INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION IN DEVELOPING CONTINUING ...
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION IN DEVELOPING CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL
DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES IN STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT
Dr Evgeny Polyakov1
Huddersfield University Business School, Huddersfield, United Kingdom
This conceptual article looks at the role of continuing professional development (CPD) in the
Russian Federation following the dramatic economic and political changes which the country
underwent in the past two decades. The necessity for a CPD programme in strategic management
for business and non-for-profit organisations is discussed and a new direction for research of
training and professional development in Russia proposed.
It is now obvious that the social, economic and political environment has been transformed
significantly in Russia since the Soviet times. Due to the lack of well equipped professionals in such
a dynamically changing environment there appears to be a necessity for professional development
and hence this area remains the most important direction in the activity of the Higher Education in
Anatoly Panov from Moscow International Higher Business School suggests that their professional
development programmes can help specialists move one more step higher in their career ladder
. The reality, however, suggests that many professionals are in desperate need of going through
additional retraining to be able to carry out their current duties effectively. Modern dynamic
economic conditions may lead to a situation when top management of the companies face a sharp
deficit of actual knowledge related to running the company, personnel management, finance,
marketing and securing a sustainable competitive position of their company in the market .
Hence, professional development programmes will attract people who need new systematic
knowledge related to the changed type of activity, or who feel a deficit of information caused by the
fast transformation of the economic and business processes. However, to achieve a noticeable
success it is not sufficient to offer a classical higher education supported by professional
Dr Evgeny Polyakov is a Head of Russian Centre at the University of Huddersfield, United Kingdom
development. It is imperative to establish a system of continuing professional development (CPD).
This need is triggered by the reforms carried out in the country and the changes associated with it.
Continued professional development has been defined by Madden and Mitchell  as the
maintenance and enhancement of the knowledge, expertise and competence of professionals
throughout their careers according to a plan formulated with regard to the needs of the professional,
the employer, the professions and society. There is a clear indication that the purpose of all
continuing professional development (CPD) is to promote effective performance at work . CPD
was referred to as an “activity which helps to maintain and improve professional competence” .
BSC research demonstrated an existing problem related to the imperfection of the management
system and organisational structure which is the main challenge for modern business . Recent
international discussion concerning CPD also focused on either the needs of the individual
professional or the interests of the professional bodies [5, 8]. There are, however, other stakeholders
who could have a legitimate interest in the effective management of CPD. These include
organisations which employ professional staff, non-professional employees, the Government,
education and training providers and the clients of professionally qualified practitioners. Thus,
research conducted by BSC shows that there is a lack of professional managing personnel as stated
by company directors, recruitment agencies and regional employment services .
Managers are seen as concerned with such activities as planning, organizing, controlling, co-
ordinating and leading. Reference to this emphasis can still be seen in some earlier management
texts . Similarly, research conducted in Russia demonstrated that heads of Russian companies
believe that business development is possible with the help of concentrating attention on a
company’s intangible assets, improving and structuring management mechanisms. 83% of top
managers view the imperfection of management systems and organisational structures as the main
challenge for business . Hence, management training had to be justified in terms of
organisational benefits . Arkin also provided examples of organisations seeking to ensure that
management development was driven by the needs of the business . It is important to view
performance-related training as competence-based and related to organisational needs. This view is
supported by Bentley who argues that continuing development represents investment in
performance . It is apparent that one of the ways of solving this problem is to develop and
introduce training and professional development programmes (67% of respondents) . The
research demonstrated an evident increase of top-managers’ attention towards solving internal
problems of their companies. However, Tyson and Witcher  indicate that it is uncommon to
find an integrated treatment of corporate objectives and human resource strategy within
To the extent that CPD seeks enhanced competence, and competence is defined in terms of
performance, clearly the concept of CPD cannot be divorced from the requirement to ensure that
activities which are undertaken are consistent with strategic and operational business plans .
Strategic management programmes are relevant to not only top-managers but also to entrepreneurs.
More than 60% of entrepreneurs point out the need to obtain business-specific knowledge and
competence . Many entrepreneurs are also aware of an increasingly competitive environment that
makes the development and implementation of business development strategies the most important
source of providing long-term competitiveness of business in the region.
From the discussion above it is evident that the use of the word ‘competence’ in the context of CPD
implies an outcome in terms of performance. This definition explicitly recognizes the employing
organisation as a stakeholder in the CPD process . By engaging in development activities, the
professional is expected to demonstrate an ability to perform to acceptable standards over a period
of time, having regard to the changes and challenges which accompany all business and
organisational activity. Hence, the aim of effective CPD is to provide a profession where members
are fully trained and competent to perform the tasks expected of them throughout their careers .
As has been suggested earlier, the essence of CPD is that individual development needs must be
business-driven. Only a small minority of organisations appears to have business plans which
encompass suitable strategic management dimensions. Although organisations are prepared to
invest resources in CPD this is often limited to certain groups of employees and administered on an
ad hoc basis, without due consideration to corporate needs. If top management are to remain
professionally competent, then they must be encouraged to formulate personal development plans
which link to the organisation’s corporate business plans. The 1980s and the early 1990s witnessed
a very heavy emphasis on continuous development and competence-based learning in the West. It is
hoped that Russian managers of business and non-for-profit sector will recognise it and incorporate
these elements in their CPD plans and expectations otherwise a wide gap between the knowledge of
professionals and the business reality might occur even further separating Russian organisations
from their counterparts in the West.
The situation around professional development has been recognised by the Russian government and
this resulted in signing of statement of intent on ‘Russian – United Kingdom Partnerships in Higher
Education’ in July 2003 by the Secretary of State for Education and Training and the Minister of
Education for the Russian Federation. The BRIDGE project was set up to facilitate this and aims to
help UK and Russian HE institutions develop joint programmes that lead to mutually recognised
qualifications. The project is sponsored by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES)
(England) is managed on a day to day basis by the British Council and is supported by the National
Training Foundation .
The aims of the project include increase of collaborative effort between Russian and UK
universities using joint programmes leading to dual degrees or other mutually recognised academic
qualifications and to increase the awareness of the higher education systems in the two countries by
means of building the basis for future sustainable partnerships between collaborating institutions. In
response to the market demand and needs of the business and non-for-profit sector in the above
mentioned areas a partnership2 has been established between the Institute of Management and
Business in Ekaterinburg and the Huddersfield University Business School in developing a new
CPD programme in strategic management and enhancing international cooperation business
education providers in Russia and the United Kingdom. Development of the CPD programme in
strategic management will assist in formation of the long-term Russo-British academic partnership
in teaching provision of lifelong learning leading to a set of knowledge recognised both in Russia
and in the UK. Enhanced academic mobility of lecturers, exchange of training methods and
information resources on strategic management in transition economy also brings a deeper
understanding of the corporate settings and requirements for continued professional development.
Strategic management programs have a substantial development potential in Russia and there is a
tendency that they will be in even higher demand in a medium term perspective because these
programs provide business with the intellectual growth potential for increasing their efficiency.
Taking into account the necessity of the strategic management knowledge in the region the
universal nature of the course will guarantee a stable demand at the Ekaterinburg business education
market including postgraduate students and senior corporate management of the business and the
The project is financed by the British Council under Bridge Project initiative. For more information see online <http://
www.britishcouncil.org/learning-bridge-project.htm>, accessed 22 January 2007
All managers and employees have the right to expect a good salary, a progressive career structure,
heightened job satisfaction through better working conditions and a better work-life balance, in
return for increased responsibilities and a commitment to continuous professional development.
CPD enables people to keep their skills marketable when looking for a new job but it is also likely
to become increasingly important in demonstrating that an individual can continue being effective
in an existing role. The benefits of CPD are not only felt when a manager or an employee goes for
promotion. Learning agility is one of the core competencies valued by many employers .
Ability to manage own professional growth is recently recognised as a key strength. Indeed,
demonstrating the ability to go on learning new skills may increasingly become synonymous with
having a job.
One more issue arises when talking about professional development. There are two models of CPD,
compulsion versus voluntarism. Madden and Mitchell  found that 25 per cent of professional
institutions have a mandatory CPD policy. These include the Law Society, the Institute of Chartered
Accountants in England and Wales, and Association of Chartered Certified Accountants to name
just a few. There is therefore an issue about whether CPD should be voluntary or mandatory. The
benefits model, which is usually found in new or developing professional institutions, emphasizes
the benefits of CPD to the individual, and CPD is therefore encouraged as a voluntary activity. At
present it is possible to identify cases of good practice for both the compulsory approach and the
voluntary approach . Johnston summarizes that whereas CPD used to reflect personal interest it
has now become a necessity which must be geared to professional performance . Considering the
two CPD models, there is a higher likelihood that the second model where the individual can take a
conscious decision whether or not to pursue some particular form of CPD will have a higher rate of
occurrence in Russia, which can be explained by the higher requirements being set by the
There are a number of challenging tasks to be accomplished apart from establishing internationally
recognised CPD programmes in Russia. A proposed further research encompasses an investigation
of CPD practice in the Russian regions to ascertain how organisations manage their CPD interests
in a highly dynamic environment at a time when the professional employees are increasingly aware
of the need for continuous development and employment costs remain a major concern for any
business. The outcome of this investigation would be a comparative analysis of the effectiveness of
CPD management in Russia and the UK.
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