Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Development and Learning in Organizations: An International Journal, Volume 30, Issue 1
Anne Gimson is Editor at Strategic Developments International Ltd., UK.
How do we get more women into senior positions; how do we increase the numbers achieving a seat at what is termed “the top table”? Moving away from stereotypical assumptions and drawing on interviews with top sports coaches and existing literature, Inge Woudstra provides some intriguing views (pp. 3-5). Her workshop-tested ideas flag the potentially big impact of seemingly small differences in how men and women compete, find security and are motivated, and she calls for leaders to become what she labels “gender smart”.
Anders Ortenblad invites us all to his particular table, revisiting and revitalizing the long-standing term of “learning organization” (pp. 6-9). His “menu” metaphor offers a succinct “a la carte” option from which companies can choose those flavors and dishes that suit their context and tastes. His description of six starters (foundations), four main courses (learning methods) and two desserts (support mechanisms) will, literally, give you food for thought.
From this creative menu, we zoom in to examine the need for creativity and innovation in all aspects of organizational life. Koustab Ghosh proposes a useful model for developing the creative capacity of your business by using a SAP-LAP – “situation, actor, process – learning, action, performance” model, and emphasizes the need for leaders to develop their own skills to act as role models and mentors for others (pp. 10-14).
The thorny issue of achieving effective transfer of learning from costly, externally run executive programs remains, and is a particular issue for developing economies. The authors, Somashekhar Krishnamani and Yasmeen Haider, share their model which describes seven elements that facilitate effective transfer and shows how motivation came out as the linchpin in their research (pp. 15-18).
In “Training the trainer”, we hear the results of recent research that flags once again the need to understand the individual motivations of learners if training is to have any impact, to link interventions to organizational (and some might say individual) goals and to question the need for “directive instruction” versus a more collaborative style (pp. 23-25).
Another set of stereotypical assumptions is addressed in “Older workers’ knack for new tricks” (pp. 26-28). Some findings from research have indicated that older workers are less motivated to participate in training and other studies report higher motivation to learn. This report highlights that later-career workers need to be supported to recognize the learning potential within their jobs, to take advantage of formal and informal mentoring and to seek horizontal moves that provide new opportunities and challenges. Similarly, in “Why small firms shun T&D”, barriers of possible low employee motivation as well as the lack of time and money are identified (pp. 29-31). The research focuses on identifying employee opinion about the difficulties they face in taking part in formal training and development in small organizations.
Back to the table, there is much talk that it is already set for the next global financial crisis (Stewart, 2015). If the pundits turn out to be right, Binita Tiwari and Usha Lenka offer sound advice on how to maintain employee engagement in a post-recession environment (pp. 19-22). They highlight the importance of “psychological safety” and provide ideas on practical steps to take not only to retain talent but also to ensure people reengage with their work and the organization. If we start with the end in mind, might it also help some organizations reconsider how they go about “downsizing” in the first place?
And, finally, we leave the table to take a peek into the kitchen. Whether you are a fan of the encouragement and coaching of Jamie Oliver or the more directive, shock tactics of Gordon Ramsey, there may be much to learn from the world of restaurant kitchens. In “Shared Learning in Restaurant Kitchens”, the analysis of interviews with 12 professional chefs in Canada is shared and examples of how learning is facilitated in these frantic, high pressurized environments (pp. 32-34). The need to justify resources spent on learning in “business terms” might have value for many L&D teams in other forms of organization.
Stewart, H. (2015), “Beware the global financial crisis, part III”, The Guardian, available at: www.theguardian.com/business/2015/sep/18/beware-the-global-financial-crisis-part-iii (accessed 23 October 2015).