The latest Bourton Group survey on trends and opinions in UK industry looks at the likely operational impact of four key areas of change: globalisation; the increasing power of the customer; social and environmental; and e‐business. Companies are gearing up uncertainly to face what are seen as irresistible and “seismic” forces for change in the short and medium term, with significant implications for training and development. Critically, in seeking greater flexibility and responsiveness organisations are moving towards flatter team‐based structures, multi‐skilling and a more diverse workforce. As a result, training is increasingly focused on the acquisition of broad competencies such as change orientation, leadership and problem solving – rather than functional skills, with a reduced dependence on top‐down prescriptive teaching as employees assume greater responsibility for their own learning.
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