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Is the training train out of control? A case of evaluation failure from New Zealand

Claire Massey (Director of the NZ Centre for SME Research, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand)

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

ISSN: 1462-6004

Article publication date: 1 December 2004



There is a noticeable absence of robust debate over the decision to deliver free or subsidised training programmes to those running small to medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs), Many governments offer these schemes, despite the lack of empirical evidence that programmes aimed at individuals contribute positively to firm performance and therefore to economic growth. A similar situation probably exists in the firms that participate in training; a lack of robustness in the way they ensure a relationship between the training selected and the needs of employees in the context of their jobs. This paper explores the issues facing both firms and government agencies in New Zealand as they make decisions about investing in training as an enterprise development strategy. It is suggested that the way in which firms and government agencies behave in relation to training investment decisions is flawed: those involved follow received wisdom, act upon hunches and appear indifferent to ensuring that their respective investments are maximised. This situation will continue until it is realised that training is a key developmental strategy and gaining value from training events means that more rigour needs to be applied to planning and evaluation.



Massey, C. (2004), "Is the training train out of control? A case of evaluation failure from New Zealand", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 11 No. 4, pp. 458-466.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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