Needs Assessment Practices of Managers and Trainers
Spence, Neal E.
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This qualitative study examined several questions about needs assessment activities in organizations. Does the latest knowledge about needs assessment within the training and development profession contrast with actual practice and is this same knowledge utilized by managers and others making training decisions in the workplace? Do managers have their own body of knowledge that is unappreciated by the training and development professional or is there a practical body of thought that determines when training will be performed in the organization? What techniques have managers and other members of the organization devised to determine training needs? Do any of these suggest matters that training and development professionals should address? In the context of this study, managers performed many of the same activities that would be considered essential to a structured needs assessment advocated by training and development professionals. These activities were not categorized by the participants as needs assessment. Desirable organizational goals were sufficiently rewarding to justify substantial investment in preparation. Additional research might suggest ways to measure the cost and benefit of needs assessment in financial terms and reveal ways to that some of the less quantifiable goals can be expressed in a common language for the training profession and managers.
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