b) Off-the-job Method
The focus in off-the-job methods of development is to improve general behavioural and decision-making skills of the executives whereas the emphasis of on-the-job methods does not contain such a heavy dose of reference to the particular job. They are relatively more general.
This method is also called the chalk-and-talk method. It is a traditional method of imparting knowledge to a large number of trainees at the same time. It is a verbal form of delivering information in a classroom environment. This method is appropriate when a large amount of information is to be provided within a limited span of time. Lectures are essential when technical or special information of a complex nature is to be provided. These are supplemented by discussions, case studies,demonstrations, audio-visual aids and film shows. It is very useful when facts, concepts, principles, attitudes and problem-solving skills are to be taught.
i. It is an easy, simple and quick method to share information with a large chunk of trainees.
ii. It is usually an economical method as the cost of training is distributed among several trainees, thereby reducing the cost per trainee.
i. It is predominantly a one-way mode of communication with little scope for interactions.
ii. Personalized and individual-specific flexible training is missing.
iii. It may not be ideal for highly technical and skill-oriented jobs.
iv. Problems like the trainer’s fatigue, the non-availability of experienced trainers, and the dissimilarity in the performances of the trainers can impact the quality and continuity of the programmes.
2. Case Studies
Under this method, real or hypothetical business problem or situation demanding solution is presented in writing to the trainees. They are required to identify and analyse the problem, suggest and evaluate alternative courses of action and choose the most appropriate solution. The trainer guides the discussion and ensures that no relevant fact is overlooked. A variant of the case method is incident processes, wherein only an outline rather than full details of a situation is given. The trainees find out what information is required and seek it out form the trainer through questions. Case study method was developed at Harvard Business School whereas incident method was developed at MIT, USA. This method is widely used in professional schools of law and management and in supervisory and executive training programmes in industry.
i. It can improve the analytical, lateral and judgmental skills of the trainees.
ii. Since case studies mostly deal with real life events, it enables the trainees to face the challenges of real life difficulties confidently.
iii. It encourages open mindedness and provides a means of integrating interdisciplinary knowledge.
iv. The trainees become aware of managerial concepts and processes and their application to specific situations.
v. Detailed descriptions of real life situations help to create interest of trainees.
vi. It makes trainees aware of obscurities, contradictions and uncertainties involved in business.
i. The group of trainees must consists of person who can understand quickly.
ii. The case should be a true representation of the issues involved. It should be objective without comments from the case writer.
iii. It should be well documented with history, facts and figures.
iv. It should be based on first-hand information so as to be realistic.
v. The discussion leader should allow full opportunity to the learners to think and participate.
3. Group Discussions
It is a variant of the lecture method. Under it, paper is prepared and presented by one or more trainees on the selected topic. This is followed by a critical discussion. The chairman of the discussion or seminar summarizes the contents of the papers and the discussions which follows. Often the material to be discussed is distributed in advance. Seminars and conferences enable executives to learn from the experiences of each other and have become quite popular.
A conference is a group meeting conducted according to an organized plan in which the members seek to develop knowledge and understanding by obtaining a considerable participation. Problems of common interests are discussed. The participants pool their ideas and experience to deal with the problems effectively. A conference may be divided into small groups (buzz sessions) for intensive discussions. These small groups report back to the conference.
i. It helps in developing conceptual knowledge, reducing dogmatism and modifying attitudes.
ii. The trainee actively participates and his interest in learning is maintained.
i. The conference method is suited only for small groups because large group often discourages active participation of all the learners.
ii. The progress is usually slow because everyone is allowed to speak and irrelevant issues easily creep in.
5. Role playing
Role playing refers to acting out a particular role. This method is simply the learning by doing technique. In this method, the trainees act out a given role as they would in a stage play. Two or more trainees are assigned parts to play before the rest of the class. Thus, it is a method of human interaction which involves realistic behaviour in an imaginary or hypothetical situation.
i. It is often used to impart the skills necessary for conducting interviews, handling grievances, performance evaluation and disciplinary proceedings.
ii. It can vastly improve the empathetic quality of the employees.
iii. It helps to enhance interpersonal relations. Problem-solving ability, motivational skills and leadership techniques of the trainees.
iv. Trainees learn to accept criticism from others, and the group soon recognizes that sound suggestions benefit everyone.
i. The power of role playing is only harnessed when the role player receives expert feedback. Inexpert feedback or feedback from group members who are at the same level of competence as the role player is often useless, and does not further learning.
ii. While some employees will be comfortable role playing, they’re less adept at getting into the required mood needed to actually replicate a situation.
6. Management Games
Business games are becoming highly popular in developing managers and supervisors. These games are simulation, computer based or non-computer based, that attempt to duplicate selected factors in a particular business situation, which the participants manipulate. Business games involve two or more hypothetical organizations competing in a given market. The participants divide into five or six person groups and play roles such as director, vice-president, or marketing manager. They make decisions affecting price levels, production volumes and inventory levels. Often, a computer programme manipulates their decisions, with the results simulating those of an actual business situation. Participants are able to see how their decisions affect other groups or vice versa. Most popular management games include Looking Glass, Simulator and Financial Services.
i. It helps to analyze and select the relevant data from a mass of information and also helps to decide with incomplete data.
ii. It is useful in developing problems-solving skills.
iii. It helps in developing leadership skills and in fostering teamwork.
i. It is very difficult and expensive to develop and implement good games.
ii. The games are artificial because in real life executives are regarded for creating new alternatives rather than for choosing from a give list of alternatives
iii. The trainees who are successful in these games may not be successful on the job.
7. In Basket Exercise
In this method, the trainee is provided with a basket or tray of papers and files related to his functional area. He is expected to carefully study these and make his own recommendations on the problem and conclusions are arrived at. These are put down in the form of a report.
i. The method is simple and in-expensive.
ii. The trainees get a better appreciation of different functional areas.
iii. The participants learn problem-solving skills due to their active interest and involvement.
iv. Inter-department conflicts can be reduced.
i. The solution arrived at by the participants tend to be abstract devoid of real life problems.
ii. The learners may find it difficult to adapt themselves to rigid situations and may lack originality.
8. Sensitivity Training
Sensitivity training or T-group training is also known as laboratory training as it is conducted under controlled conditions. It means the development of awareness and sensitivity to behavioural patterns of oneself and other. The trainees are brought together in a free and open environment wherein participants discuss themselves. The discussion is lightly directed by a behavioural expert who creates the opportunity to express their ideas, beliefs and attitudes.
Sensitivity training was developed by Kurt Lewin.
According to Chris Argyris
Sensitivity training is a group experience designed to provide maximum possible opportunity for the individuals to expose their behavior, give and receive feedback, experiment with new behavior and develop awareness of self and of others.
i. It is an important tool of helping managers to win the cooperation of people working with them.
ii. It facilitates a better understanding among the members by breaking the rigidity in their relationships.
iii. It increases the trainee’s capability to resolve the conflicting situations by developing alternatives and problem-solving techniques instead of manipulation, intimidation and compromise.
i. The trainee may become so sensitive to the feelings of other that he is unwilling to take hard decisions.
ii. It involves stress situations which can cause serious psychological damage (behavior breakdown) to the participation.
9. Programmed Instructions
This method incorporates a pre-arranged and proposed acquisition of some specific skills or general knowledge. Information is broken into meaningful units and these units are arranged in a proper way to form a logical and sequential learning package. Each package is built upon the earlier ones and knowledge is imparted with the help of a textbook or a teaching machine. The package involves presenting questions, allowing learners to respond and instant feedback is given to indicate the accuracy of answers.
i. Trainees learn at their pace as the materials are broken into small units.
ii. Learners take active part in the programme.
iii. Individual differences can be taken into consideration.
iv. The motivation to learn is high.
v. The teaching material is prepared by an expert and his expertise can be made available to a large number of trainees.
vi. Individuals can be trained more economically and at most convenient times.
vii. The instructor incharge can have accurate and quick measure of the rate of learning.
viii. Learners are given regular feedback on their progress and are encouraged to learn further through appropriate reveals.
i. The learning atmosphere is impersonal.
ii. Only factual topics can be programmed.
iii. Attitudinal and behavioural skills cannot be taught.
iv. The cost and time involved in creating such programmes is very high.
v. The more efficient trainee may get bored if he feels the programme is too easy.