Seeking success through strategic management development


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Seeking success through strategic management development

  1. 1. Seeking success through strategic management development Paul Brown Northampton Business School, University College Northampton, Northampton, UK Keywords This definition infers a collective approach to Management development, Introduction MD since it refers to the organisation’s Strategic management, While strategic management development capability and performance rather than those Human resource management (SMD) has been discussed in the literature of individual managers. The use of the word Abstract since about 1990 (e.g. Temporal 1990; intervention implies a conscious process, Strategic management which has probably been initiated or Osbaldeston and Barham, 1992; McClelland, development (SMD) uses 1994; Seibert et al., 1995; Hussey, 1996; Burach stimulated at corporate level, but can corporate objectives and strategies as drivers for et al., 1997), it has lacked a strong conceptual encompass both formal and informal management development and framework. Most studies have concentrated activities. SMD is usually a corporate aims to achieve multiple initiative and therefore it is liable to be outcomes. Most studies of SMD on consultant or practitioner accounts of ``best practice’’. This paper considers the influenced by the attitudes and values of top have concentrated on consultant- or practitioner-based accounts of suitability of existing theoretical frameworks management. Such political reinforcement ``best practice’’. There has been for management development (MD) when assumes that top managers are correct in little development of conceptual their diagnosis and prescription, of what is frameworks to inform a more applied to SMD, examines the inter- needed from MD (Lees, 1992). rigorous understanding and relationships with strategic human resource evaluation of SMD. Considers the The tensions between organisational and management (SHRM), and surveys the usefulness of some existing individual objectives in MD were recognised literature on SMD. Some new conceptual frameworks and then, based on by Woodall and Winstanley (1998) in their literature review and synthesis, frameworks are then synthesised, which model of the integration and differentiation proposes new conceptual should assist in analysing and understanding frameworks for SMD. The first of which, they said, needed to be balanced (see this topic. these new frameworks explores Table I). the relationships between Definitions of MD vary in the degree to individual and organisational which a strategic emphasis is present. Some Existing conceptual frameworks for SMD objectives in the SMD processes. do not have an explicit strategic dimension, Patching (1998) provided a model which Many management development for example: interventions have both types of combined the purpose of MD, either success An attempt to improve managerial objective and other interventions through change or success through may be more polarised in purpose. effectiveness through a learning process alignment (with current systems, culture and These tensions have to be (Mumford, 1997, p. 6). job roles), and different levels of specificity to resolved at the level of the individual manager. Because of Others link MD more clearly to the the organisation (see Figure 1). environmental change account achievement of organisational goals and are Transformational MD will probably aim to will need to be taken of emergent thus more strategic in nature, for example: gain competitive advantage and is driven by needs and opportunities. The MD is a conscious and systematic process to the management vision and corporate second framework reflects this control the development of managerial strategy. It is thus a form of SMD and may showing how a dynamic environment will lead to more resources in the organisation for the focus on critical success factors and the organic forms of management achievement of the organisational goals and development of a new culture. Exploratory development. The third framework strategies (Molander, 1987, p. 109). MD often aims to achieve innovation and considers the barriers and drivers influencing SMD, and proposes the This definition comes close to the concept of learning through experimentation. It may be key requirements for success. SMD, stressing the contribution towards driven by entrepreneurial thinking and realising organisational goals and strategies, could help develop strategic management but does not emphasise the development of capabilities. Generic activities develop the strategic capabilities. knowledge, skills and attitudes which seem For the purposes of this paper SMD is necessary for managers in almost any kind of defined as: organisation. Arguably, because they are not Management development interventions unique they do not contribute to strategic which are intended to enhance the strategic advantage. Specific capabilities are those Journal of European Industrial capability and corporate performance of an which are required in one particular Training organisation. organisation and are not the same from one 27/6 [2003] 292-303 # MCB UP Limited [ISSN 0309-0590] The Emerald Research Register for this journal is available at The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at [DOI 10.1108/03090590310479929 ] http://w ww http://w w w .em /0309-0590.htm [ 292 ]
  2. 2. Paul Brown Table I Seeking success through Strategic MD ± integration and differentiation strategic management development Integra tion D ifferentiation Journal of European Industrial Training C om patib ility w ith O D C om patib ility w ith self-developm e nt 27/6 [2003] 292-303 C om patib ility w ith the aim s a nd obje ctives of business C om patib ility w ith peop le’s futu re c areers strate gy P roactive ± fo rw ard looking and forw ard planning from top Left to in dividual initiative , in term s of w hat and ho w U niform ity of o bje ctives E nabling choice to suit caree r, ind ivid ual’s person ality and o w n situa tion a nd learning style T op-dow n B ottom -up organisation to another, and help to defend individual as key. The competence and action the competitive position. As such they may learning approaches, on the other hand, have strategic value. Different MD methods assume that development is linked to the will be employed for each of the four boxes. practical achievement of specific Patching advocates that any one intervention management objectives, one through generic should be focused on one box to avoid competencies and the other through confusion and compromises. contingent solving of managerial problems. Talbot (1997) suggested that different types The contingency and task aspects of action of MD could be mapped against stages in the learning appear to be especially appropriate experimental learning cycle (Kolb, 1984) (see for SMD, though other quadrants may make Figure 2), and linked these types to different a contribution. assumptions about the nature of Action learning theory was also evident in management and of the developmental Mumford’s (1997) three type model of MD (see process. Both the management education and Table II). Mumford believed that the kind of competence approaches share the view that informal learning which occurred naturally there is a generic model of management with as managers did their jobs (his Type 1) was known skills, knowledge, attitudes, effective because it was drawn directly from behaviours or competencies which can be managerial performance, but it was acquired by some combination of education, inefficient because of its accidental nature training, development and experience. and the fact that it relied on the ``having an Whereas the action learning and reflective experience’’ part of the learning cycle and practicum approaches assume a more usually lacked any conscious reflection or contingent and situation specific nature of review of learning. Formal learning (Type 3) management that could not easily be was often too reliant on theory, or on captured in ``programmed knowledge’’. experience without reflection. This led to In the other dimension, the developmental Mumford’s preference for integrated process could be seen as either focused on managerial development (Type 2) which individual development in a broad, married planned development to real educational sense, or narrowly focused on managerial work, utilising real management achieving proficiency in specific managerial tasks that are to be (or have been) faced by tasks. The management education and the the manager. Mumford’s view that planned reflective practicum approaches share a and informal approaches must be integrated broader conception of development, one is the strength of his model. His type 2 educational and the other professional, both suggests that development activities will be seeing the personal development of the contingent on individual needs and organisational reality and seems likely to be Figure 1 applicable to SMD. Patching’s management development grid Strategic human resources management (SHRM) It might be argued that for SMD to be effective it should be one component of a bigger, embedded, SHRM philosophy. This would provide vertical linkages (Grattan et al., 1999) connecting MD to SHRM and business strategy. It would also provide horizontal linkages to coherently connect SMD to other HR policies and systems such [ 293 ]
  3. 3. Paul Brown as appraisal and reward. Such links would be Table II Seeking success through mutually reinforcing. Hence there is some Mumford’s types of management development strategic management development value in reviewing the SHRM literature, Type D escrip tio n paying particular attention to any Journal of European Industrial Training implications for SMD. Type 1 Inform al m a nagerial ± a ccid ental pro cess 27/6 [2003] 292-303 Tyson (1995) found more evidence that HR Type 2 Integrate d m anage rial ± opportu nistic strategies provided support to corporate pro cess plans than earlier surveys (e.g. Purcell, 1992; Type 3 Fo rm al m ana gem en t deve lopm e nt ± Storey, 1992; Brewster and Hegewisch, 1994). planned proce ss HR strategies were framed to interpret organisational, business and corporate business objectives). Employee development strategies into people management was seen as a long-term process (as was objectives, with the implications for policies organisation development). Here, the linkage and practice. The best documented aspects with business strategy was weaker, except were succession planning and MD. Tyson’s for leadership development which was found survey found that all companies ranked MD to be strongly linked ± concentrating mainly high on their strategic agenda and many on the development of future leadership adopted it, and organisation development, as cadres, which was a well-established process strategic policy levers. in the companies studied. Such development Further evidence that during the 1990s was based on a future needs analysis derived organisations paid increasing attention to from very broad strategic drivers such as SHRM and probably made some progress operating in a multinational context. The towards the normative ideal of fit between emphasis was on high-flyer development; in business and HR strategies was provided by other areas of MD it might be that the lack of Grattan et al. (1999) in their studies of eight strategic direction generally found in large UK high-performing companies. This employee development also applied. These research showed that linkages between HRM weaker long term linkages were attributed to and business strategy were strongest for the complexity of longer term processes short-term people processes ± such as (which required a lot of embedding) and the objective setting (cascaded from the business financially driven short term view of strategy), performance measurement, companies. rewards (related to the achievement of Stiles (1999), another member of the business goals), and short term training Grattan team, looked at how (based on competencies needed to deliver the transformational change was managed in the eight companies. Of interest to this review Figure 2 was the importance attached to new Talbot’s classification of MD competency frameworks, which particularly emphasised leadership, leadership development, teamwork and customer satisfaction, and were introduced to reflect new values and strategic focus. Also, the objectives of individuals and strategic objectives (and how they would be measured and rewarded) needed to become very familiar to all concerned. To achieve this, managers received extensive training in the key performance management activities and undertook a lot of informal performance management activity, e.g. coaching, feedback and counselling. Middle managers were involved ± in cross-functional teams; providing informal networks of managers to give feedback to senior management; and using the ``winners’’ in new structures to act as champions for change. The competency that managers had in handling the change process meant that change was seen as ``normal’’ and incremental, and the new roles and responsibilities of employees were clearly defined and understood. This contrasted with a more usual change [ 294 ]
  4. 4. Paul Brown situation where there is confusion about the learning organisation model, is reductionist Seeking success through required new behaviours. and ignores the importance of corporate strategic management Stiles highlighted that in a dynamic competencies which could be captured in an development environment, the MD processes should not be organisation’s systems and structures and Journal of European Industrial Training bureaucratic or rigid. If competency used by others over an extended period of 27/6 [2003] 292-303 frameworks and the associated training time. Their study focused on engagement, programmes were too narrowly defined they defined as the competence to involve the would be less appropriate than broader members of the firm actively and coherently developmental approaches. Competencies in the new chosen directions. Based on had to be generic enough to be stretched to empirical findings, they suggested this and suit changing conditions: emphasising other ``reshaping’’ competencies were central teamwork, creativity, flexibility and to the process of organisational learning, leadership, While still giving some structure allowing the organisation to change over to the fast changing nature of the work time, and are thus necessary for continuing setting. Training and development corporate success. They also recognised the programmes become less formal with more importance of the operational competencies emphasis on personal development and (business technology, market responsiveness learning, development centres, creativity and performance management) which workshops, teamwork, coaching and (unlike the reshaping competencies) were counselling. positively correlated with business Hamel and Prahalad (1993) asserted that it performance. is a firm’s ability to learn faster and apply its The empirical evidence to support the learning more effectively than its rivals competitive advantage through human which gives it competitive advantage. This resource advantage hypothesis is, at best, implies that managers or other key staff weak. Little evidence exists to support the might themselves be a source of competitive view that SMD can create core competencies advantage, as many writers have argued (e.g. which directly affect business performance. Wright et al.,, 1994). Amit and Schoemaker However, it seems that competencies can be (1993) identified two types of human developed which significantly influence the advantage that might be gained: ability of an organisation to handle the 1 Human capital advantage ± recruiting and change process and so, perhaps, indirectly retaining outstanding people. influence business performance. If this is so 2 Human process advantage ± learning, then SMD might be employed to develop such co-operation and innovation. competencies. Boxall and Steeneveld (1999) sought to validate this theory in their longitudinal study of engineering consultancies in Consultant/practitioner approaches New Zealand. The findings gave support for to SMD HR practice which was necessary to allow Thinking on SMD has been heavily survival and credible membership in the influenced by consultant and practitioner industry. In particular, firms had to employ accounts of ``best practice’’, frequently case HR practices and policies which helped study based; typical of this is Hussey (1996). attract, develop and retain top talent in their First, the organisational needs are analysed industry, particularly contract-winning staff. with an emphasis on the strategic drivers They also had to have the ability to construct (e.g. expansion into Europe). This indicates and renew suitable leadership teams, competencies or skills for which there is a especially when faced with major new or expanded need (e.g. market planning), environmental change. However, when it and the current levels of these competencies came to demonstrating that HR strategy are audited. Thus, the MD ``gap’’ is identified could contribute to industry leadership and the current MD activities are audited to (competitive advantage) the findings were examine what is being done to close the gap. inconclusive. It was difficult to demonstrate Finally, new MD plans can be drawn up to that a firm had enviable human assets, and if meet the identified needs. it did, that they produced competitive Cannon (1995), used a case study to advantage. The study, though qualitatively illustrate a very similar consultancy rich, was of a small sample ± only three case approach, stressing the need for senior studies ± and produced no new evidence in management commitment to SMD and the support of the competitive advantage identification of business driven through people argument. competencies ± which he said ± ``should Dunphy et al. (1997) argued that individual define in crystal clear terms, the behaviours and team learning, as emphasised in the required by everyone in the conduct of their [ 295 ]
  5. 5. Paul Brown jobs’’. This sentiment ± which must be very leadership development through Seeking success through difficult to fulfil ± vividly illustrates the teamwork and coaching; and strategic management possible involvement in the development prescriptive and static nature of some consultant led approaches. implementation and review of projects. Journal of European Industrial Training Temporal (1990) provided a more dynamic 27/6 [2003] 292-303 The team members were frequently view of MD: multinational and multifunctional. There . . . a continuous process of many activities, events and experiences that never actually was often training in group working and ceases . . . [it] is an integral part of problem solving skills as well as more management work . . . [which] necessitates functional business topics. An example was constant readjustment in accordance with the the General Electric programme (Mercer, changing needs of the business . . . . [and] 2000), which covered four weeks, of which involves people working together to identify around 2.5 weeks were spent on the project problems and developing means of solving work, report writing and presentation. There them. were also sessions for reflection, and analysis Temporal saw MD complementing rigid of the team process. This format seems formal structures by adding informal flexible typical, but in some cases ± especially where the team is responsible for implementation ± interactions, which lead to greater the duration can be much longer. For organisational learning, and placed emphasis example, at Motorola (Hansen, 2000), projects on strategic projects, entrepreneurship have lasted from four months to five years. opportunities and other real work activities. Each project was selected and defined by the These could be linked to the key management president and CEO in collaboration with the competencies for the next decade, which the Motorola management board, and chief executive would be challenged to represented a major corporate issue that define. crossed all Motorola businesses and Temporal mainly saw strategy as the functions. The project team was large, context for MD. Bolt (1993) however saw the normally 20-25 executives representing a executive development programme as having wide cross-section of the business and a more strategic role ± many CEOs in the functions of the corporation. Learning USA had recognised it as an important tool interventions were scheduled as the team’s for helping achieve their strategic agenda. needs dictated. The team was empowered to Often the programme sprang directly from take many actions, with perhaps only their own vision and it was important that 20 per cent ± the high level ones ± requiring they participated in the entire programme approval by the corporate management (which was aimed at the higher levels of board. Members carried out the work in management) to demonstrate their addition to their normal job responsibilities, commitment. It also helped them refine their with the project work taking up no more than ideas on the company’s strategic direction. 25 per cent of their time. The projects Involving executives in formulating and undertaken did not in themselves result in shaping the vision and strategy increased major change in the organisation since other quality, understanding, commitment and organisational development activity would ownership. be necessary, including (sometimes) The use of project teams to tackle strategic cascading the project approach to middle and problems associated with business first line management levels. improvement was described by Boshyk (2000) In the case of Philips (Freedman, 2000) the under the title ``business-driven action team worked together for about 20 per cent of learning’’. The main objective was the the time over three months. However, the development of participants rather than business relevance of the approach was seen acting as a task force. Recommendations as relatively low because, although the issue would be presented to the project sponsors dealt with is always a live company but might not be implemented. The key challenge, few participants are working on elements in this approach were: their own business areas, most are active involvement and support of senior ``strangers’ when they come together and executives; they go their separate ways after three work on real business issues and the months. The collective learning cannot easily exploration of new strategic business be translated into collective action. Their opportunities; roles were closer to consultants than to action research and learning focused on managers as far as the implementation of internal and external company real change is concerned. Alternative experiences that can help resolve approaches have been devised by Philips in business issues; an attempt to move towards greater emphasis [ 296 ]
  6. 6. Paul Brown on business and corporate implementation. elements helped link strategy with executive Seeking success through For example, using a strategic improvement development programmes: strategic management action programme which appeared to have 1 Belief that training and development acts development rather less emphasis on learning, as a vehicle of change and recognition of Journal of European Industrial Training concentrating instead on the business the need to develop executives who were 27/6 [2003] 292-303 improvement objectives. capable of dealing with change. The Motorola programme apparently 2 A supportive training and development overcame some of these objections to the way climate that empowered executives to business-driven action learning can operate move forwards on unstructured issues by enlarging the teams and making them and problems. There was active responsible for implementation, while, at the participation of the CEO and other senior same time, maintaining a strong emphasis on managers (as faculty, discussants or learning. Such approaches to SMD have participants). clearly involved a major commitment by the 3 Emphasis on organisational development organisation and have usually been needs, not individual needs, using the sustained and developed over a long period. strategic plan as the starting point. They seem to be particularly suitable to 4 Use of approaches such as action learning, companies operating in dynamic experiential learning, team problem environments. solving (presenting findings to senior management), and behavioural simulation programmes. Academic and survey findings on SMD Michael found that the programmes tended to tap into deliberate aspects of strategy ± Burach et al. (1997) provided an overview of more needed to be done to explore ways of SMD based on both consulting experience tapping into the emergent components of and research literature, synthesising a best strategy formulation and implementation. He practice model with the following features: advocated that portions of the executive MD is linked to business plans and development programme should be pushed strategies e.g. through core competencies down the hierarchy to help with succession (Prahalad and Hamel, 1990). Personal and and create a critical mass of people who general competency development is still possess a similar vocabulary and culture. necessary, but not sufficient. Michael’s findings, based on companies in The leadership and development needs of turbulent environments, have been managers in delayered organisations are supported by the work of Stiles (1999), and dealt with, in ways that are designed to Osbaldeston and Barham (1992). increase confidence. Commitment is Cairns (1998) highlighted a weak link in needed from senior management to fully executive development ± the implementation support MD initiatives. of learning plans following formal learning. Development activities are The intentions are usually good, but they are internationally focused because of global competition, and challenging often overtaken by the demands of the communication and cross-cultural issues. business. Organisations needed to provide Individual learning is focused within the support arrangements to help address this. context of organisational learning. A consistent picture emerges of some of the Organisations try to create a learning features of successful SMD, especially in environment though typically this is slow dynamic situations. The value of strategic to evolve. projects facilitated through networking and Corporate culture ± a shared set of action learning, and of broad competencies expectations and values ± is transmitted (which contribute to strategic advantage) is and also helps shape individual learning seen. The involvement of middle managers, priorities and preferred practices. the potential contribution by SMD to strategy A career development focus is needed to formulation and the need for a driving vision build individual trust and commitment. and commitment from the most senior Central authority and command are de- management are also important. emphasised while trust and partnership are encouraged. Some problems with SMD Michael (1993) took an empirical approach, surveying HR managers in 11 large US There has been little attempt to high-tech firms which operated in turbulent systematically evaluate SMD, either environments and needed to promote theoretically or empirically. However, the strategic change. He found that four common literature does reveal some problems and [ 297 ]
  7. 7. Paul Brown issues which provide a starting point for business) plans was that they often did not Seeking success through such evaluation. say very much about people. Even when strategic management Seibert et al. (1995) surveyed 22 US organisational capabilities (or core development companies and found evidence of weak links competencies) were identified it was difficult Journal of European Industrial Training between business strategy and MD strategy. to link them directly with skills, though 27/6 [2003] 292-303 This they attributed to three factors. First, easier at management level than other levels. the HRD functions had been inwardly Like others before them they found that it focused, rather than outwardly focused on was hard to identify how skills at an the ``customer’ (i.e. senior line management) individual level could be summed up at and the business environment. Second, the corporate level and to demonstrate that HRD function devised rigid systematic plans capability was making a difference to which were not responsive to the rapidly business performance. changing business strategies and The effectiveness of SMD will depend in environment. Third, there was a false part on the intervention methods chosen. dichotomy between developing individuals Meldrum and Atkinson (1998a) inadvertently and conducting business, which were seen as demonstrated this in their survey of respectively the work of HRD and line delegates attending open general MD management. This did not facilitate natural programmes at Cranfield School of connections between business strategy and Management. The delegates cited weak links executive development. To overcome this, between their organisations’ business needs real strategic assignments and action and MD activities, lack of support or learning teams could be employed, and evaluation from their company and deliberate mechanisms were needed to 75 per cent felt that the quality of their support managers’ learning. These organisation’s MD was at best average or assignment management oriented systems below. Arguably, this is related to the choice were seen as fostering the growth of meta- of open programmes which are divorced from skills, i.e. skills for developing and deploying the context and culture of the employing situation specific skills. The relevance of organisation and likely to have, at best, a meta-skills was also highlighted by weak strategic role. Osbaldeston (1997) as a way of dealing with Such inadequate responses to SMD needs the pace and unpredictability of change, were also detected by Tovey (1991) and Mason which, in some organisations, had made (1993). They found that significant numbers planned continuous MD activity impossible. of companies had taken no MD action in McClelland (1994) reported that the biggest response to a strategic force, even though obstacle to SMD was that the mindset of they thought that it was relevant to the managers was linked to improving company. For example, only 28 per cent of individual effectiveness, rather than large companies had taken any action in organisational effectiveness. For example, response to global competition, and they might focus on their functional or task 11 per cent to information technology. needs. Instead, individual growth had to be Further, only a minority of those who had refocused to complement organisational taken action appeared to have done so on a growth ± for example when a manager co-ordinated and regular basis. Others relied returned from an external course. on an odd workshop or the fact that the topic Some of the problems of integrating SMD would be included on a business school with formal planning systems were programme on which a minority of managers highlighted by Hirsh and Reilly (1998, 1999) were sent. Hussey (1996) concluded that who looked at skills planning over an organisations were deluding themselves over 18-month period in IBM, NatWest and the the extent to which MD was reinforcing Post Office. They found that the biggest corporate strategy. This might be because no- changes affecting skills needs were not in the one had thought through the issues in formal (documented) corporate plan, and implementing their corporate strategies and sometimes the big changes came and went what new competencies managers should within the planning cycle. In practice, needs possess. were generated by specific change projects or Evidence that, to be effective, SMD must be high level messages from senior managers complemented by a commitment to strategic (about big issues or vision and values). planning activities was provided by Alternatively, they were identified through Newkirk-Moore and Bracker (1998). In one of local operating issues or job-based the few studies attempting to quantify the competency frameworks (though these link between business performance and tended to be focused on the current job and SMD, they examined the financial returns never caught up with developments). The made by 152 small US banks and correlated problem with the formal corporate (or this with the levels of both commitment to [ 298 ]
  8. 8. Paul Brown the strategic planning process and frequency that a key issue in MD is the balance between Seeking success through of strategic planning training. The banks individual and organisational development. strategic management which had embedded the concepts of It seems likely that many MD interventions development strategic planning into their culture were lie at this interface, combining elements of Journal of European Industrial Training described as having a strategic commitment both in some sort of equilibrium. These can 27/6 [2003] 292-303 to the planning process. They had continuous be termed holistic (or hybrid) programmes. monitoring, communication and evaluation Other interventions may be more polarised activities which kept strategic planning on in purpose, being either strategic (associated the agenda for the whole organisation. In with organisation development) or functional contrast, other banks either had no (intended to meet operational or individual recognisable planning activity or had a short needs). Ultimately, these tensions have to be term and prescriptive commitment to it ± resolved at the level of the individual often failing to manage the implementation manager: the result being the actual process for example. The study found that development activities (formal or informal) there was a significantly higher return on that the manager engages with. In a rational equity for those banks which had both a and predictable world these would be strategic commitment to planning and pre-planned and documented in a personal provided regular strategic management development plan. In reality, this plan would training. probably need constant updating to take In the UK many organisations have account of emergent needs and opportunities developed their own MD competency and to include learning recognised frameworks, (Stiles, 1999), sometimes retrospectively through reflection. Figure 3 starting with a generic model, which is illustrates these inter-relationships. modified to suit their own circumstances. It is not assumed that a holistic MD Such frameworks seem most likely to be programme is somehow superior to strategic behavioural models, defined in fairly simple or functional programmes. Patching (1998), for terms, rather than mimicking the complex example, contended that it is better to keep MD task based approach of the Management programmes focused on one particular Charter Initiative. They are usually purpose (i.e. one of the four quadrants in his expressed in language which is familiar to MD grid), while Woodall and Winstanley (1998) managers in the organisation, and reflect the advocated a balanced approach. organisation’s strategic orientation. This approach was outlined by Boam and Sparrow Effect of the business environment (1992) who related competencies to business A further framework, which could help as a life cycles and business environments. The guide to the types of MD intervention that relevance of any competence to a career may be most appropriate is proposed as a stream will rise and fall as the organisation matrix (Figure 4), combining organisation moves into new strategic phases. Emerging and individual development with the nature competencies may, for example, be of the business environment. The latter is associated with a move towards more classified as either static/slow to change or entrepreneurial, market driven approaches dynamic/discontinuous change. While professional and technical skills might The work of Grattan (1999) and Stiles (1999) at the same time be maturing. Other highlighted the implications of dynamic competencies may be transitional, relevant change. This included the role of high level for a short time to a new situation, or core ± broad competencies, performance enduring in importance whatever the management systems, ``informal’’ approaches strategy. to MD, involvement of middle managers and In these ways the otherwise static, or teamwork. Michael (1993) and Boshyk (2000) retrospective, nature of competencies might also pointed to the need to involve middle be avoided. Similarly, the reductionist managers in SMD in dynamic change nature of competencies can be overcome by situations. Dunphy (1997) and Boxall and identifying meta-skills, as suggested by Steeneveld (1999) highlighted the relevance of Osbaldeston (1997), Brown (1993), and integrating MD into the change process. The Meldrum and Atkinson (1998b). role of project based learning was stressed by Temporal (1990), Michael (1993), Boshyk (2000) and Osbaldeston and Barham (1992); particularly when change was rapid. The New conceptual frameworks for MD need to define competencies broadly, at a Individual and organisational development meta-competence level, was apparent from It has been seen (e.g. from Woodall and Burach et al. (1997), Osbaldeston (1997), and Winstanley, 1998; Patching, 1998; Cannon, Seibert et al. (1995) among others. This meant 1995; Burach et al., 1997; McClelland, 1994) that at the organisational level, the routine/ [ 299 ]
  9. 9. Paul Brown processual competencies had to be de- retrospective orientation, processual nature, Seeking success through emphasised (e.g. Burach et al., 1997; Swailes and the difficulty of dealing with the strategic management complexity of strategic management and development and Brown 1999), while remaining important for the individual. Hirsh and Reilly (1998, collective competence meant that their Journal of European Industrial Training 1999) and others found that linkage between application to SMD was limited, depending 27/6 [2003] 292-303 SMD and formal planning processes was on the degree of dynamism in the environment and whether the MD objective difficult ± though less so if change is not was at the organisational or individual level. rapid. The problems of competencies The matrix proposes that in more dynamic (e.g. Burgoyne, 1989), especially their and complex conditions there is greater emphasis on the process aspects of SMD Figure 3 because of a need for greater teamworking and Categories and drivers of management development networking. Learning at the individual level will often be a collaborative activity involving small teams and action learning. Meta-competencies will be required to give individuals adaptability and flexibility. There is also a requirement for new technical/ professional knowledge which may be met through self-development since it is not possible for all such learning to be pre-planned at the organisational level (because of the complexity of the business and/ or the speed of change). At the organisational level the steering is based on broad concepts of vision, values and core competencies, and driven by organisation-wide change initiatives and systems. Competency frameworks will be broad and dynamic, emphasising teamwork, creativity, flexibility, leadership and change management. In more simple/static conditions, a greater degree of centralised planning is possible, and learning can be planned in a more Figure 4 detailed way. There will probably be greater How the business environment influences MD reliance on formal methods as these can be planned to suit needs. The organisation is likely to be more bureaucratic and place less recognition on informal learning. Whole person development may be encouraged through organisation led initiatives such as outdoor MD. SMD will be more concerned with strategy implementation than formation, and middle managers are less likely to have an active part. Drivers and barriers for SMD The factors identified as drivers of successful SMD can be contrasted with factors acting as barriers, to produce a third conceptual framework, see Table III. This framework accommodates elements of ``best practice’’, and, though normative, provides a reference point for organisers of SMD. Formal (or deliberate) statements of strategy arising from a planning process provide a starting point for SMD. In such cases the organisation must have a high commitment to strategic planning so that it is embedded and not just a ritual. Even when there is a high commitment to strategic planning at the corporate or business level, it [ 300 ]
  10. 10. Paul Brown Table III Seeking success through Drivers and barriers for SMD strategic management development D river B arrier Journal of European Industrial Training P lanne d (or de lib erate) stra tegy (Grundy, 1998 ; E m ergent strategy (G rundy, 199 8; M ic hael, 199 3) 27/6 [2003] 292-303 H ussey, 199 6; B olt 19 93) H igh co m m itm e nt to strate gic pla nning (N ew kirk-M o ore Low c om m itm ent to H R strategic plan ning (Hu ssey, an d B ra cker, 19 98) 199 6; B rew ster and H egew isch, 1994 ; G rattan, 1999 ) M D coherent w ith strate gy and obje ctives (Te m poral, Fra gm ented M D re sponse s to strategic issue s (To vey, 19 90; B olt, 199 3; B urac h et al., 1997 ; W o odall and 199 1; M ason , 19 93) W instan ley, 199 8) M D seen as leve r for transform atio nal ch ange (Tys on, Sho rt-term ism of bu siness; failure to invest in long term 19 95; H uss ey, 19 96; M ic hael, 199 3) develo pm en t (G rattan, 1999 ; P urce ll, 1992 ) G oo d lin ka ge b etw een lin e and H R D m an agem e nt Inw ard-looking H R depa rtm ents (Seib ert et al., 1995 ) (B oshyk, 200 0; H orw itz, 1999 ) C ha m pio nship o f C EO , vision for M D com m unicated Lac k of em pha sis on HR in co rporate strategy (H irsh (C ann on, 1995; B olt, 1 993; M ichae l, 19 93; H irs h and R eilly, 199 8; G rund y, 1 998; S eib ert e t al., 19 95; an d R eilly 1 998 ; Bu ra ch et al., 19 97) H orw itz, 1 999 ) A nalys is o f M D ne eds derived fro m stra te gies D ifficulty tra nslating strate gic issues into M D (O sbaldeston an d Ba rh am , 1992 ; C ann on, 19 95) in te rventions (Tove y, 19 91; M aso n, 19 93; H uss ey, 199 6) Iden tifying organisation spe cific c ore c om pe tencies, M inds et o f m ana gers, em p hasising individ ual an d m eta-com p etenc ies (C anno n, 19 95; S tiles, effe ctiveness. Na rro w ly d efined co m pete ncy 19 99; S eib ert et al., 19 95; Osba lde sto n 1997 ; fram ew orks (M c Clelland, 1994 ; Sw ailes a nd B ro w n, M eldrum and Atkin son, 199 8) 199 9) R espo nsive M D and flexible c om pe te ncies to m ee t R igid p lans of H R ; static or re tros pective natu re o f dynam ics of strategy (Stiles, 19 99; B oa m a nd com peten cie s (Seibert et al., 199 5; Iles, 1 993; Sp arrow , 199 2) B urgoyne, 1 989) M D through projects, o n-the-job m ethods, integrated M D d ivo rc ed fro m rea l issues and im plem enta tion w ith m ana gem ent w ork (B os hyk, 20 00; T em po ra l, (B oshyk, 2000 ; Fre edm an , 200 0; Se ibert et a l., 19 90; M ic hae l, 199 3; S eibert et al., 19 95; 199 5) O sbaldeston a nd B arham 19 92) S uppo rtive lea rning environ m ent (M icha el, 1993; Lea rning organis ation id eals diffic ult to a chieve in B urac h et a l., 199 7; C airns, 1998 ; O sbald eston and pra ctice (D ovey, 19 97; Stacey, 2000 ) B arha m , 19 92) may be detached from a consideration of HR emphasise collective competence. Narrowly strategy. Where strategy is largely emergent defined competencies associated with the and not formally documented it may be more task effectiveness of individuals are of less difficult to provide direction to SMD. importance. Any competency framework SMD should be coherent with strategy and needs to be flexible enough to deal with the objectives, in a comprehensive way, rather dynamic nature of strategy, so the associated than a fragmented collection of individual MD programmes should not be derived from (often small scale) initiatives. SMD can act as rigid systems of HR planning. a key lever for transformational change, The MD methods used will be job-related within a long term perspective of and can include project and action learning organisational development. This may be approaches. Where possible project work difficult to achieve if the strategic should encompass implementation rather management is short-termist in nature. than stopping at the recommendation stage. SMD requires a high involvement from These methods should be complemented by a senior line managers, thus HR departments supportive learning environment ± though cannot be inward looking. Similarly, the the evidence is that this is difficult to championship of the CEO, and the achieve. communication of his/her vision is often This framework can be used as a diagnostic stressed. This places MD and HR high on the instrument when evaluating an SMD organisation’s strategic agenda. programme. It also provides guidance on good While MD needs should be derived from practice when designing a new programme. strategies it may prove difficult to translate The framework can be synthesised into a the strategic issues into MD interventions. It more simplified presentation of the key helps to identify specific core-competencies requirements for successful SMD, or meta-competencies which should be emphasising how each requirement builds developed, and SMD should, arguably, on the others (see Figure 5). [ 301 ]
  11. 11. Paul Brown Figure 5 to management development’’, Management Seeking success through Key requirements for successful SMD Education and Development, Vol. 20 No. 1, strategic management pp. 56-61. development Cairns, H. (1998), ``Global trends in executive Journal of European Industrial development’’, Journal of Workplace Training 27/6 [2003] 292-303 Learning, Vol. 10 No. 1. Cannon, F. (1995), ``Business-driven management development’’, Journal of European Industrial Training, Vol. 19 No. 2, pp. 26-31. Dovey, K. (1997), ``The learning organisation and the organisation of learning ± power, transformation and the search for form in learning organisations’’, Management Learning, Vol. 28 No. 3, pp. 331-49. Dunphy, D., Turner, D. and Crawford, M. (1997), ``Organisational learning as the creation of corporate competencies’’, Journal of Management Development, Vol. 16 No. 4. Freedman, N.J. (2000), ``Philips and action learning: from training to transformation’’, in Conclusions Boshyk, Y. (Ed.), Business Driven Action The three models synthesised in this paper Learning, Macmillan, Basingstoke. build on the consensus that emerges from Grattan, L., Hope, H.V., Stiles, P. and Truss, C. practitioner and academic findings in SMD. (Eds) (1999), Strategic Human Resource They help provide a better conceptual Management, Oxford University Press, understanding of the subject and are an aid Oxford. to programme design. There is, however, a Grundy, T. (1998), ``How are corporate strategy need for further structured empirical and human resource strategy linked?’’, Journal of General Management, Vol. 23 research to test these models and help No. 3, pp. 49-72. develop a better understanding of the Hamel, G. and Prahalad, C. (1993), ``Strategy as contingency based relationships which may stretch and leverage’’, Harvard Business exist. Because of the complexity of the Review, Vol. 71 No. 2, pp. 75-84. subject such research might best be Hansen, K.H. (2000), ``Motorola: combining case-study based. business projects with learning projects’’, in Boshyk Y. (Ed.), Business Driven Action References Learning, Macmillan, Basingstoke. Amit, R. and Schoemaker, P. (1993), ``Strategic Hirsh, W. and Reilly, P. (1998), ``Skills planning’’, assets and organisational rent’’, Strategic People Management, 9 July, pp. 38-41. Management Journal, Vol. 14, pp. 33-46. Hirsh, W. and Reilly, P. (1999), ``Planning for Boam, R. and Sparrow, P. (Eds) (1992), Focusing skills’’, paper presented at the Strategic on Human Resources: A Competency Based Planning Society Seminar, London, 18 March. Approach, McGraw-Hill, London. Horwitz, F. (1999), ``The emergence of strategic Bolt, J. (1993), ``Achieving the CEO’s agenda: training and development: the current state of education for executives’’, Management play’’, Journal of European Industrial Review, May, pp. 44-9. Training, Vol. 23 No. 4/5, pp. 180-90. Boshyk, Y. (2000), Business Driven Action Hussey, D. (1996), Business-driven Human Learning, Macmillan, Basingstoke. Resource Management, John Wiley & Sons, Boxall, P. and Steeneveld, M. (1999), ``Human Chichester. resource strategy and competitive advantage: Iles, P. (1993), ``Achieving strategic coherence in a longitudinal study of engineering HRD through competence-based management consultancies’’, Journal of Management and organisation development’’, Personnel Studies, Vol. 36 No. 4, pp. 443-61. Review, Vol. 22 No. 6, pp. 63-80. Brewster, C. and Hegewisch, A. (1994), Policy and Kolb, D (1984), Experiential Learning, Practice in European Human Resource Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ. Management, Routledge, London. Lees, S (1992), ``Ten faces of management Brown, R. (1993), ``Meta-competence: a recipe for development’’, Management Education and re-framing the competence debate’’, Personnel Development, Vol. 17 No. 2. Review, Vol. 22 No. 6, pp. 25-36. McClelland, (1994), ``Gaining competitive Burach, E.H., Hochwater, W. and Mathys, N.J. advantage through strategic management (1997), ``The new management development development (SMD)’’, Journal of Management paradigm’’, Human Resource Planning, Vol. 20 Development, Vol. 13 No. 15, pp. 4-13. No. 1, pp. 14-21. Mason, A. (1993), Management Training in Burgoyne, J. (1989), ``Creating the managerial Medium Sized UK Business Organisations, portfolio: building on competence approaches Harbridge Consulting Group, London. [ 302 ]
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