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Article
Publication date: 2 May 2017

Tom Short and Roger McL. Harris

This paper aims to explore why harmonisation, given its potential, is so difficult to achieve. It analyses the issues and challenges in achieving harmonisation of training…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore why harmonisation, given its potential, is so difficult to achieve. It analyses the issues and challenges in achieving harmonisation of training and development across an industry.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach was a meta-analysis of six research projects undertaken in the Australian rail industry. These projects varied in duration from 12-24 months. Between 2009 and 2013, rail employees in varying roles and levels of seniority, including middle managers, front-line supervisors, rail incident investigators, track workers and drivers, were interviewed (n = 176) and surveyed (n = 341).

Findings

The meta-analysis identified a range of characteristics associated with harmonisation. It uncovered three categories of harmonisation, seven types of risk modelled in a layered risk pyramid and analysed key structural, environmental and organisational barriers to harmonisation. The paper concludes that harmonisation struggles to gain strategic significance and is hampered by operational pragmatism.

Research limitations/implications

There are few published papers examining harmonisation across companies or based on meta-analyses, especially qualitatively. Despite limitations of insufficient detail to allow close analysis, potentially variable quality data across projects from which to develop a meta-analysis and the danger of comparing apples with oranges, more attempts using this approach would be helpful in gaining nuanced insights into an industry.

Practical implications

Achieving industry harmonisation requires significant change in the mindset of executives. To enhance the chances of harmonisation, there is need for a strong national entity with overview of the entire industry, high-quality training and development resources and activities and cost-benefit analyses and active campaigns. A major outcome of this research is the risk pyramid, which can be used by managers as a strategic evaluation tool. By using such tools based on sound research, leaders can be equipped to make informed decisions and reduce downstream risks.

Originality/value

This research has value in extending the literature in two main ways: through examining the notion of harmonisation across an industry as distinct from within organisations that has been the focus of most studies and through using qualitative meta-analysis in a field dominated by quantitative approaches. It analyses the grey areas between rhetoric about its potential and difficulties in its achievement.

Details

European Journal of Training and Development, vol. 41 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-9012

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 6 November 2017

This paper aims to review the latest management developments across the globe and pinpoint practical implications from cutting-edge research and case studies.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to review the latest management developments across the globe and pinpoint practical implications from cutting-edge research and case studies.

Design/methodology/approach

This briefing is prepared by an independent writer who adds their own impartial comments and places the articles in context.

Findings

The fragmented nature of the rail industry in Australia makes harmonization of training and development a significant challenge. However, by identifying key risks and obstacles, the sector will be better equipped to devise effective strategies that can help unification to be gradually achieved.

Practical implications

The paper provides strategic insights and practical thinking that have influenced some of the world’s leading organizations.

Originality/value

The briefing saves busy executives and researchers hours of reading time by selecting only the very best, most pertinent information and presenting it in a condensed and easy-to-digest format

Details

Development and Learning in Organizations: An International Journal, vol. 31 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7282

Keywords

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