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Personal development plans: evidence from research on their use

Ben Bennett (Strategic Developments International.)

Development and Learning in Organizations

ISSN: 1477-7282

Article publication date: 1 November 2006




The article aims to investigate personal development plans (PDPs), which have become increasingly popular in organizations as perceived demands for staff to become more adaptable, flexible and empowered have grown in response to internal and external organizational change. The adoption of PDPs is seen to be in tune with the times.


This article draws from research into work based learning by Strategic Developments International.


The study shows that, despite their popularity, PDPs are used patchily and only a few organizations use them well. One problem is that “Personal” can come to mean disconnected from work or from the organization's strategy. Second, we see too often that these plans stay as interesting plans that do not get actioned. A third concern is that the PDP is often very short term. However, just because many people and organizations use PDPs badly does not undermine the value of planned learning. It just means that learners and their managers need to manage the process well so that they and their organization get the maximum value from it.


The article provides guidance on how to get the best from the PDP process.



Bennett, B. (2006), "Personal development plans: evidence from research on their use", Development and Learning in Organizations, Vol. 20 No. 6, pp. 13-15.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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