Some recent research lends support to the evolving idea that management is specific to the situation, so that neither the work nor development of managers can be considered without reference to many variables. Case studies of four organisations and interviews with more than fifty managers in the construction industry suggest that managers rely heavily on interpersonal, decisional and problem handling skills, which they consider are largely derived from their work experiences. Management development programmes may assist the learning of such skills but are unlikely to make their best contribution unless organisations acknowledge learning as a mainstream activity, giving more thought to their long range development strategies, evolving suitable ‘learning climates’ and encouraging their managers to take a greater measure of responsibility for their own development. On the basis of this research we concluded that the contribution of the management development practitioner should be more variable than has usually been the case. His role, like that of the manager, should be largely determined by the situation and he should be responsive to the particular needs of organisations and individual managers. The research supports the argument for greater emphasis on the relationship between managerial action and learning and suggests that the methods used should be more carefully selected to suit individual managers' learning styles and development objectives.
Burgess, R. and Fryer, B. (1978), "An Integrated Approach to the Development of Managers: The Role of the Management Development Practitioner", Personnel Review, Vol. 7 No. 3, pp. 35-40. https://doi.org/10.1108/eb055365Download as .RIS
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