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Management development in Ireland: justifying the investment

Marion O'Connor (Fáilte Ireland, Dublin, Ireland)
John Mangan (Business School, University of Hull, Hull, UK)
John Cullen (Irish Management Institute, Dublin, Ireland)

Journal of Management Development

ISSN: 0262-1711

Article publication date: 1 April 2006




Drawing upon survey and interview data, this research paper aims to explore the usage and impact of management development processes and practices in Ireland from an organisational perspective.


The paper examines numerous related issues including: the issue of aligning management development needs to business strategy; the usage of management development methods; the development of high potential managers; and the assignment of responsibility for management development. Tbe paper is the result of a study which included a combination of 13 semi‐structured interviews with HR/training managers and the completion of postal questionnaires by 53 respondents from the HR/training management population in Ireland from a cross section of organisations.


The study suggests that organisations are both concerned for their management population, see their development as a key priority and are willing to invest in them. Organisations are experimenting with the usage of numerous developmental methods and are particularly aware of the benefits achieved from informal methods. Both reactive and ad‐hoc approaches to management development were observed.


This paper adds value to management learning and education theory and concludes by highlighting the fact that before initiating management development activities, organisations must question their rationale for investing resources in development. Failing to devote time at the initiation stage of a management development activity will result in organisations trying to “reverse engineer” and justify developmental initiatives upon completion. Organisations must become more acutely aware of the indirect benefits that accrue from management development instead of focusing all attention to the visible direct outcomes.



O'Connor, M., Mangan, J. and Cullen, J. (2006), "Management development in Ireland: justifying the investment", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 25 No. 4, pp. 325-349.



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Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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