fact that it provides real practical job experience to the trainee.
i. It is learning by doing.
ii. Every executive can coach his subordinate even if no executive development programme exists.
iii. Periodic feedback and evaluation are a part of coaching.
iv. It is very useful for orientation of new executives and for developing operative skills. It involves close interactions between the trained and his boss.
i. It tends to perpetuate current managerial styles and practices in the organization.
ii. It requires that the superior is a good teacher and guide.
iii. The training atmosphere is not free from the worries of daily routine.
iv. The trainee may not get sufficient time to make mistakes and learn from experience.
In case of understudy, the trainee is prepared to perform the work or fill the position of his superior. He is a trainee who at future time will assume the duties and responsibilities of the position currently held by his immediate superior when the latter separates form the job because of transfer, promotion, resignation, retirement or death. The superior routes much of the departmental work through the junior, discusses problems with him and allows him to participate in the decision making process as often as possible. The junior is generally assigned tasks which are closely related to the work in his section and he is deputed to attend executive meetings as a representative of his superior. But the success of this method depends upon the teaching skills and cooperation of the superior with whom the understudy is attached.
i. The trainee receives continuous guidance form the senior and gets the opportunity to see the total job.
ii. It is practical and time saving due to learning by doing.
iii. The trainee takes interest and shares the superior’s workload.
iv. The junior and the senior come closer to each other.
v. It ensures continuity of management when the superior leaves his position.
i. It perpetuates the existing managerial practices.
ii. As one employee is identified in advance as the next occupant of a higher managerial position, the motivation of other employees in the unit may be affected.
iii. The subordinate staff may ignore the understudy and treat him, as an intruder without clear authority and responsibility.
iv. Under an overbearing senior, the understudy may lose his freedom of thought and action.
3. Position Rotation
It involves movement or transfer of executives form one position or jib to another on some planned basis. The purpose of this method is to expose employees beyond the scope of their present knowledge. The employees are moved from one job to another just to widen their skill, knowledge and experience.
According to Bennett
Job rotation is a process of horizontal movement that widens the manager’s experience horizon beyond the limited confines of his own.
i. It helps to reduce monotony and boredom by providing variety of work.
ii. It facilitates inter-departmental cooperation and coordination.
iii. It infuses new concepts and ideas into elder personnel
iv. Executives get a chance to move up to higher position by developing them into generalists.
v. Best utilization can be made of each executive’s skills.
i. Job rotation may cause distribute in established operations
ii. The trainee executive may find it difficult to adjust himself to frequent moves. He may feel insecure in the absence of stable interpersonal relationships.
iii. The new incumbent may introduce ill-conceived and hasty innovations causing loss to the organization.
iv. Job rotation may demotivate intelligent and aggressive trainees who seek specific responsibility in their choosen specialization.
v. It may cause class distinction and misunderstanding. Executives who are not moved may develop defensive reactions.
vi. It may upset family and home life when transfers are made to different geographical areas.
4. Project Assignments
Under this method, a number of trainee executives are put together to work on a project directly related to their functional area. The group called project team or task force will study the problem and find appropriate solutions. For instance, accounts officers may be assigned the task of designing and developing an effective budgetary control system. By working on this project, the trainees learn the work procedures and techniques of budgeting. They also come to learn the interrelationships between accounts and other departments. This is a flexible training device due to temporary nature of assignments.
5. Committee Assignment
Under this method, an ad hoc committee is constituted and is assigned a subject to discuss and make recommendations. The committee has assigned objectives and responsibilities related to some aspect of the organization. It will make a study of the problem and present its suggestions to the department head. Committee assignments can provide the necessary general background to the trainees because every member of the committee gets a chance to learn from others. Committee assignment is an important device of educating the executives to acquire general background and to modify their behavior towards the selected problem.
6. Multiple Management
The technique was developed by Charles P.McCormick of the McCormick Corporation of Baltimore, USA. Under it, a junior board of young executives is constituted. Major problems are analysed in the junior board which makes recommendations to the Board of Directors. The young executives learn decision making skills and the board of Directors receives the collective wisdom of the executive team. Vacancies in the Board of Directors can be filled from the junior board members who have received considerable exposure to problems and issues.
i. The participants gain practical experience in group decision making and team work
ii. The committee or board contributes to the productivity and human relations on the organization.
iii. The method helps to identify executive talent. Board rating system provides multiple judgment on each individual.
iv. It is relatively in-expensive method.
i. Specific attention to the development needs of executives is not possible.
ii. The method is not suitable for lower level executives.
iii. The discussions in committees and boards often degenerate into academic debates. There is lack of purpose and commitment on the part of participants.
7. Selective Readings
Managing has become a specialized job requiring a close touch with the latest developments in the field. By reading selected professional books and journals, managers can keep in touch with the latest research findings, theories and techniques in management. No executive can afford to rely solely on others to keep him informed of innovations in management. Reading of current management literature helps to avoid managerial obsolescence. Selective readings constitute and individual self-development programme for executives. Many organizations maintain libraries for their executives and managers are encouraged to continually read and improve their skills.