Strategic activities in organization or at work places are approaches to human resource management that provide a framework to support long term business goals and outcomes, these approaches vary in relation to the business activities itself. Schwab (1980) noted that the growing body of strategic research can be seen in two interrelated ways which are the substantive and measurement streams.
The substantive stream refers to studies which emphasizes on the physiology or character of a theoretical relationship between independent and dependent variables while the measurement stream focuses on the outcome of the correlation between the underlying theoretical concept and operationalization itself (Venkatraman and Grant 1986).
This academic article tries to look at more of the measurement stream in relation to training, learning and development based on previous academic articles and my own general understanding of how truly these strategic these concepts are or not.
Learning training and development are human resource development activities and over time, two factors have influenced these concepts towards being part of the evolutional role of the formulating business strategy which are the centrality of information technology to business success and the sustainable competitive advantage offered by work force expertise (Swanson and Terraco 1995) Critical business issues from new marketing strategies to innovations in production technology are based on, among other factors, the performance capabilities of those expected to use these new work systems, this means that employee expertise itself has been expanded through effective programs of employee development.
Therefore activities of human resource development in the work place such as learning training and development have truly been strategic by maintaining the pace with the increasingly sophisticated information and production technologies that continue to diffuse throughout vital industries of the world (swanson and terraco1994).
The conceptualization of strategic human resource management as a management system which matches business concerns with human resource activities (Beer et al 1984;miles and snow 1984) have been referred to as a high performance work system(HPWS)(Bercker et al 1196) which is characterized by provision of employee development and training activities in with the business strategy(Aurthur 1994: Huselid 1995; Jackson and Schuler 1995;MacDuffie 1995) for example,selction, development and rewards involves the internal combination of procedures across the hr function. This shows the degree of emphases placed on the link between human resource activities and business need in relation to strategy (Baird and Meshoulam 1988; Lengnick-Hall and Lengnick-Hall 1988; Fisher 1989; Boxall 1992; Mabey and Iles 1993; Schuler 1992). Successful internal integration of HR activities results in organizational benefits (Becker et al. 1996). This essay of mine attempts to show the link among learning training and development as a strategy to organization.
Learning and development as an approach of strategy stands for how an organization make sure that the present and future learning and development activities support the achievements of its goals by improving skills and capabilities of individuals and teams.. it should be business directed, this means that it should be designed to help the attainment of business goals by promoting human capital management(Armstrong 2009). Learning can be defined as a means by which a person acquire and develop new knowledge, skills, capabilities, behaviors and attitudes” Armstrong 2011 pg 664. Honey and Mumford noted explained learning happens when people show that they know they didn’t prior to the time they are now. The enhancement of capabilities previously had which leads to skills, knowledge and attitudes through a continual process that tends to prepare people for more responsibities in the future is the act of learning. Estherby-smith et al (2000) agreed to the fact that there is a debate whether learning should be defined as change in cognition or behaviors, thus showing that researchers would agree with defining learning as a change in organizations knowledge and is a fuction of experience.
Learning and development as a strategy is concerned with creating a learning culture that will encourage learning and will provide a basis for planning and implementing learning activities and programmes(Armstrong 2011) this means that for an organization to use the concept of learning as a strategy is has to imbibe the learning culture which is one that learning that is practiced from top management, line managers and employees generally as an essential way of doing things in the firm which they commit to and continuously done. A learning organization was deined by senge(1990) as one where people learn together, where collective aspiration is set free, where there is nuturinng of expansive pattern of thinking and they continuously enlarge their capabilities to create outcomes they truly desire. I have previously mentioned development with learning because both of the them are related when one think about it generally but would like to define it now in the next paragraph. i would be explaining learning and developments together as being strategic.
Development can be defined as concerned withensuring that a perons ability and potential are grown and raised in the process of learning experiences or through self directed learning. Development is the end product of true learning which can be seen through changes in outcome of pre and post learning activities i. e the change from the present state of understanding and capabilitiy to a new and higher level of knowledge, skills and abilities. These processes of learning and developments wouldnot take place not to now talk of being strategic without individuals in the organization, this means that individual members are the organism through which organizational learning and development take place.
The knowledge embedded in that or those individuals have to be reposited to other people in the firm to gain competitive advantage which is the whole reason for the strategy in itself which are affected by the following factors explained by Argote(2011). Firstly, the experience of the organization affects the organizational learning,this done not by characterizing experience at a gross level , but taking a fine grained approach to describing or noting its elements along with various dimensions( Argote et al 2002). the purpose of taking this approach is to be be able to tell when experience is positive or negative in relation to the processes and outcomes in order to be able to explain relationships amongst the types of experience and to design the learning experience in order to be strategic about the learning.
Secondly is the process of organizational learning itself, which is conceived as having three processes: creating, retaining and transferring knowledge. Not much research has been done on creation unlike knowledge retention and transfer. Empirical research over at least the last twenty years that there would be significant difference innovative capabilities of a firm and its knowledge through it transfers within the firm (easterby et all 2008) this is key to the success of the ensuring of the strategy of the firm.
This depends on characteristics of the individual that has the knowledge, recipient, attributes of the knowledge and the knowledge transfer process itself as an mportant factor to developing learning capabilities which lead to competitive advantage of the firm (Grant 1996) Another factor is the that could lad to learning being a succes is thr stratetic management it self,peopke whoput these learning and development strategy into place itself. Dynamic capabilities which is an example of strategic management are impotant concepts in relation to organisational learning and its sub process. ‘a greater understanding of how dynamic capabilities develop through organizational learning is needed” Argate 2011 pg Contextuality is also another factor that affects learning which is characterized by the situation and envitonment in which the company finds it self.
Oragnisational learniong can do well in an environment which its stability varies with time or turbulent (herdberg 981) little inducement of learning occurs in an environment that’s stable while in a too turbulent environment, the organisation would not be able to interpret environmental responses(bierly and hamalainen 1995) if care is not taken,learning under ambiguity may occur which march and olsen 1975 defined as a situation where the environment is unanalysable and the learning cyle still continues and percieved as an interpretation or meaning. “ Knowledge capabilities are at the heart of the effectiveness of organizations. Since the market and competitive environment of all companies is rapidly changing, the value of existing capabilities will quickly decay, resulting in a lack of competitiveness. It is imperative for organizations to focus on developing their knowledge capabilities on an ongoing basis, or they will face extinction. Organizational development must be centered on the continual enhancement of knowledge capabilities, as the foundation of organizational effectiveness in all fields” Dawson 2000.
Armstrong(2009) identified the following elements needed for learning and development to be really strategic and they go follows: it should make a major contribution to the successful attainment of the organizations objective and investments: it should be integrated with and support the achievement of business and human resource strategies: it should be designed un such a way that it would achieve improvement in corporate functional and maximum development in skills and knowledge of people in the organization; equal opportunity for everyone in the organization to develop their skills and knowledge while attaining personal development through the framework of individual and self directed learning but still maintain the primary knowledge of knowing that this is dependent on the employee themselves who be guided and supported by their manager as necessary with the members of the hr department.