Committee Organizational Structure

A Committee or a task force is the most important form of a formal group appointed by the management to perform certain functions or tasks. Committees and task forces have become more and more necessary and important, as the organization grows larger and more complex. Because of collective information and analysis, committees are more likely to come up with solutions to complex problems.

Committee Organizational Structure

Committees are prevalent in all types of organizations. They are in the government, educational, religious, and business organizations. Even the board of directors of an organization is a form of a committee. Other prevalent types in business are finance committees, audit committees, grievance committees, quality circles, and so on.

There is some form of a formal committee on every level of the organization . They also perform so many different functions. They might act in an advisory capacity or in a decision-making capacity where their decisions are enforceable. These committees are basically set up for the following purposes:

  • The committees are good for a where organizational members freely exchange ideas.
  • With the exchange of these ideas, some suggestions and recommendations can be generated that may prove useful for the organization.
  • The existing problems in the organization can be discussed within the committee forum and some new ideas for solving these problems can be introduced.
  • Some committees are formed to assist in the development and establishment of organizational policies.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Committees

The committees provide an excellent training ground for young executives. They also provide opportunities for personal development that individuals may not be able to get on their own.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Committees

Advantages of Committees

1. pooling of opinions.

The members bring in different backgrounds, values, viewpoints, and abilities. These wide-ranging abilities result in a greater knowledge base, that results in better quality decisions. Additionally, group deliberations generally ensure a thorough consideration of problems from all angles and alternative points of view before arriving at a decision. This would not be possible if the same problem was looked at by a single executive.

2. Improved cooperation

The members of the committee usually get to know each other well and thus see each other’s point of view with respect. They are willing to cooperate and coordinate , especially when they become aware of their role and how their decisions are going to affect the entire organization.

3. Motivation

From a human standpoint, the biggest advantage of committees may be increased motivation and commitment derived from participation in the committee deliberations and indirectly in important organizational affairs. Also, when the committee consists of managers and subordinates, it gives the subordinates some degree of recognition and importance.

4. Representation

Since the committee members may have different interests and opinions that may be opposed to each other, the process of committee deliberations gives a critical viewpoint and balanced outcome of these different representations. However, even though a committee should be highly representative of all interests, the capabilities of the members should take precedence over the representation.

Committee Organizational Structure

5. Dispersion of power

While autocratic authority makes decision making and implementation faster and easier, it may lead to misuse of power and wrong decisions. However, by spreading authority and responsibility for all committee members, this problem can be eliminated.

6. Executive training

The committees provide an excellent training ground for young executives. They also provide opportunities for personal development that individuals may not be able to get on their own. In the committees, they learn the value of interaction, human relations , and group dynamics. They get exposed to various viewpoints and tend to think in a liberal manner and get to understand how collective decisions are made. Such type of exposure and experience enables them to take on an integrative view of solving various organizational problems.

7. Continuity

Most committees do not replace all of their members at some time so that some new members join to replace some old members while the other members remain and thus the continuity of operations is maintained. The U.S. Senate works on this basis so that every two years there is an election for one: third of the total Senate.

8. Communication

A committee can be an excellent forum for management and workers to have simultaneous communication and discuss matters of common interest in an atmosphere of goodwill and understanding and reach some mutually benefiting conclusions.

9. Better chances of recommendations to be accepted

A committee recommendation is much more likely to be accepted than an individual recommendation.

Disadvantages of Committees

1. time and cost.

The very structure of the committee is a costly affair in terms of money and time. The nature of the committee is such that everyone has an equal chance to speak out and take part in discussions and this can be very time-consuming.

2. Compromise

Usually, there is a tendency to present unanimous decisions and hence a majority viewpoint is token as representative even when the minority viewpoint is valid. This may result in premature agreements and decisions of mediocre quality The minority may be unwilling to pursue their viewpoints for fear that they will stand out and maybe labeled as uncooperative.

3. Personal prejudice

Sometimes, winning an argument or getting back at somebody for personal reasons may give the problem a secondary priority, thus diluting the strength of the decision.

Committee Organizational Structure

4. Logrolling

This term is coined for wheeling and dealing with political interests and purposes. These political pressures may come from the top management that wants a particular point of view to dominate in the committee discussions.

5. The strain on interpersonal relations

In committee meetings, there is a tendency that everybody wants to please everybody else, otherwise, any displeasure within the committee can strain working relations outside the committee too.

6. Lack of effectiveness

Certain issues are better solved by individuals rather than committees. The committees are very useful in handling grievances and interdepartmental problems, but they are not effective in formulating such policies where individual initiative and creativity are involved.

committee assignment training method advantages and disadvantages

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I am a mother of a lovely kid, and an avid fan technology, computing and management related topics. I hold a degree in MBA from well known management college in India. After completing my post graduation I thought to start a website where I can share management related concepts with rest of the people.

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9 Techniques To Create The Best Management Training Program

management training

Rochelle van Rensburg | Mar, 30 2021

Table of Contents

Empowering Your Workforce: 9 Best Management Training Techniques

Managers of people (versus products) are an important part of any company. They connect the managing director with the employees, helping ensure effective internal communication and a productive organization.

Despite this, many companies prioritize revenue growth over management training . And because of this, management training can be pushed down the list of priorities. Many employees promoted to managerial positions earned their positions by excelling in their previous jobs. But this doesn’t necessarily mean they have the tools needed to manage their staff effectively.

Specific training in management teaches skills like supervising employees , resolving conflicts, conducting evaluations, and ensuring the company is legally compliant. But while managers realize the importance of training for their own team, they don’t always invest in training for themselves.

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What does management training mean, and how do you determine what you should teach your managers?

Management training for new managers teaches them leadership skills if they haven’t held managerial positions before. However, managerial training isn’t just applicable to new managers . Senior managers also benefit from regular training sessions to further develop their skills in today’s technology-centric workplace, where changes occur rapidly and often.

Introduction To Management For New Managers

Managers are the glue that holds the organization together. Investing in management training educates your managers and ensures a healthy workplace culture and happy employees.

Training can be presented through online technology, in-house training, or hiring a consultant, but the big question is: How to train managers and what are the best managerial training techniques?

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Below are the nine effective training techniques:

  • Self-directed Training
  • Training Conducted by Outside Organizations
  • Job rotation
  • Management games
  • Understudy training
  • Action training
  • Committee assignment

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1. Coaching

An experienced individual with excellent management skills handles this training technique, which helps the new manager meet specific goals within a certain timeframe. The coach and trainee decide how they want to work together.

The new manager must be open to change and be receptive to feedback . He or she is accountable to the coach, who should motivate the new manager with valuable and positive feedback to help him or her grow and develop management skills.

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2. Mentoring

This technique requires matching a new manager with a senior and experienced manager with excellent management knowledge to share their expertise. For proper mentoring to take place, the mentor should not be a direct supervisor. Mentoring can be relatively inexpensive because inside personnel can be utilized.

The trainee must be willing to learn and comfortable sharing failures and successes. Furthermore, the mentor must take the new manager under their wing and offer instruction and advice when necessary.

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3. Self-directed training

Companies may allow this technique if the candidate is a self-starter. It’s inexpensive, as these candidates are self-motivated and pursue their own training. They make their own decisions about what training and development experiences they need.

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4. Training conducted by outside organizations

Business schools and consulting firms offer this type of training. It can be quite expensive on a per-trainee basis if done in person. Online courses and seminars will help save on hotel and travel costs and are typically less expensive per seat.

Skills are mostly taught through various activities, like role-playing. This can be an effective way to provide training on soft skills like delegation, communication , and motivation .

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9 Techniques To Create The Best Management Training Program

5. Job rotation

Job rotation involves moving employees laterally between jobs in a company. These moves happen between positions on the same level and are not considered promotions. They are also temporary, enabling people to move back to their original position after a specific time.

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Job rotation has certain advantages and disadvantages for both the employer and the employee. The advantages of job rotation for the employer are that employees learn additional skills to perform different jobs and are equipped to fill in for each other if necessary. Employee placement is also less of a problem if a critically important employee suddenly leaves the company. When it comes to employees, job rotation reduces boredom and can motivate a person to learn something new.

Unfortunately, job rotation also has disadvantages. This includes inefficiencies in the workplace due to interruptions in workflow. Plus, disgruntled employees who like the job they’re currently in may not want to move to another position.

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6. Management games

Business management games are a training method for both new and experienced managers. They are a creative way for managers to develop their skills in a safe environment.

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The training is based on an artificial environment that simulates a real managerial situation in the organization. After being presented with these simulations, management trainees must test their skills and apply an effective plan. Once they decide on their approach, they are provided with the consequences of their decisions.

Management games can take different forms, such as desktop business games, computer games, and team-building games.

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7. Understudy training

Understudy training means the trainee must learn and absorb everything from an experienced manager. The end goal is for the understudy to step into the job and take over if necessary. The understudy must do assignments to practice what the manager does and get the opportunity to observe the manager operating on the job.

The manager and understudy should communicate often and well for this training technique to be successful. Tasks and decision-making should be discussed. Watching and participating is an essential part of the training process.

The advantage of understudy training is that the manager can see how the trainee is progressing. The understudy is in a protected environment, experiencing real-life situations firsthand. The disadvantage of understudy training is the manager must cover all aspects of the role, which can be time-consuming. The understudy cannot just train under any manager. It must be a senior manager with excellent management skills.

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8. Action learning

This technique is a learning style where individuals control their own learning experience. It goes hand-in-hand with self-directed training. Also known as personal learning , action learning is gaining popularity among individuals and companies.

In today’s world, millions of people rely on the internet for information and knowledge. In the workplace, employees look to the Internet to replace formal training curricula. Companies also encourage this learning technique because it is less expensive and is attractive to tech-savvy employees.

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9. Committee assignments

With this method, trainees have to work together in a team to solve an actual organizational problem. This develops team spirit among employees to achieve a common goal.

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Ensuring that your managers are adequately trained is one of the best investments you can make for your company. Creating an effective managers training program allows your managers to grow and develop their managerial skills, ensuring they are an asset to your company.

Coggno has a wide range of online management training programmes. You can look at our free courses and course catalog here .

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  9. LMS Training Making Business More Resilient

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committee assignment training method advantages and disadvantages

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committee assignment training method advantages and disadvantages

Coaching & Understudy Assignments As Management Training Methods

by Barbara Bean-Mellinger

Published on 14 Jun 2019

Study after study reveals the sad fact that at least half of new managers fail in their role within two years of their promotion to management. The main reason they gave – nearly 60 percent of the time – was that they were unprepared for their new roles because they received no management training at all, while 87 percent wished they had received more training. So if you're looking into different management training methods, you're empowering your managers to be successful. Two types of management training are coaching and understudy training for management roles.

Understanding Understudy Training

Like the understudy for a major role in a play, understudy training for management roles involves learning everything the manager does to be able to step into the role and take it over. The difference is that in management training, the understudy isn't on call in case the manager gets the flu; the understudy will definitely be stepping into the role. Therefore, learning to do it well is paramount.

Ideally, the understudy will be given the opportunity to both observe the manager in the job and be given assignments to practice some of what the manager does . Understudy training works best if the manager and understudy communicate well and often, discussing the task ahead and decisions to be made, watching or participating as an on-the-job training process , and reviewing the outcomes.

For example, after observing her manager in meetings where managerial decisions were made, the seasoned manager might assign the understudy to prepare for an upcoming meeting where she will support the manager by giving a presentation about upcoming tasks. She will plan her presentation, review it with her manager and make any changes he suggests. After giving the presentation during the meeting, she'll discuss with her manager where she believes she did well and what she could have done better. Then the manager will give his critique and advice, and they'll discuss the next steps and a new assignment.

Examining Advantages/Disadvantages of Understudy Training

There are both advantages and disadvantages of understudy training, mostly having to do with how it is handled.

Advantages of understudy training:

  • People learn best through hands-on activities, and understudy training is designed to put the understudy in real situations with the manager to see the consequences first-hand.
  • Understudy training is still a protected environment, where the manager is there to guide the understudy every step of the way.
  • Unlike training courses or workshops, the manager can see how the trainee is progressing and spend more time where it's needed.

Disadvantages of understudy training:

  • Must be understudying an effective manager with good management skills.
  • Time-consuming; the manager must put continuous effort into the training.
  • The manager must cover all aspects of the role.
  • If trainee still has a current job while training for management, he has to juggle both and still maintain proficiency in current role.

Coaching and Being Coached

When you think of the coaches you had through the years, or those you've observed leading major sports teams, the best at motivating their players aren't the ones making headlines by throwing chairs or getting in a player's face. It's the coaches who teach, guide, encourage and impart wisdom , who tell their players, "You can do this, and I'll show you how" instead of, "You'd better do this or else."

A new manager learns what he is taught by a seasoned manager, or how he sees his manager behaving. Leading by example doesn't mean showing a new manager how to keep her direct reports in line; it means being an encouraging coach who guides her employees to do great things because that's the type of management they have seen. New managers who are coached with encouragement, rather than criticism, turn out to be managers who coach their teams with encouragement and wise counsel instead of a punitive, authoritarian style.

Comparing Advantages/Disadvantages of Coaching Style

Like any type of management training, coaching has advantages and disadvantages. Advantages of the coaching style of management training include:

  • Provides useful advice instead of criticism.
  • Motivates with feedback that helps manager improve.
  • Shows new managers a positive style they can adopt with their teams.

Disadvantages of coaching style of management training include:

  • New managers must have trainers who provide positive but practical examples. 
  • Being positive isn't enough; valuable coaching requires a thoughtful plan for continuous training.

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Top 8 On The Job training Methods

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Placing your bets on internal training and development will always win over paid campaigns and advertisements. In today’s competitive market, a significant proportion of revenue is generated from well-trained and motivated employees.

The growth and development of an entity rely on the employees’ abilities to acquire skills and positive behaviors and retention of knowledge along with other elements.

There’s an infinite pool of potential experts around the world. The only thing hindering them from being discovered is a lack of proper training.

Appropriate training and opportunities will use their new skills and help reshape how we think about inspiring the future workforce.

On the job training goes by the principle of ‘learning by doing,’ implying that the workers learn the job while performing it within the work environment. This type of training environment is beneficial for both the employees as well as the employers.

What is on the job training?

Often called ‘near the job training’ or ‘hands-on training,’ it involves the creation of a simulated work environment, and the emphasis is put on both learning and production.

While practicing this method, employees get accustomed to the skills and knowledge that are required of them. They assist them in how to perform in an actual work environment and conditions that can arise.

The bright side here is that the organizations don’t have to spend any extra penny on classroom setups or a simulated environment for imparting training to the workers.

It’s considered a practical type of training where many employees are instructed and trained for the same job.

When on the job training is in action, a team member (trainee) works alongside a more experienced colleague (trainer), so they can harness new skills and expertise within the official space.

A traditional form of career development that people have been practicing for centuries. Observing someone more experienced and knowledgeable polish their own skills and knowledge. To this day, it’s a method used widely as the results are most effective and efficient and suit every type of workplace.

On-the-Job Training Methods

1) job rotations.

Under the job rotation, employees are frequently juggled between different but associated jobs, with the idea of making them familiar with multiple job backgrounds.

This develops an out-of-the-box environment within the organization and keeps an energetic and unique air around the workforce. Instead of doing the same thing repeatedly, it helps create a rapport with different workers in the organization.

2) Mentoring

Mentoring is the process wherein a senior or more experienced person, i.e., the mentor, is assigned to act as a guide, advisor, counselor, etc., to the one that needs the training, i.e., the mentee.

A senior or a manager gives instructions to their immediate subordinate for them to carry out the needed function.

A one-on-one training method, where the senior guiding a person is viewed as a mentor to the subordinate and guides him in every needed situation.

3) Job Instruction

The trainer fabricates a structured training program in this process. The employee is provided with instructions on how to carry out the functions.

During the initial steps, an overview of the job alongside the expected outcomes is defined for the trainee. Throughout the process, the employees’ capabilities needed for the tasks are tested by the trainer.

Along the way, the employees perform the job as per their acquired skills, and if need be, they can ask for feedback and reviews as well.

4) Committee Assignments

In committee assignments, trainees are required to find solutions for the actual organizational problems. All the trainees have to work together as one to find and offer a solution to the said problem.

This method also generates a sense of team spirit within the employees which eventually takes the whole organization towards its goals.

5) Internship Training  

Internships are a form of on the job training wherein students or freshers are trained professionally to start or enhance their skills and expertise. The theoretical knowledge gained in classrooms is executed practically here.

Both theoretical and practical aspects are provided to the trainees in an internship environment.

6) Job Shadowing

As the term suggests, job shadowing is to become a literal shadow of a person doing the work. The trainee scrutinizes their trainer with clear focus and understands the work to be done by watching them. This helps a fresher in seeing what they are supposed to do.

Even experienced employees can practice the shadowing method as they can learn new techniques, train their soft skills, and view everything work related from a different perspective.

7) Self-instructional training

While rehearsing the self-instructional method, the person learns and enhances their skill through their own guidance with the assistance of a diverse range of resources.

It’s a self-initiated system that trainees must take up independently. The edge that on hands training has over others is that a person learns and enhances their skills at their own pace, and no trainer is interfering.

8) Apprenticeship

In apprentice training, people requiring long-term learning are usually involved, from trainees in technical fields to trade and craft fields, who need quality training to become a professional.

The fields in apprentice training need respectable skills and knowledge. Thus, the long-term training process to polish every aspect.

Apprenticeship is a healthy fuse of on the job and classroom training and is carried out under professional supervision. The time frame can range anywhere from 1 to 4 years, as the learning process continues until the apprentices become experts in their fields.

Benefits of on the job training 

On the job training is still scarce in many industries, but if practiced correctly, it can augment the productivity and effectiveness of any organization.

From cost-effective training to a motivated workforce, these practices favor the entire organization in many more aspects. Entities like Forbes also predicted that the future of workforce is through learning and development.

The prime benefits both employees and employers can reap from near job training are highlighted below to give a brief overview;

  • Accelerated way of training with authentic experience
  • Swift and smooth adaptation to a new job
  • Trainees learn to perform their tasks from the initial stage
  • Retention of quality employees
  • Assists in building a robust team spirit
  • Modest and economical way of learning and enhancing skills
  • Instantaneous elevation in productivity levels
  • Cost-effective and fruitful for the organizations
  • Enhanced progression of knowledge, skills, and expertise.
  • Flexible and dynamic learning, etc.

On the job training takes place in diverse forms – from methodical formats and formal learning curriculums to indistinct and impromptu bursts of training activity.

Discovering an appropriate training mix for organizations and their employees is pivotal. This boosts the employees’ productivity and morale and the overall company’s efficiency.

Entities like Zimyo provide their workforce with the best employee experience by implementing several practices. On the job training is one such activity in their pattern. They ensure a quality environment for their workforce through performance management software and other components.

Both the employers and the employees gain tangible benefits from on the job training. Organizations ensure that employees have practical skills and understanding to carry out their roles precisely and competently.

Besides that, it is also considered a time and cost-effective way of undertaking professional tasks. The training methods can be tailored to address any employee’s individual needs, making them feel motivated and valued.

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What is On-the-Job Training?

What is the difference between on-the-job training and off-the-job training, what is the difference between on-the-job training and classroom training, why is on-the-job training important, structured vs unstructured ojt, on-the-job training examples, how to create an on-the-job training program, on-the-job training best practices, challenges & solutions for ojt, advantages & disadvantages of on-the-job training, on-the-job training evaluation, impact of technology on ojt, on-the-job training roles, on-the-job training regulations, how long does on-the-job training last, what jobs provide on-the-job training, is on-the-job training paid, should i include ojt on my resume, assess and train on the job with cloud assess.

On-the-Job Training (OJT) is a form of training that occurs while the trainee is performing their work duties. OJT aims to enhance the trainee’s performance in their specific job or role in a practical environment. It emphasises the real-world application of skills within the actual work environment. Trainees learn by doing the actual tasks related to their job or by learning from a senior with more experience.

The difference between on-the-job training and off-the-job training is that OJT usually takes place during work hours while off-the-job training occurs outside of work hours. On-the-job training is integrated into the trainee’s work performance. Off-the-job training, while often related to the trainee’s job, is separate from their work performance.

The difference between on-the-job training and classroom training lies primarily in the setting and approach to learning. On-the-job training is a hands-on method where employees learn by doing, typically at their place of work. Classroom training is often considered a form of off-the-job training. Classroom training occurs in a more traditional, educational setting, away from the direct pressures and context of the work environment.

Classroom training often involves a more theoretical or structured approach, where employees learn from instructors or facilitators through lectures, discussions, and interactive activities. This type of training is beneficial for comprehensive understanding of concepts, principles, and broader skill development that may not be specific to immediate job tasks but are essential for professional growth and development.

On-the-job training is important for industries because it creates a workforce that is better equipped to do their jobs. Without proficient workers, industries are susceptible to declining into stagnation or mediocrity. Aside from being crucial to an industry’s continued growth, OJT is also significant to two key industry stakeholders (the business and employees) for the following reasons:

Importance of OJT for the Business

On-the-job training is important for the business for the following reasons:

  • OJT enhances the work performance of the employee, intern, or apprentice.
  • OJT helps strengthen the potential for innovation and creativity since it exposes trainees to the practical implications of their jobs.
  • OJT improves employee retention because it increases job satisfaction and shows the business prioritisation of employee development.

Importance of OJT for Employees

On-the-job training is important for both current and potential employees (such as interns and apprentices) because:

  • OJT makes employees more confident in their ability to do their work.
  • OJT ensures that current employees receive instruction that is highly relevant to their actual job.
  • OJT prepares employees for their future roles in the workforce.
  • OJT is also essential for workers to obtain the practical skills sought after in their industry.

Structured On-the-Job Training (S-OJT) is proactively implemented by employers, such as through designating a mentor, coach, or trainer for the trainee and assigning trainees specific tasks to improve their performance. On the other hand, unstructured OJT typically occurs spontaneously or as a consequence of other work activities.

Structured OJT often comes with a training plan that outlines a step-by-step process for the trainee’s skill development and knowledge acquisition. Furthermore, there are specific training outcomes that S-OJT aims to achieve through adherence to the plan. In contrast, unstructured OJT does not follow a training plan nor usually have defined training outcomes.

The types of on-the-job training are also known as on-the-job training methods, techniques, and strategies. Each of these examples is important to consider and learn more about in order to successfully upskill your workforce. For a more comprehensive look at the examples of on-the-job training , read our detailed guide.

1. Internship

An internship is a type of structured on-the-job training that students or newly-graduated professionals take to gain real-world experience. Internships are usually short-term, lasting a couple of months at most. The goal of an internship is not necessarily to prepare the trainee for employment in that specific workplace or industry. Instead, its primary goal is to expose the trainee to the world of work.

2. Apprenticeship

An apprenticeship is a type of structured on-the-job training that is generally more formal than an internship. Students, newly-graduated professionals, and even those with years of working experience can be in apprenticeships. Unlike an internship, an apprenticeship focuses on a specific profession or discipline. Its goal is to prepare the trainee to work in that profession or become skilled in that particular discipline.

3. Coaching

Coaching is a type of structured on-the-job training that employees receive to increase their competency in a task or aspect of their role. Coaches and coachees typically have a strictly professional relationship that prioritises the achievement of training outcomes. Coaching also involves close supervision of trainee progress. Coaches can thus provide timely and detailed interventions to help coachees reach their goals.

4. Mentoring

While it can be structured, mentoring usually veers towards unstructured on-the-job training. Unlike coaching, the goal of mentoring is to improve the trainee’s performance of their role as a whole (instead of a particular aspect or task). Furthermore, mentees have a closer relationship with their mentors and may seek their advice on matters outside of work. Mentors thus play a greater role in the overall development of the trainee.

5. Job Rotation

Job rotation is a type of structured on-the-job training that allows employees to experience multiple roles within an organisation. Job rotations are often applied to the entire workforce and involve regularly moving employees to different roles. The key element of job rotation OJT is change, whether to another position, team, department, or location. Job rotations require rigorous planning and extensive coordination on the part of the organisation.

6. Induction On-the-Job Training

Induction on-the-job training is part of the wider onboarding process. While onboarding or induction training in general focuses on welcoming newly-hired employees to the organisation, the goal of induction OJT is to train newly-hired employees to do their job. For example, organisational policies on employee conduct might be discussed in induction training but not in induction on-the-job training unless the policy or conduct is specific to the employee’s job.

7. Job Instruction Training

Job Instruction Training (JIT) is a type of formal on-the-job training that was conceptualised by Channing Rice Dooley for Training Within Industry (TWI), a service provided to manufacturers of war materials during World War II. In JIT, the trainer demonstrates the task to the trainee and then asks the trainee to perform the task. After this initial session, the trainer also conducts follow-up checks to ensure that the trainee continues to perform the task correctly and safely.

8. Task Delegation

Task delegation is a type of unstructured on-the-job training that occurs when managers assign higher-level tasks to their junior co-workers. Typically, these tasks were supposed to be performed by the managers themselves but were instead delegated for any number of reasons. The reason could be to reduce the manager’s workload or to simply give the employee more responsibility and hands-on experience.

9. Committee Assignment

Committee assignment is a type of unstructured on-the-job training that occurs when employees form a committee to accomplish a specific objective. Unlike task delegation, the focus is on the employee’s role within the committee and their corresponding assignment. It can be described as the professional equivalent of group projects but with greater clarity in the division of tasks.

10. Vestibule Training

Vestibule training is a type of structured on-the-job training. It is slightly peculiar in that it’s not conducted in the actual physical space of work, but in a simulated work environment. Vestibule training provides a controlled environment for trainees to practise various tasks and procedures such as safety protocols. It requires real-time supervision of trainee performance so that corrections can be made on the spot.

11. Self-Instructional Training

Self-instructional training is a type of structured on-the-job training. While the other OJT types are led by the trainers, self-instructional OJT is mainly led by the trainees themselves. Though they may use external instructional sources such as self-paced courses , trainees are responsible for the direction of their training. They may even choose not to use any external instructional source. For example, trainees might reflect on their own performance to figure out the correct way to perform a task and then train themselves to perform the task in that manner.

12. Peer-to-Peer Training

Peer-to-peer training is a type of unstructured on-the-job training that starts with the designation of a peer instructor. Like coaching and mentoring, it’s mostly based on the expertise of people within the organisation. However, coaches and mentors may have higher positions or work in different departments than their trainees. With peer-to-peer training, trainers and trainees must be co-workers of the same level or work in similar roles.

13. Job Shadowing

Job shadowing is a type of structured on-the-job training. Similar to coaching, mentoring, and peer-to-peer training, job shadowing primarily relies on internal trainers. But while the others require active interactions between trainers and trainees, job shadowing can be passive because trainees need only to observe their trainers. An important characteristic of job shadowing is learning by exposure rather than by doing.

14. Understudying

Understudying is a type of structured on-the-job training that focuses on preparing trainees for their future roles in the organisation. If done successfully, understudying ensures that trainees will be able to handle their new responsibilities once they assume their intended roles. Though the trainer-trainee relationship of understudying and mentoring are alike, the former has a very specific objective while the goals of the latter are typically more holistic.

15. Refresher On-the-Job Training

Refresher on-the-job training is commonly used to supplement or reinforce another type of OJT. The structure and content of refresher OJT is thus dependent on what trainers decide to be the best way to strengthen the knowledge and skills gained by trainees in the initial OJT. That being said, refresher on-the-job training is usually conducted to ensure that trainees remember the lessons of previous safety training sessions as safety requires ongoing awareness of risks.

You can create an on-the-job training program by following these steps:

  • Outline your desired training outcome or goal: Be specific. Who has to be trained? What do they need to be trained on? What do you want to happen or what changes do you want to see in your trainees after the completion of the training program?
  • Decide which type/s of on-the-job training to use: You need to list the pros and cons of several types with your team and gain input from management on which type/s they prefer. Some types may be deemed unfeasible, inapplicable, or too costly to implement.
  • Develop the training curriculum: Ensure that you do this with your chosen OJT type/s in mind. Constantly check if what’s being included in the curriculum is relevant to your ultimate training outcome. Be aware of what trainees already know regarding topics.
  • Have management approve the training curriculum: This is a crucial step as it prevents you from planning around a curriculum that management may reject later on.
  • Plan the logistics of the program: How your organisation can implement each type may lead to unique logistical challenges as both the limitations of the type and of your organisation can come into play. You will also need to account for the schedules of trainers and trainees as well as how long the program can be implemented.
  • Have management approve your logistics plan: Ensure that they have a correct understanding of the resources you need to carry out the program. Confirm the budget and the provision of other resources. If they haven’t set a deadline for the end of the program, propose one yourself and have them approve it.

These on-the-job training best practices are backed by research:

Maintain organisational support

Published in Human Resource Development Review (HRDR), a 2017 article referenced earlier research by Sisson (2001) and Black et al. (1996). In describing their results, the article noted that:

  • According to Sisson, support from the management level is one of the core characteristics which must be effective for successful S-OJT implementation.
  • According to Black et al., management support is important to the success of a S-OJT program.

Published in Human Resource Development International, a study (Choi et al., 2015) confirmed that training support has a significant positive effect on S-OJT activities and further recommended that:

“Executive managers should provide not only physical support but also a climate to support the training and psychological support, such as a planned period of time for training, to their employees.”

Published in Performance Improvement Quarterly (PIQ), a study (Jacobs and Hruby-Moore, 1998) concluded that S-OJT programs will likely fail from a financial perspective if they are viewed as lower priority than other on-going organisational issues during implementation. Therefore, the study recommends that organisational issues are addressed before program implementation and a greater measure of management commitment is gained up-front.

All of the above research highlights that support from management and the entire organisation is crucial for structured on-the-job training to be successful.

Monitor training practices

The 2017 article also referenced an earlier study (Zolingen et al., 2000) and noted that:

According to the study, the performance of trainers has a high impact on the effectiveness of Structured OJT programs. Trainers need to evaluate trainee progress, provide feedback to trainees, and motivate trainees for self-study.

A more recent study (Choi et al., 2015) also confirmed that:

  • Trainer commitment has a significant positive effect on Structured OJT activities.
  • Trainer professionalism has a positive effect on trainee learning achievement.

The two studies show that the actions and attitudes of trainers are critical to the success of structured on-the-job training. Therefore, these actions and attitudes (i.e., training practices) should be monitored or regularly checked to ensure the success of structured on-the-job training programs. The specific training practices (which trainers need to follow and which you need to enforce) are discussed in more detail below.

Published in the International Journal of Training and Development, a study (Matsuo, 2014) revealed that excellent OJT trainers perform the following training practices:

  • Track trainee progress.
  • Provide positive and informative feedback.
  • Correct errors by encouraging trainees to reflect on their results.
  • Challenge trainees by setting higher learning goals.

However, the study also suggested that such trainers adapt the use of these training practices to the trainee’s level of experience. Promoting reflection of results (3) and stretching trainee objectives (4) should be minimised when the trainee has less than a year of experience. In turn, those two practices should be maximised when the trainee has a lot of experience.

Follow-up on the training program

According to this study (Jacobs and Hruby-Moore, 1998), another reason for the failure of S-OJT programs is a lack of follow-up.

The supervisors in the study had agreed to conduct S-OJT and even received their own training on how to be a trainer. The researchers of the study did not anticipate that these supervisors would mostly end up not conducting S-OJT as planned. While this situation was also caused by low organisational support for S-OJT, it might have been prevented by checking on the progress of the program even after initial implementation.

A study (Jain, 1999) on OJT needs also confirms this. The study stated that:

  • Participants usually indicated in their response that there is a lack of follow-up after training, which hinders the effectiveness of available training.
  • One of these participants asserted that productivity could be improved through OJT if there was a proper implementation plan.
  • It is important to follow-up on the training plan in order to see the positive impact of a training program.

On-the-job training has the following challenges and solutions:

1. Challenge: Lack of employee motivation for on-the-job training

Solution: Promote career development as one of the benefits of participating in on-the-job training. Highlight the skills and experience that on-the-job training will provide to employees.

2. Challenge: Lack of employee engagement with on-the-job training

Solution: Conduct a survey to obtain the training preferences of employees. Ensure that the design of the on-the-job training program accommodates those preferences.

3. Challenge: Low or inconsistent quality of on-the-job training

Solution: Prepare trainers for on-the-job training and monitor trainer performance. Establish and enforce on-the-job training standards for your organisation. Allow trainees to provide feedback on the quality of on-the-job training.

4. Challenge: Lack of management approval for on-the-job training

Solution: Develop methods to seamlessly integrate on-the-job training into daily work life and Key Performance Indicator (KPI) fulfilment. Minimise friction between on-the-job training needs and the day-to-day needs of the job.

There are many advantages and disadvantages of on-the-job training . Below is a summary of the most important OJT advantages and disadvantages:

On-the-job training has two main advantages:

  • It helps trainees perform their jobs. Aside from training on specific job tasks, OJT also takes place within the context of the work environment. While some OJT may be in a simulated work environment or delivered remotely, the training is still connected to the actual work.
  • It generally costs less than off-the-job training. One of the reasons for this is that most OJT leverages internal expertise, removing the need to hire external trainers.

Disadvantages

There are two main disadvantages of OJT:

  • Lack of theory. Due to the practical nature of on-the-job training, trainees learn how to perform a task but do not always know why the task should be performed that way.
  • Passing down of bad practices. Though good on-the-job training can generate a cycle of good practices, bad on-the-job training can do the opposite.

On-the-job training evaluation can take place on three levels:

1. Session level – evaluation of a particular on-the-job training session

This involves post-training session feedback gathering through surveys and questionnaires. You can obtain feedback from the trainees regarding the on-the-job training session and also from their supervisors regarding the immediate and noticeable effects of the OJT session on trainees. Additionally, you can gain insight from the trainer on how they think the OJT session went.

2. Individual level – evaluation of on-the-job training received by an individual

To measure the impact of OJT as a whole on an individual trainee, conduct a competency assessment after the trainee completes all OJT sessions. You can also measure performance metrics such as the quality of their work and the number of errors.

3. Program level – evaluation of on-the-job training received by the entire group

Conduct a Return On Investment (ROI) analysis or cost-benefit analysis of the on-the-job training program. Gather feedback from anyone affected by the OJT program, including the co-workers of trainees. You can also get average grades of the group’s competency assessments and performance metrics.

The most prominent effect of technology on OJT is the ability to deliver on-the-job training remotely. Through the use of web conferencing tools and other digital platforms, trainees can receive training that is highly relevant to their jobs from the comfort of their own home. However, not all types of on-the-job training can be remote. Apprenticeships, job rotations, vestibule training, and job shadowing are unlikely to be completely remote.

Aside from on-the-job training implementation, technology also has an impact on OJT design. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning can generate customised training programs while Virtual Reality (VR) can contribute to the development of innovative training experiences. Other positive effects of technology on OJT include access to data-driven insights and the ability to easily update on-the-job training content.

On the other hand, technology can also have negative effects on OJT. The improper use or over-reliance on technology can lead to needlessly complicated and inefficient on-the-job training. Furthermore, remote OJT can be interrupted by technical issues and downtime. Another important concern is that not all trainees are comfortable with using technology and this may hinder their learning rather than promote it.

On-the-job training roles change based on the specific OJT type and whether it’s internal or external. While on-the-job training usually just has internal trainers , some may use external trainers or professionals outside of the organisation.

Internal trainers can also be the trainees’ direct supervisors, senior co-workers, peers, or even belong to different departments. There may be additional internal personnel dedicated to ensuring the quality of OJT. The roles in external on-the-job training can be varied as well, depending on whether it’s handled by a professional who belongs to the same industry as the trainee or a general training provider.

Regulations affect the design and implementation of some on-the-job training programs, especially those that are more formal. Regulations can have guidelines on who can be a trainer or trainee, which organisations can facilitate OJT, and whether or not professions require OJT. OJT quality standards and the agencies responsible for enforcing them might also be included in such regulations.

Examples of these regulations in the UK include The Apprenticeships (Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 2017 and Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 . In Australia, examples of these regulations include National Code of Good Practice for Australian Apprenticeships and The Australian Apprenticeship Support Network ( AASN ) Code of Conduct.

On-the-job training usually lasts between less than a month to several months . However, on-the-job training can be as short as a few days to as long as a couple of years. Internships typically last a month or so while apprenticeships take at least a year. Job rotations can last up to 2 years and mentorship OJT can take 6 months at minimum. In general, more complex jobs require longer on-the-job training.

Deskless jobs are more likely to provide on-the-job training than desk-based jobs. Healthcare assistants, electricians, machine operators, and police officers are jobs likely to provide on-the-job training. But this doesn’t mean that all desk-based jobs don’t provide on-the-job training. Bank tellers, software developers, and teaching assistants are jobs likely to provide on-the-job training as well.

Most on-the-job training is paid , though there are exceptions. Internships for students as well as those in creative arts industries are sometimes unpaid. On-the-job training offered by academic institutions, non-profit organisations, and startups is also usually unpaid. Aside from these exceptions, on-the-job training is typically paid. In particular, the OJT for deskless jobs and those offered by large corporations are highly likely to be paid.

Yes, you should include on-the-job training on your resume . However, there are also valid reasons for not including OJT on your resume. If you have more experience and the OJT isn’t relevant, you don’t need to include it on your resume. But it’s more likely that you should include on-the-job training on your resume, especially if you don’t have recent experience and the OJT is relevant to the jobs you want.

There are many benefits to using a digital platform such as Cloud Assess for on-the-job training.

  • On-the-job training can be done at scale and for a global or remote workforce.
  • Quality of on-the-job training is easier to monitor, maintain, and make more consistent.
  • You can use a wider variety of on-the-job training content to keep trainees interested.

On-the-job training can be better with features such as offline capability, robust assessment tools, feedback forms, analytics for both training and assessment, multiple customisation options, and built-in communication tools.

Book a personalised demo with Cloud Assess to learn more about how you can use the digital platform for on-the-job training and other needs.

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committee assignment training method advantages and disadvantages

What is Skill-Based Learning & Why It’s Important in the Workplace

Fleet management safety training 101 | importance & common risks, 25 off-the-job training advantages and disadvantages.

committee assignment training method advantages and disadvantages

A side-by-side comparison of common employee training methods

Employee Training Methods

There are many ways to train employees, and you’re probably using more than one method in your own organization to solve different types of problems right now. But is there any one particular method that reigns supreme? It depends on what you’re trying to teach. All methods of employee training have their own pros, cons and ideal applications. 

1. On-the-job training 

Hands-on training is a critical part of the learning experience, especially for frontline workers who use dangerous machinery, work directly with products or otherwise need to learn by doing. For instance, if you manage a deli counter in a grocery store, would you feel comfortable handing over the meat slicer to an inexperienced employee who has only read about how to use it? Chances are, you’d want to deliver in-person training first and schedule job shadowing before allowing the employee to use the equipment solo. 

Hands-on training cannot be replaced by online courses because it goes beyond compliance and theory and delves into the physical demands of the job. A peer trainer or manager may need to ensure the safety of the trainees, instruct on the nuances of the task and help to promote proficiency and muscle memory through repetition.  

To carry out on-the-job training, you need great trainers who understand not only what information and skills need to be transferred and taught but also how to effectively work with novices and accommodate individual needs, preferences and backgrounds. When done right, this type of training is great for building practical skills. 

2. Classroom training 

There’s a lot of debate about whether instructor-led training in a classroom environment is good or bad for company training. It can be difficult to schedule, especially in a busy operation. It’s hard to remember information delivered in a lengthy lecture, and it can be boring and disengage participants when there’s no meaningful interaction. And then there’s the whole Zoom fatigue conversation when you take lectures and presentations online. But while training employees in a classroom isn’t always the best way to go, there is still a place for it. 

For instance, if you hire several new employees at the same time (for a new store opening or staff expansion), you can get everyone up to speed simultaneously with a guided group training in a classroom-type environment. This type of training is good for introducing company policies, safety and compliance requirements, customer service best practices and basic tools and technologies. 

Classroom training isn’t bad. Bad classroom training is bad. When done effectively, bringing people together allows for discussion, peer learning and direct engagement with both trainers and fellow employees. 

In order for online or in-person classroom training to be effective, the key is to provide real value. Don’t make it an info dump. Engage directly with trainees, make it an interactive training experience if possible and—most importantly—try to keep the training session filler-free. Focus on the most important information that people need, and deliver it in an engaging way. If you’re going to bring people together, in person or virtually, maximize the value of doing so through conversation, practice activities, etc. The goal is to inspire meaningful interaction. If the goal is to communicate information, another format might be a better fit.

3. Simulation 

There’s real value in practicing within safe, low-risk environments, especially when it’s too dangerous or expensive to do so in a real-life setting. An effective workplace simulation must mirror real life and provide clear, actionable feedback in order to be worthwhile. Certain types of simulations can be done as part of in-person classroom training (especially if the group is small), but especially complex or safety-centric simulations should be done outside the classroom setting to ensure that everyone is able to get the necessary practice and observation. There are training tools you can use, like manikins (for basic life support procedures) and even VR training solutions. 

Simulations are especially useful for safety use cases. For example, X-ray technicians must operate complex machinery that emits live radiation. You can’t expect them to learn about the machinery in a classroom and then get right to work on live patients. In some cases, simulations are an important intermediary step to ensure proficiency and safety in high-stakes environments. 

4. Online courses 

When you need to get information out to a large number of people in a consistent, easy-to-access way, online courses can be effective. It’s harder than ever to get people into a classroom or schedule time away from the operation. Online courses can be designed to fit into the workflow, deliver critical information and reinforce important knowledge.

For instance, if you have a team of retail employees, you can take their compliance training online. Compliance lends itself to online courses because it requires consistent information to be delivered to a large group of people in a validated way. Concepts that don’t easily lend themselves to hands-on training are often excellent candidates for online learning. Online courses can also be used to reinforce information previously taught on the job. 

Because online courses are asynchronous, employees can complete them at their own pace and—depending on the demands of the workplace—in their own time. For online courses to be effective, they should provide information that’s highly relevant, easily digestible and reinforced in spaced intervals for maximum retention. In addition, individual lessons should be short and focused on a single objective.

5. Microlearning 

Microlearning is all about delivering content with a singular focus in bite-sized segments. Though microlearning is often connected to digital content (like the kind outlined in the previous section), it can be any learning activity that focuses on a single outcome and fits within the workflow—whether it’s an LMS module, a video or even a live demonstration. Whatever types of employee training programs you use, there’s likely a place for microlearning. 

Understandably, you can’t learn everything you need to know about a complex topic, like how to drive a lift truck, in a 3-to-5-minute microlearning session. But you can introduce new concepts in small chunks that fit seamlessly into the workflow. Plus, you can use microlearning sessions to reinforce critical knowledge, like, for example, how to signal when driving a lift truck through a busy section of the distribution center. 

The majority of Axonify users—83%—  log into the platform 2-3 times a week to complete a short microlearning lesson. Over the course of a month, users start to develop a strong learning foundation. Over the course of several months, those short lessons contribute to a massive body of retained knowledge.  

This type of short-form training can be a game-changer in frontline industries where free time is at a premium. Though all employee training methods have their merits, microlearning can be an effective ingredient in any training program, as it’s not time-consuming and proven to be effective for long-term retention. 

What are the most effective employee training methods? 

There’s no single best employee training method. It’s about blending the best ideas into a meaningful experience that meets people’s needs and satisfies your training and development goals . It’s not picking one tactic and applying it to everything.

No matter how you choose to train your employees, the important thing is to make sure it’s engaging, useful and tailored to the learner.

Axonify Team

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Training Methods - Their Advantages And Disadvantages | Human Resource Management Notes

Human resource management, concept of human resources management, human resource planning, job design and job analysis, recruitment and selection, training and development, performance appraisal and reward management, employee discipline, labour relation grievances and disputes settlement.

Training Methods - Their Advantages And Disadvantages | Human Resource Management Notes

  • Training Methods - Their Advantages And Disadvantages

Human Resource Management Unit: Training and Development Subject: Foundations of Human Resource Management

Share article, share on social media, foundations of human resource management, training methods.

  • On-the-job training.
  • Off-the-job training.

a. On-the –job training: A training which is given to the employees while they are conducting their regular work at their own job place is known as on-the-job training. It includes,

  • Apprenticeship training: It is a structured process by which people become skilled workers through a combination of classroom instruction and on-the-job training. It is widely used to train individual for many occupations like electrician, plumber, iron-workers etc. Under this method of training the trainee is put under the guidance of the master worker. Usually, the apprenticeship period is for two to four years as per the work complexity and under this period, the trainee is paid less than fully qualified workers.
  • Job instruction training (JIT): JIT is a step by step training program, under which each job basic task along with key point is listed. The steps show what is to be done, and the key points show how it is to be done and why. The four basic steps of JIT are:
  • Preparing the trainees by telling them about the job and overcoming uncertainties.
  • Presenting the instruction, giving essential information in a clear manner.
  • Having the trainees’ tryout the job to demonstrate their understanding.
  • Placing the workers into the job, on their own, with a designated resource person to call upon when they need assistance.

Advantages of on-the–Job training:

  • It is relatively inexpensive than off the job training.
  • Trainees learn by doing and get quick feedback on their performance.
  • Employees can begin to contribute to the production process while undergoing the training.
  • iv. It is a very simple method and employees experience the real job situation.

Disadvantages of on-the-job training:

  • Chances of damage to equipment during the training period.
  • Scrap rate and reject rate of the products may high.
  • Service quality to customer may be affected when a new employee in the training period provides services.(e.g. In restaurant and in banking work)

b. Off-the-job training: The training organize outside the worksite is known as off the job training. Usually it is classroom based and assumes to remove the work-stress and achieve effective learning. The most commonly used off the job training methods are :

i. Class room Lecture or conference: It is the method of delivering the information through oral means. It is quick and simple way to provide knowledge and information to large group of trainees.Under this method, a trainer discusses theoretical aspects of information related to the job.

ii. Films: Motion picture can also be used for providing training to the workers. Usually it is used with conference discussion to clarify and enlarge those points that are basic requirement and key point (activities) for job performance.

iii. Simulation exercise: Any training activity that explicitly places the trainees in an artificial environment that closely mirrors actual working condition can be considered a simulation. It includes, computer modeling, experiential exercises and vestibule training.

  • Experiential exercises: It is usually short, structured learning experiences where individual learn by doing. E.g. managing conflict in an organization: An artificial conflict situation is created and employees have to deal with it, and develop a resolution for it. After completing the exercise, the facilitator discusses what happen and introduce theoretical concept to help explain the members’ behavior during the exercise.
  • Computer modeling: Complex computer modeling stimulates the work environment by programming a computer to imitate some of the realities of the job. It is widely used by airlines in the training of pilots. An error during a simulation offers an opportunity to learn through one’s mistake.
  • Vestibule training: In vestibule training, employee learns their job on the equipment they will be using, but the training is conducted away from the actual work-floor. Usually, the vestibule lab that stimulated the actual workplace environment is created, under which, the trainees train. It allows employees to get a full feel for doing task without “real world” pressure.

iv. Programmed Instruction: Under this technique, the program to be learned is highly organized with logical sequences that require the trainee to response and giving the learner immediate feedback on the accuracy of his/her answers. It is the step by step process that follows the following steps.

  • Presenting questions, facts or problems to the learners.
  • Allowing the person to respond.
  • Providing feedback on the accuracy of the answers

Advantages of off-the-job training:

  • Large number of employees can be trained through this method.
  • The trainee will learn without the work-pressure of the job.
  • Costly errors and injuries can be avoided during training.
  • Relatively less time is required as in on the job training.

Disadvantages of off-the-job training:

  • Due to large number of trainee, specific job need of the trainee may not be fulfilled.
  • Due to lack of real working places, there may be low degree of involvement by employees, both mentally and physically.
  • It is not useful for developing interpersonal skills.
  • It is relatively costly than on the job training.

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Assignment Method

Looking for advantages and disadvantages of Assignment Method?

We have collected some solid points that will help you understand the pros and cons of Assignment Method in detail.

But first, let’s understand the topic:

What is Assignment Method?

The ‘Assignment Method’ is a way to match things or people to tasks. It’s like when a teacher gives each student a different question to answer. This method helps to get the best results by picking the right match.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of Assignment Method

The following are the advantages and disadvantages of Assignment Method:

Advantages and disadvantages of Assignment Method

Advantages of Assignment Method

  • Promotes efficient task allocation – Assignment Method helps in distributing tasks smartly among team members, ensuring work is given to those best suited for it.
  • Enhances productivity – It can lead to an increase in productivity, as tasks are assigned based on employees’ skills and abilities.
  • Encourages skills development – This method also aids in the growth of employees’ skills, as they are given tasks that challenge and develop their abilities.
  • Minimizes project completion time – It can reduce the time taken to finish a project, as tasks are allocated effectively, minimizing idle time.
  • Boosts employee job satisfaction – It can also raise job satisfaction levels among employees, as they are given tasks that match their skills and interests.

Disadvantages of Assignment Method

  • Can be time-consuming – The Assignment Method can eat up a lot of time because it involves detailed planning and organization of tasks.
  • Limited to quantitative tasks – It is mostly suited for tasks that can be quantified, limiting its effectiveness in qualitative tasks.
  • Ignores individual preferences – It often overlooks the individual preferences of team members, which might affect their motivation and performance.
  • May not promote creativity – This method may stifle creativity as it focuses on assigning specific tasks rather than encouraging innovative thinking.
  • Risk of biased assignments – There’s a risk of bias in the assignment of tasks, which could lead to unfair distribution and potential conflicts.
  • Advantages and disadvantages of Assets
  • Advantages and disadvantages of Money Market Funds
  • Advantages and disadvantages of Asset Management

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Please note you do not have access to teaching notes, case-method teaching: advantages and disadvantages in organizational training.

Journal of Management Development

ISSN : 0262-1711

Article publication date: 21 September 2018

Issue publication date: 7 November 2018

The purpose of this paper is to introduce case-method teaching (CMT), its advantages and disadvantages for the process of organizational training within organizations, as well as to compare its advantages and disadvantages with current training methods.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors applied a systematic literature review to define, identify and compare CMT with current methods.

In CMT, participants get involved with real-world challenges from an action perspective instead of analyzing them from a distance. Also, different reactions of the participants to the same challenge aid instructors to identify the individual differences of participants toward the challenge. Although CMT is still not considered as a popular organizational training method, the advantages of CMT may encourage organizational instructors to further apply it. Improving the long-term memory, enhancing the quality of decision making and understanding the individual differences of individuals are the advantages of CMT.

Research limitations/implications

A lack of sufficient empirical researchers and the high cost of conducting this method may prevent practitioners to apply it.

Originality/value

The review suggested that CMT is able to bring dilemmas from the real world into training settings. Also, it helps organizations to identify the individual reactions before they make a decision.

  • Advantages and disadvantages
  • Case-method teaching
  • Organizational training

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to sincerely thank Dr Mojtaba Amanollah Nejad and Dr Geeske Scholz who helped to improve this paper.

Radi Afsouran, N. , Charkhabi, M. , Siadat, S.A. , Hoveida, R. , Oreyzi, H.R. and Thornton III, G.C. (2018), "Case-method teaching: advantages and disadvantages in organizational training", Journal of Management Development , Vol. 37 No. 9/10, pp. 711-720. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMD-10-2017-0324

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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Section 7.2: Different Methods of On-the-job Training

Manmeet Brar; Sonia Bolina; and Shazia Kazani

The following sections will discuss the different methods of on-the-job training and how they can be applied in the workplace. They include helpful hints and multiple-choice and reflective questions that will assist you with learning the material in this chapter.

Peer Teaching

Peer teaching occurs when students or colleagues teach one another. Peer teaching is a method in which one person educates another person on any material the first person has mastered, but the second person is new to. This learning method is beneficial as it promotes active learning. It allows those teaching to reinforce their own learning, and it promotes greater comfort while peer teachers and students interact with each other (Briggs, 2017).

Leveraging Technology

With the rapid advancements in technology, many organizations leverage technology to support job training. Implementing these programs helps cut costs, provides mobile learning opportunities, and reduces the carbon footprint. Some examples of how organizations have been leveraging technology in the workplace in terms of on-the-job training are web-conferencing (Skype, Zoom, Big Blue Button), using social networks, learning modules, blogs, vlogs, podcasts, media-sharing, and mobile learning (U.S. Office of Personnel Management, 2020).

Stewardship

Stewardship involves promoting the well-being of employees at a given organization. It requires the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care. There are four principles of providing stewardship.

  • The principle of ownership
  • The principle of responsibility
  • The principle of accountability
  • The principle of reward (Eldon’s Porch, 2016).

Four Principles of Workplace Stewardship

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Coaching involves the development of one-on-one relationships between employees and managers. This training method provides guidance and feedback on how the coachee is performing their given task. The manager provides support and offers suggestions for improvement. Coaching helps instill the skills needed by giving employees the opportunity to apply them at work. This process is valuable because it is tailored to each individual’s needs, and it helps establish a strong workplace culture and an environment of trust and continuous improvement.

Job Rotation

Job rotation involves the movement of trainees from one job to another. This is very important, as it allows the trainees to gain knowledge and experience in each job assignment. This gives them an opportunity to understand the challenges of other jobs and gain a sense of respect for their coworkers. This encourages professional development and gives employees a break from always doing the same job.

Apprenticeship Training

Apprenticeship training is a more formalized method of training. It combines education learned in the classroom with supervised on-the-job work. Most apprenticeship programs take up to 3-4 years until they are considered complete in that trade or profession. People who work in crafts, trades and technical areas are the ones who are most likely to have to complete an apprenticeship program. This is important not only for the employee but for the organization as well because it builds a skilled workforce, improves job satisfaction and allows organizations to save money as they do not have to spend as much on training their employees.

Committee Assignments

Committee assignments are when a group of trainees are asked to solve an organizational problem. The trainees work together and offer solutions to the problem. This is important, as it helps the trainees develop the teamwork skills needed to achieve a common organizational goal.

Special Project Assignments

Trainees are assigned a project related to their jobs. This could involve one or multiple trainees working together on a project that relates to their functional area. They analyze the problem and submit recommendations based on their analysis and what they have experienced. Special project assignments help in identifying organizational problems from a different perspective. When trainees work together, they obtain knowledge and learn how to work with others who have a viewpoint different from their own (Naorem, 2019).

Example: Someone may be interested in event planning, and so they are given the opportunity to work as part of a special events team. This is work they may not otherwise do but are interested in.

Mentoring is similar to coaching in that they both support growth establish confidence in relationships and provide constant guidance to the trainees. Coaching is a short-term process, whereas mentoring is a long-term process based on mutual trust and respect (Published: Feb 19, 2016).

A mentor is usually someone other than a supervisor or manager, who has but a high level of knowledge or expertise. They invest their time, and effort in the person over a period of time. Based on mutual consent, the mentor and mentee focus on career or professional development. The mentor and mentee relationship can be established through the organization if they are paired up, and it can could continue for nine months to a year depending on the type of mentorship (Naorem, 2019).

The mentor helps the organization by supporting their trainee to ensure they are working to the expected standards. Organizational values and processes are taught to the trainee through the mentor as developing the trainee is their objective (Naorem, 2019).

The trainee and mentee have constant access to support, friendship, information, learning, and coaching (Naorem, 2019).

Selective Readings

Selective readings are geared towards executives who are provided with reading tools to further develop their understanding and boost their knowledge in their functional area. The reading tools can vary from books, to journals, or articles (Naorem, 2019).

eLearning is a cost-effective method organizations can implement that does not require the presence of an instructor. Employees can be trained remotely, and access to trainers can be made readily available through social networks and eLearning platforms. Techniques for delivering content can include audio and video recordings, presentations, quizzes, surveys, games, discussion groups and much more.

Trainees have the advantage of logging into the eLearning courses at their convenience, and they are not required to be at a specific physical location. Courses can provide the trainee with hands-on training, as they go through various scenarios on how to conduct a transaction as if they were in real time (Dutta, 2021).

Example: A bank teller can take an online course on how to complete a deposit transaction for a customer. They will be given the details as if there was someone in front of them, and they will go through the steps as they would in real time.

Organizations can develop customized courses to equip their employees with the skills necessary for their position. Ongoing training through e-Learning channels allows employees to stay current with the knowledge and skills they require throughout their duration of employment.

People Learning and Development Copyright © by Manmeet Brar; Sonia Bolina; and Shazia Kazani is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Some of the methods used for management development are as follows: 1. Coaching 2. Job Rotation 3. Understudy 4. Multiple Management 5. Project Assignments 6. Committee Assignment 7. The Case Study 8. Incident Method 9. Role-Playing 10. In-Basket Method 11. Business or Management Game 12. Sensitivity, Laboratory or T-Group Training 13. Simulation 14. Conferences 15. Lectures 16. Syndicate Method 17. Case Method and 18. Project Method.

List of Methods Used for Management Development (with advantages and disadvantages)

Methods used for management development (various methods used in india).

Various methods of management development used in India could be classified into two broad categories-s on-the-job techniques and off-the-job techniques.

These are discussed below:

Method # 1. Coaching :

Coaching is a method which is used in developing managerial thinking processes as well as operative skills. In coaching, the superior plays the role of the guide and the instructor. The coach sets mutually agreed goals. What needs to be done is also highlighted. The way to get things done is also indicated in clear terms.

Suggestions for getting everything on track are also advanced. Every attempt is made to put the trainee on track, correcting mistakes all along the path. The trainer helps the trainee live up to those goals through periodic reviews of the trainee’s progress and by suggesting modifications in his behaviour where needed.

The objective of coaching is not only to teach and guide a subordinate in the performance of his immediate assignments but also provide him with diversified work so that he may grow and progress.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Coaching Method:

1. Periodic feedback and evaluation are also a part of coaching, which yield immediate benefits to an organisation, to the coach and to the subordinate. It is learning by doing.

2. It requires the least centralised staff co-ordination, for every executive can coach his men even if no management development programme exists.

3. New executives can undergo orientation and imbibe the culture of an organisation quickly. Coaching helps new hires to put their best foot forward with courage and confidence.

4. The coaching technique is authoritarian, for an executive tends to familiarise his subordinates with his own work habits and beliefs, even though these may be faulty. In other words, it has the tendencies to perpetuate the current managerial styles and practices in the organisation.

5. It heavily relies on the coach’s ability to be good teacher, which he may not necessarily be.

6. The training atmosphere, free from worries of the daily duties, is not available.

To be effective, coaching requires close attention from the trainer. The superior who is acting as a coach should be willing to help the trainee whenever required. The superior should have the ability to communicate and to stimulate, and should have patience to help his subordinates. He should also set aside time for scheduling sessions.

He should avoid being too dominant in the performance process, so that the trainee can experience things for himself and does not become completely dependent upon the coach for decisions. Coaching will work well if the coach provides a good model with whom the trainee can identify; if both can be open with each other; if the coach accepts his responsibility fully; and if he provides the trainee with recognition of his improvement and suitable rewards.

Method # 2. Job Rotation :

Job rotation represents an excellent method for broadening the manager or potential manager, for turning specialists into generalists. It refers to the transfer or movement of executives from one job to another and from one plan to another on some planned basis for educational learning purposes.

“Job rotation is often designed for beginning level managers while planned progression is more likely to occur at higher managerial levels.” Such rotation may continue for a period ranging from 6 months to 24 months.

This method provides a great deal of job experience for those who are potential executives who need broadening of outlook and an increased understanding of the various aspects of management. The emphasis is on diversified instead of specialised skills and knowledge.

Under this method, the trainees are rotated over various routine jobs in a department, division or unit before they are due for promotion as managers. The idea is to impart an overall knowledge and familiarity with the different sectional jobs (such as billing, issuing challahs, preparing inspection notes, settling railway claims, handling customer accounts, etc. in the sales department) before they are posted as Managers in the department.

This secures a compromise between overspecialisation even from the lowest most routine level, and a minimum of special skills and expertise necessary for middle level managers. These persons are moved from one job to another according to a schedule of rotation. It also includes moving people between line and staff positions.

Job rotations are mostly horizontal or lateral.

Such rotations can be instituted:

(i) On a planned basis, i.e., by means of a training programme whereby the worker spends 2 or 3 months in an activity and is then moved on; or

(ii) On a situational basis, i.e., by moving the person to another activity when the first is no longer challenging to him, or to meet the needs of work scheduling.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Job Rotation:

1. It breaks down departmental provincialism for everyone is moved from one to another. It rather develops interdepartmental co-operation.

2. Boredom, monotony are reduced and since job rotation permits a greater understanding of other activities within the organisation people are prepared more rapidly to assume greater responsibility, especially at the upper echelons.

3. Job rotation injects new ideas into the older departmental personnel who may otherwise fall in a rut. New concepts are infused into them and they are diffused throughout an enterprise.

4. Through this system, a man does not end up in just one place. He gets a chance to step into a higher position. In this way, an organisation gains management strength in depth.

5. Job rotation ensures the avoidance of the problem which arises when a newly promoted manager is required to supervise his former peers.

6. It makes it possible for the management to compare one man with another, and gives everyone an equal chance for advancement.

7. It does not develop “specialists” but produces “generalists,” that is, men who take a broad, company-wide point of view, men whose chief ability is to handle people and make decisions.

8. Awareness of what is happening elsewhere and familiarity with other task centres helps a balanced and informed attitude to enterprise goal and activities.

9. Each manager’s abilities and talents are best tested in a variety of jobs, so the enterprise can secure his best utilisation in the ultimate assignment.

10. It upsets family and home life, because many a time transfers force executives to go to different places (sometimes, far off and unfamiliar) at short notice.

11. It undermines organisational morale, efficiency since “executives may have little inducement to sink their teeth deeply into as assignment.” Established operations are disturbed and the manager is prone to error in a new seat.

12. It becomes difficult for a subordinate to adjust himself to his new bosses. Interpersonal relationship takes time for adjustment and employees, with frequent moves, are apt to feel insecure.

13. The new incumbent is likely to bring in a zeal for change; while sound changes are good, ill-conceived and hasty innovations may lead to costly experimentations.

14. Job rotation can demotivate intelligent and aggressive trainees who seek specific responsibility in their chosen speciality.

15. It develops sharp cleavages, friction, jealously and other non-co-operative and dysfunctional forms of human behaviour.

16. The system is like a highly competitive game of “musical chairs.” Whenever there are promotions and transfers, some people are left behind. Therefore, smart young people avoid taking risks.

17. Rotation sometimes leads to subtle class distinctions. Men who are not rotated tend to develop defensive reactions. This leads to misunderstanding and poor communication.

18. The system may easily become over-centralised, inflexible and “closed”.

For rotation to be effective, those moved to different positions should be helped to understand the new task thoroughly, view the change as an opportunity for a genuine learning experience and identify themselves with the new position so that they may exercise full responsibility to achieve results and job improvement.

Method # 3. Understudy :

An ‘understudy’ is a person who is under training to assume, at a future time, the fall duties and responsibilities of the position currently held by his superior. In this way, it is ensured that a fully trained person is available to replace a manager during his long absence or illness, or on his retirement, transfer or promotion.

An understudy may be picked up by a manager from amongst a large number of subordinates, or several individuals. Such an understudy learns the complexities of the problems and how to solve them, learns also the process of decision-making and investigation and making written recommendations to his superior.

He is generally assigned a project which is closely related to the work in his section. He is deputed to attend executive meetings as a representative of his superior, at which he makes a presentation and proposals.

The essence is that the senior routes much of the departmental work through the junior; discusses problems with him and allows him to participate in the decision-making process as often as possible.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Understudy Method:

1. It is practical and quick in training persons for greater responsibility for it lays emphasis on learning by doing.

2. The learners’ interest and motivation are high and the superior is relieved of his heavy workload.

3. The trainee manager is also not over burdened with work and responsibility; at the same time he secures full participation in the running of the function and insight into the job content.

4. The trainee is able continuously to obtain guidance of the senior. The work that passes through him opens up windows for him to appreciate different angles and view­points related to the job. He receives an opportunity to see the job in total.

5. It ensures continuity of management facilities even when the superior leaves his position.

6. The chances of costly mistakes or upsetting relationship within the group are eliminated.

7. Since the understudy is picked up by the superior often on the basis of favouritism, he tends to perpetuate the existing practices of in-breeding.

8. The motivation of all the employees in the unit may decrease since the incentive to get ahead is partially destroyed when one particular subordinate is identified in advance as one who will be the next occupant of a higher-level managerial position.

9. Under a competent senior, the junior trainee might lose his independence and his critical appraisal of the way of job is performed.

10. The subordinate employees might ignore him and withhold co-operation; they might tend to treat him as an intruding appendage to the function without authority and accountability.

While there are opportunities for sizeable errors, this technique is used predominantly in situations where major or critical decisions can be delayed till the manager returns or can be made in close consultation with the manager next up in line.

Method # 4. Multiple Management :

It is a technique whereby juniors are assigned to Board or Committees, by the chief executive. They are asked to participate in deliberations of these Board and Committees. In these sessions, real- life actual problems are discussed, different views are debated and decisions are taken.

The juniors get an opportunity to share in managerial decision-making, to learn by watching others and to delve into specific organisational problems. When Committees are of “ad hoc” or temporary nature, they often take a task force activities designed to delve into a particular problem, ascertain alternative solutions, and make a recommendation for implementing a solution.

These temporary assignments can be both interesting and rewarding to the employees’ growth. On the other hand, appointment to permanent committees increases the employees’ exposure to other members of the organisation, broadens his understanding, and gives him an opportunity to grow and make recommendations under the scrutiny of other committee members.

Method # 5. Project Assignments :

In this method, a trainee is put on a project closely related to the objectives of his department. For example, a new recruit in a property evaluation firm may be asked to do a small project reviewing the prospects of selling commercial space in satellite townships (like Gurgaon, Faridabad, Manesar and Ghaziabad) near Delhi.

The project will give a firsthand experience of the problems and prospects in space selling to the new recruit. Sometimes, a syndicate or a team consisting of persons of mature judgement and proven talent may also be created temporarily to work on a special assignment.

The purpose of the syndicate technique is to “expose a participant to a milieu in which he is persuaded into reflecting upon his experiences as an executive, updating his knowledge, improving his executive skills and developing a greater insight into human behaviour.”

In other words, this method enables an executive to acquire a proper perspective on his job in relation to the activities in areas other than his own, and to give him practice in skills, techniques and procedures which he has to use in his day-to-day work as he rises higher up the ladder of management.

By this method, a team of persons of mature judgement and proved ability is set up with different functional representations so that there is an interchange of ideas and experiences. The syndicate is given a task properly spelt out in terms of briefs and background papers.

Large groups are split into small ones (consisting of 7 to 10 persons), and discussions are supplemented by short lectures. The teacher acts as a “resource person” rather than as a lecturer. Both the organisation and participants must understand the ‘mechanics’ of the utilisation of this method; otherwise it would result in a lot of waste of time and frustration.

Each syndicate prepares a report which is presented to the other groups of executives. An opportunity is provided for discussion, suggestions, criticisms, comments and recommendations for action. This method is used as a device not only for the study of a specific problem but also for other tasks.

Method # 6. Committee Assignment :

In this method, an ad hoc committee is appointed to discuss, evaluate and offer suggestions relating to an important aspect of business. For example, a group of experts may be asked to look into the feasibility of developing a Software Technology Park in an upcoming area by the Delhi Development Authority.

All the trainees participate in the discussions and deliberations of a committee. They toss around ideas freely and work on a solution through consensus building. The problem is subject to critical study and thorough analysis.

The different viewpoints and learned opinions of members find meaningful expression – if meetings are conducted in a proper manner giving opportunity to every member to come forward with constructive suggestions from time to time. The committee assignment could prove to be a valuable tool to develop interpersonal skills as well, if members know how to get along with each other.

However, when things go out of hand because of emotions and tempers taking charge of committee meetings, the assignment could prove to be a notorious time waster. Not without reason someone has commented that “a committee is a group of unfits engaged by the unwilling to do the unnecessary.”

Method # 7. The Case Study:

Case method is an excellent medium for developing analytical skill. It was started by Harvard Business School. This method is increasingly being used by many other prestigious and not so prestigious management institutes in India.

What is a case? A case is “a written description of an actual situation in business which provokes in the reader the need to decide which is going on, what the situation really is or what the problems are and what can and should be done.”

A case is an objective description of a “real life” business situation in which executives are required to take action and are responsible for results. In this method, an actual business situation is described, in writing, in a comprehensive manner.

The trainees are asked to appraise and analyse the problem situation and suggest solutions. The actual decision taken in the subject case is known only to the executive and is disclosed only at the end of the session when it is compared with the various solutions offered by the group.

Case study can provide stimulating discussions among participants as well as excellent opportunities for individuals to defend their analytical and judgmental abilities. It is rather an effective method for improving decision-making abilities within the constraints of limited information.

This method represents a dynamic and powerful approach to learning. Sometime the case discussion takes place in a small syndicate before they are called upon to discuss before the whole class.

The case study method accomplishes several objectives of the management development programmes:

(i) It distributes knowledge and facts and

(ii) It improves participants’ skills in problem analysis.

Method # 8. Incident Method :

This method was developed by Paul and Faith Pigors. The central aim of this method is to stimulate self-development in a blend of understanding that is essential for productive interaction.

This blend combines intellectual ability (power to think clearly, incisively and reasonably about specific facts and also about abstractions); practical judgement (capacity to modify conclusions arrived at intellectually, so that they meet the test of common sense); and social awareness (being able to appreciate the force of other people’s feelings and willing to adjust or implement a decision so that it can be more acceptable to persons who are affected by it).

Group work of each of ‘these cases’ begins when a group meets. Each member, working along for a couple of minutes, studies a written incident. He asks himself; what seems to be going on in this incident? What lead can I find here toward facts of the case and issues that stirred people up?

Appended to each incident is an invitation to make short-term decisions in the role of a person who had to cope with the incident when it actually happened. Under this method, group members address questions to the discussion leader.

The general trend of questioning is to find out about the what, when, where and how of the situation in which an incident developed, and who was present there at the time. Clues are also tracked down if they seem to offer reliable insight into the why of behaviour. After the collection of data, it is necessary to isolate the most important items for decision-making.

Method # 9. Role-Playing :

Role-playing is the concept of creating a more realistic situation, usually one of human problems and conflicts, and then acting out the various parts. The role assuming closely approximate a real situation and affords the participants the vicarious experiences that enhance their sensitivity, growth and development.

The value of role playing are:

1. It requires the person to carry out a thought or decision he may have reached.

2. It permits the practice of carrying out an action and makes it clear that good human relations require skill.

3. Attitudinal changes are effectively accomplished by placing persons in specified roles. It becomes clear in role-play that a person’s behaviour is not only a function of his personality but also of the situation in which he finds himself.

4. It makes person aware of the feeling of others.

5. It helps in developing a fuller appreciation of the important part played by feelings.

6. Each person gets an opportunity to discover his own personal faults.

7. It permits training in the control of feelings and emotions.

Four types of learning can take place through role-play:

(a) Learning by practice of deserted skill;

(b) Learning through imitation of desirable behaviour;

(c) Learning through observations and feedback about their effectiveness and weakness and

(d) Learning through analysis and conceptualization.

Method # 10. In-Basket Method :

In this method, each team of the trainees is given a file of correspondence bearing on a functional area of management. Each individual studies the file and makes his own recommendations on the situation.

If further information is required by him, it is supplied by the members of the team later the observations of each individual member are compared and conclusions on different functional areas reached; and these are put down in the form of a report. For this purpose, such teaching methods as the incident process, role-playing, the syndicate method, and the conference method are used.

This method has the following advantages:

1. Decisions are rapid, feedback is objective, and further decisions are based on the feedback of earlier decisions.

2. The consequences of many possible alternatives in a situation can be evaluated over a period of time.

3. The participants pay for the consequences of their decisions.

4. Because of emotional involvement without any strain, the participants play for hours with sustained interest.

5. Decision-making is by a group which consists of managers and specialists from different departments. Each member, therefore, gets an opportunity to participate in it.

6. An abstract and complex situation is given the semblance of a real world situation, and this illusion facilitates the learning process.

7. Teachers welcome management games since student participation is excellent.

8. By mixing with managers from different functional areas, managers get a better appreciation of other functional areas.

9. The effect of long-term policies can be demonstrated in the game.

10. The efficiency of planning and systematic approach can be demonstrated.

11. Team co-operation can be fostered and departmental conflicts softened down and/or eliminated.

12. Promising young managers get a perspective on the company as a whole when they work with their senior colleagues in the game.

13. The specified time limit imposes the time constraint on the trainees which stimulates reality.

14. The method is inexpensive and can be organised easily.

The main demerits are:

1. It sometimes discourages originality for teams have to adopt themselves to rigid situations.

2. The logical solutions suggested by the team to be abstracted from compulsions against which it had to be tackled in the actual situation.

Method # 11. Business or Management Game :

Business games are classroom simulation exercises in which teams of individuals compete against one another or against an environment in order to achieve a given objective. These games are designed to be representative of real-life conditions. Under these, an atmosphere is created in which the participants play a dynamic role, and enrich their skills through involvement and simulated experience.

Most business games are expressed in the form of a mathematical model controlled and manipulated by an electric computer; while others can be played manually. In the former case, quicker feedback is available- clerical work is avoided and time is controlled. Some games are interacting types of games, while others are non-interacting types.

The interacting types of games are like a game of tennis- the decisions of one team influence or affect the performance of the other teams. In the non-interacting types of games, each team is independent, and its performance entirely depends upon its own competence; the decisions of one team do not affect others.

Usually, management games consist of several teams which represent competing companies. Each team consists of 2 to 6 members. Teams take decisions regarding production, prices, research expenditure, marketing, advertising, and attempt to maximise hypothetical profits in this simulated environment.

The decisions of a team are fed into a computer which has been programmed according to a particular model of the market. The game continues for 6 to 12 periods. At the end of that period, the final results are worked out by each team and compared with those of others.

Business games are intended to teach trainees how to take management decisions in an integrated manner. The participants learn by analysing problems and by making trial-and-error decisions. Such games illustrate the existence of various group processes, including communication, the resolution of conflicts, the emergence of leadership, and the development of ties of friendship.

Merits and Demerits of the Business Games’ Method:

1. There is usually a great sense of excitement and enjoyment in playing the game. This helps to develop problem-solving skills; and helps focus attention on the need for planning than on “putting out fires.”

2. As the companies elect their own officers and develop their own organisation structures, they can, therefore, be useful for developing leadership skills and for fostering co-operation and teamwork.

3. It helps to analyse and select the significant and relevant data from a mass of information; and also helps ability to decide with incomplete data and amid conditions of uncertainty.

4. It helps in changing attitudes. The participant becomes more tolerant.

5. A major problem with games is that they can be very expensive to develop and implement particularly when the game itself is computerised.

6. Management games usually force decision maker to choose his alternatives from a “closed” list; in real life managers are more often rewarded for creating new alternatives.

7. Though games may be accurate simulations, they are never totally realistic; for no evidence is available which may indicate that those who are successful in business games will also be successful in a real job.

On the whole, the trainees almost always react favourably to a well-run game and it is a good technique for developing problem-solving and leadership skills.

Method # 12. Sensitivity, Laboratory or T-Group Training :

This method was originally developed by Kurt Lewin and popularised by the National Training Laboratories, USA under Leland Bradford. It is known by several names such as ‘sensitivity training’, ‘T-group training’, ‘action training’, ‘Group dynamics’, ‘Confrontation Groups’, ‘Awareness expertise’, ‘human capacity movement’, ‘sensitivity retreats’, ‘encounter sessions’ and so forth.

According to Chris Argyris, “sensitivity training is a group experience designed to provide maximum possible opportunity for the individuals to expose their behaviour, give and receive feedback, experiment with new behaviour and develop awareness of self and of others.”

Objectives:

Sensitivity training involves the use of development techniques which attempt to increase or improve human sensitivity and awareness. The goal of laboratory training is broadly defined as “helping trainees to improve in quality and participation in human affairs.”

In other words, it tries to provide:

1. Managers with increased awareness of their own behaviour and of how others perceive them;

2. Greater sensitivity to be behaviour of others, and increased understanding of group process;

3. A clarification and development of personal values and goals consonant with a democratic and scientific approach to problem of social and personal decision and action;

4. Development of concepts and theoretical insights that will serve as tools in linking personal values, goals and intentions to actions that are consistent with these inner factors and with the situation requirements; and

5. Achievement of greater behavioural effectiveness in transactions with one’s various environments.

Thus, it will be observed that the objectives of sensitivity training include an understanding of oneself and sensitivity to others; an ability to listen to others and to communicate diagnostic understanding of group problem, and ability to contribute effectively and properly to the work of the group; and an understanding of the complexities of inter-group and intra-organisation problems.

The specific results sought include increased ability to empathise with others, improved listening skills, greater openness, increased tolerance for individual differences, and improved conflict resolution skills.

Outline of a Typical Sensitivity Training Programme :

The basic pattern of such a programme is to organise trainees into small unstructured group consisting of 10 to 15 persons in which interaction will occur regularly throughout the training programme. Usually there is no leader, no planned agenda and no stated goal. The trainees may be given case, role-playing situations or other training assignments as a springboard for group interaction.

The discussion focuses on “here and now”, i.e., the participants, are encouraged to openly discuss each participant’s attitudes, reactions and other behavioural patterns. The participants are also encouraged to be introspective and at the same time to be more empathetic toward the feeling of others.

The feedback process is all important. The trainees have to feel secure enough to inform each other truthfully on their personal feelings and reactions to one another’s behaviour. The emphasis is on a “face-to-face” interaction and confrontation.

Advantages and Disadvantages of T-Group Training:

T-group may be used to help participants:

1. Learn more about themselves, especially their own weaknesses and emotions;

2. Develop insights into how they react to others and how others react to them;

3. Discover how groups work and how to diagnose human relations problems;

4. Find out how to behave more effectively in interpersonal relations and how to manage people through means other than power;

5. Develop more “competent” and “authentic” relations in which feelings are expressed openly;

6. Confront interpersonal problems directly, so that they may be solved, and not try to avoid them; rather smooth them over, or seek a compromise.

7. The trainers often create stress situations. At times, groups are “converted into psychological nudist camps which end up mainly as self-flagellation societies.” There is a danger that training of this sort may do a better job of tearing apart people than of bringing them together.

8. Whatever changes occur the trainees tend to fade out when they return to an unsympathetic environment in which company policy and their boss’s attitude may inhibit the exercise of their newly learned skills.

9. This type of training makes the management trainee so sensitive to the feelings of others that he is unwilling to take hard decisions.

Sensitivity training is a very controversial development technique. The reason is the depth of emotional involvement required of trainees. They laterally need to bare their souls in training session and so training is, thus very personal in nature. Sensitivity training has, therefore, been widely criticised.

The critics have observed:

1. Sensitivity training based on creating stress situations for their own sake.

2. The participants are often unaware of what the outcome of a session will be.

3. Its ultimate goals and techniques are often inconsistent with the business and economic world in which we live.

4. Such a training has been known to result in nervous breakdown of trainees.

5. Anybody with a registration fee can attend.

In the light of the above criticisms, some hints for setting a T-group programme may be somewhat like this:

1. T-Group training is more appropriate for developing “organic” organisations. When this type of openness and flexible organisation structure is not appropriate, such a training is not appropriate.

2. The leader-trainer must be carefully selected on the basis of his ability to lead effectively so that emotional situations can be translated into constructive rather than destructive consequences.

3. The participants for such training should be selected for their emotional stability and then tolerance for anxiety.

4. Programme should be strictly voluntary.

5. All trainees should know ahead of time what sort of training they are going to get.

6. A great deal of attention should be given to building in mechanisms for transferring the learning back to the organisation.

Method # 13. Simulation :

It is a training technique which indicates the duplication of organizational situations in a learning environment. It is a mock-up of a real thing. This technique has been used for developing technical and interpersonal skills.

In simulation, the following procedure is usually adopted:

i. Essential characteristics of a real-life organisation or activity are abstracted and presented as a case not to be studied and analyzed a in the usual case study method but to be experienced by the trainee as a realistic, life-like circumstance.

ii. Trainees are asked to assume various roles in the circumstance and to solve the problem facing them. They are asked to be themselves, not to act.

iii. A simulation often involves a telescopic or compressing of time events; a single hour may be equated with a month or a quarter of a year in real life, and many events are experienced in a relatively brief period of time.

iv. Trainees are required to make decision that have a real effect in the simulation and about which they receive rapid feedback.

v. The simulation is followed by a critique of what went on during the exercise.

The advantages to simulation are the opportunities to attempt to “create an environment” similar to real situations the managers incur, without high costs involved should the action prove undesirable. The disadvantages are that it is difficult to duplicate the pressures and realities of actual decision-making on the jobs, and individuals often act differently in real-life situations when they do in acting out a simulated exercise.

Method # 14. Conferences :

The conference method is another commonly used method of executive development. Topics such as human relations, safety education, customer relations, sales training, are often discussed, debated, spoken about at conferences specially organised and designed for the purpose.

A conference is a meeting of people to discuss a subject of common interest. The conference is structured around a small group meeting wherein a leader helps the group identify and define a problem, guides the discussion along desired lines and summarises the views that represent the consensus of the group in dealing with the problem.

The participants exchange notes, opinions, ideas on the subject in a systematic, planned way. A conference may be divided into small groups for focused discussions. Participants are expected to air their opinions and thoughts freely.

In order to ensure its success- (i) participants are expected to come prepared for the conference, (ii) the conference leader should conduct the sessions according to a plan, giving enough room for healthy interchange of different viewpoints, (iii) the discussion should proceed along desired lines and (iv) the size of the group should not be too large.

Method # 15. Lectures :

Lectures are formal presentations on a topic by an experienced and knowledgeable person. The presentation is generally supported by discussions, case studies, audiovisual aids and film shows. It is a simple and inexpensive way of imparting knowledge on a topic of special importance to a large audience.

There could be a speedy interchange of ideas on a specific topic. The method may often degenerate into a kind of one-way traffic where the presenter tries to get ahead without paying attention to the reactions of the audience. If the lecture is not interesting enough, the audience may not participate and offer any feedback. The listeners play a largely non-participatory role.

They may ask questions but they never get the feel of what is being talked about. Moreover, participants do not share each other’s experiences and hence the learning is confined to what the presenter has to say. The method could bring in good results only when the presentation is interesting, lively and gives enough room for healthy interaction between the presenter and the audience.

Unless the presenter possesses excellent communication skills, participants may get bored and may quit the session in a hurry. To make lectures more interesting, therefore, the presenter must be fully equipped with audio visual aids, lively examples, interesting anecdotes, etc.

Methods used for Management Development (Major Training Methods Used in India)

A feasible mix for formula of MDP rests on two main pil­lars, viz.

i. On-the-job experience, i.e., work experience under the close guidance and coaching of the boss, and

ii. Classroom training and education courses, i.e., formal training program­mes to learn new knowledge, new techniques, broader concepts of theory and philosophy of management.

Formal courses can enable a manager to assimilate the theory of management. However, real learning takes place only when the learners get an opportunity to bring into practice the new ideas and tech­niques and this is possible only through work experience or on- the-job training under the able guidance of the boss.

In other words, classroom training and on-the-job experience must be closely interrelated and both these methods must be duly ba­lanced and carried out in an atmosphere of sound and enlight­ened management demonstrated by the top executives of the company. We shall now describe briefly some of the important methods of management development programme (MDP).

Following are some of the major training methods used in India under the programme of management development:

1. Lecture Method:

The lecture method with question- answer facility is the best method to pass on ideas, concepts, information and knowledge.

A good lecture must:

i. Motivate group interest,

ii. Be well planned as to the purpose, main ideas, clear organisation, interesting development,

iii. Be well presented enthusiastically and tailor-made to the listener’s needs and interest,

iv. Not drag out in length- 30 minutes to one hour (normal duration).

Let the lecture be combined with guided discussion wherein the lecturer not only gives informa­tion and ideas but also raises leading questions to which stu­dents provide answers. The lecturer should also give demonstra­tions and formal reading assignments and, if possible, show films. Anecdotes, jokes and other attention getters may be used occasionally to hold the full attention of listeners during the lecture period.

2. Syndicate Method:

Syndicate method is suitable only if the participants are fairly advanced in their fields. Participants of the syndicate are carefully selected. The syndicate is given a task properly spelt out in terms of briefs, background papers etc. The teacher acts as a resource, rather than as a lecturer.

The syndicate method is a device for the study of specific problems and also for other tasks. Each syndicate prepares a report which is presented to other groups of executives. Oppor­tunity is provided for discussion, suggestions, criticism, com­ments, recommendations for action. We have a team of members representing different interests so that we have good inter­change of ideas and experiences.

3. Case Method:

Case studies are extensively used in teaching law, personnel management, human relations, labour- relations, marketing, production management, finance manage­ment and business policy. A case is a real life illustration for studying a problem. The case helps in developing analytical skills and decision-making skills.

The learner finds that there are more ways than one to analyse and to solve a problem. He learns to look objectively at the facts, analyse them, find out various alternative solutions and support the best final solu­tion. The group of learners must be fairly well advanced in understanding the various concepts of management. Great care is needed in the preparation of case study material and in case writing.

Cases can be used in two ways:

(1) A case is submitted after describing the formal concepts and theory. The students should apply the theory and knowledge to specific situations.

(2) A case may be assigned to students for written analysis and or oral class debate without giving explanation of relevant theory and concepts.

Of course, it is presumed that the stu­dents are mature and possess enough background in the subject matter of the case. Case discussion is an important aspect of case study method; discussion should be free and informal.

The teacher must be competent and he should act as a catalyst. He helps students to discover by themselves views and ideas on the subject matter of the case. His goal is to guide the learning- teaching process.

There are many advantages of the case study method:

i. It provides for learning by doing;

ii. It develops analytical thinking,

iii. It gives problem solving ability;

iv. It broadens the student’s horizon of knowledge and

v. It is the best means for integrating knowledge secured from a num­ber of knowledge fields.

4. Role Playing:

Role playing is a supplementary training method usually combined with the lecture or the conference. It has been widely used for leadership and human relations training. A trainee gets an opportunity to learn relations skills through practice and develops a good insight in the intricate inter-personal behaviours. Role playing can bring about the desired changes in the behaviour and attitudes of trainees.

Typical examples of role playing are:

i. A salesman presenting a sales talk, on a product to a- purchasing agent;

ii. A superior discussing a grievance with an employee;

iii. A boss conducting a post-appraisal review with a subordinate; and

iv. An inter­viewer conducting an employment interview.

Role-playing experience soon points out the gap between ‘thinking’ and ‘doing’. It involves action, doing and practice. You learn by doing. You can appreciate the views of others. Knowledge of results is immediate. Knowledge secured by text­books, lectures and discussions can be put into practice imme­diately.

It is not a drama or mere acting but is a useful method to project life between learning in the class-room and working on the job and creating live business situation in the class­room. Basic mental sets are stated for all participants, but no dialogue is supplied. Two or more trainees are given parts to play before the rest of the class. We have no lines to memorise and no rehearsals.

They play their parts spontaneously before the group. The role players and the class do analyse and cri­ticize the behaviour of the players. Hence, we get immediately the knowledge of results. The role playing method offers the advantages of the case method and, in addition, provides train­ing in understanding the attitudes and feelings of other per­sons.

It is particularly effective in developing empathy the understanding of the other person’s feelings and attitudes. It increases the sensitivity of the participant to the feelings of others through feedback.

5. Conference Method:

It is the reverse of the lecture method. It assumes that all members have the ideas, knowledge and information. It involves a group of people to pool ideas, examine and share facts and test assumptions and draw con­clusions, all of which contributes to the improvement of job performance.

The conference leader does not dominate and monopolise the discussions, but tries to bring out the best from every member. He makes a preliminary statement indi­cating the scope of the subject and submits issues for discus­sion. He puts questions and induces the members to participate actively in the discussion. The conference method should not have more than 20 members.

We have three kinds of conferen­ces:

i. Guided or instructional conference (used for training purposes);

ii. Consultative conference; and

iii. Problem-solv­ing conference.

The conference method is very useful for the development of conceptual knowledge and also for the creation and modification of attitudes. Case study uses the conference method.

6. Management Games:

Teams of trainees are formed to meet, discuss and reach decisions relating to subjects such as inventories, sales production amounts, research and develop­ment and many other management activities. A management or business game is a classroom simulation exercise in which trainee team compete against each other or against an environ­ment to achieve other given objectives.

The game closely resembles real-life conditions. Top management games teach trainees how to make top management decisions for the whole enterprise in an integrated manner. We have also games for particular functional area of management, e.g. marketing, financial, production, materials management and control.

Trainees learn by analysing problems, by using intuition and judgement and by making trial-and-error decisions. But, since situations are artificial, they do not pay the price for wrong decisions, as it would be in real-life conditions. We have objec­tive feedback of the consequences of decisions. The feedback is quick and it helps learning.

A management game satisfies egot­istic needs and interest is sustained. These games provide the instructors opportunity to study patterns of communication, emergence of leaders, solution of disputes, etc. Management games must be used with lectures, reading assignments and conference discussions.

7. Incident Process Method:

It was developed by Paul and Faith Pigors. It is a process in which an incident is presented to the trainee participants. Facts about the incident are deve­loped by the questions asked by trainees.

The process develops as follows:

i. Presentation of the incident,

ii. Fact-finding through questions asked by participants,

iii. The group defines the problem as a whole,

iv. Each individual will give written decision for the problem with supporting reasons,

v. The final decision is reached through group discussions of the case.

The incident process forces members to determine the facts before the problem or case is solved. In the usual case method, both facts and issues or problems are given to members before dis­cussion.

8. Sensitivity Training:

In 1946, the technique of sensitivity training (T-group training) was developed. The overall objec­tive of sensitivity training is the development of an awareness or sensitivity to the behavioural pattern of one’s self and others. You learn to see yourself as others view you, i.e., how your behaviour appeared to others.

More specific T-group goals Include:

i. Awareness and understanding to group processes,

ii. Increased openness to others of differing background,

iii. Greater concern f on needs of others,

iv. Increased tolerance for individual differences,

v. Greater acceptance of minority groups in work place,

vi. Enhanced listening skills, and

vii. Establishment of more realistic personal standards of behaviour.

Sensitivity training helps a manager to develop a greater trust and openness in his relations with his subordinates. A mana­ger can have better understanding of himself and also of his subordinates. Sensitivity group training involves face-to-face contact with a small group for a couple of weeks.

As a unit is a small training group, it is referred as “T-Group”, the T’ stands for training. Under sensitivity training, the learning takes place not on an intellectual level, but on a ‘feeling’ level, since the individual is actually experiencing events rather than talk­ing about them. Co-operation and acceptance cannot be ordered in this group.

Thus the trainee manager must undergo real soul searching in terms of behavioural changes before being accepted by the fellow participants. All members are treated as equals in the group. The individuals play themselves instead of some structured role.

When sensitivity training is combined with lectures, dis­cussions, group exercises, personal skill training, readings and feedback sessions, we call it “laboratory training”. It was in­troduced in business around 1960. It tries to improve human relations understanding skills by means of face-to-face inter­actions within the small group meetings.

T-Group assist ma­nagers to perceive and learn from consequences to their beha­viour. It stresses directness, openness and frankness in your interpersonal relationships. It focuses attention upon emo­tions, feelings and interactions. T-Group tones up the organi­sation climate through higher sensitiveness and trust of ma­nagers as well as greater respect, for contribution of others- peers, subordinates, or superiors.

If all managers undergo sensi­tivity training, we can have a big change in the total organisational behaviour and climate. We will have more humanised organisation.

9. Project Method:

As a method of development, the special assignment or project method is a very useful and flexible training device. A special project such as mechanisation of material handling, marketing of a new product, provision of technical service, branch expansion, organisation structure, management reporting systems, solving industrial relations is­sues, computer introduction, etc., may be given to an individual executive who will work on the project, collect data, make the analysis and investigation and offer his recommendations.

This helps considerably in the growth of a manager. You may go a step further and ask him also to implement the recommenda­tions if these are sound and useful. In the process an individual manager has ample scope for personal development. Many companies in India use this method.

Project method is also used by many Indian management institutions for their student trainees. A student is assigned a certain problem area in his own specialisation. He studies a live problem of an organi­sation, collects the data conducts analysis and investigation, and prepares a proposal giving his conclusion and recommen­dations.

He prepares the project report with the help of his coach or guide. Oral examination is given to test the depth of understanding of the student and provide him an opportu­nity to explain the conclusions and solutions given in his report.

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Human Resource Management , Functions , Management Development

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What is Committee Organisation?

A committee organisation refers to a structure where committees are established to assist decision-making and problem-solving processes within an organisation. These committees are composed of individuals with specific expertise or knowledge in relevant areas and are tasked with addressing specific management functions or tasks. The committee organisation provides a platform for diverse perspectives and expertise to be brought together, ensuring more comprehensive and well-informed decision-making. By involving individuals from various functional areas or levels of the organisation, committees promote collaboration and facilitate the distribution of workload and responsibilities. However, the committee organisation must be effectively coordinated to avoid decision-making bottlenecks or fragmentation. When implemented appropriately, the committee organisation can enhance the quality of management decisions and contribute to the overall effectiveness of the organisation’s operations.

Committee Organisation

Features of Committee Organisation

The committee organisation is characterised by several distinctive features, some of which are mentioned below:

1. Task-oriented Focus: Committees are established with a clear and specific purpose in mind. Each committee is assigned a particular task or responsibility that aligns with the organisation’s objectives. This ensures that committees can address specific issues or management functions efficiently.

2. Expertise and Diversity: Committee members are carefully selected based on their expertise, knowledge, and relevance to the matter at hand. The diverse backgrounds and skill sets of committee members contribute to a wide range of perspectives, fostering comprehensive, and well-informed decision-making.

3. Collaboration and Collective Decision-making: Committees emphasise collaboration and collective decision-making. Members work together, pooling their insights and expertise to analyse problems, gather information, and propose solutions or recommendations. This collaborative approach ensures that decisions are made collectively, benefiting from collective wisdom and diverse viewpoints.

4. Workload Distribution: Committee organisations enable the distribution of workload and responsibilities among committee members. This division of tasks ensures that each member can contribute their expertise to specific areas of management, leading to efficient handling of responsibilities.

5. Decision Implementation and Monitoring: In addition to decision-making, committees are responsible for overseeing the implementation of decisions and monitoring progress. Committee members play an active role in ensuring that decisions are executed effectively, aligned with the organisation’s objectives, and are regularly monitored for progress.

6. Reporting and Communication: Committees are often required to provide regular reports, updates, or recommendations to the management team or stakeholders. Effective communication channels are established to facilitate seamless information flow between committees and other relevant parties.

7. Flexibility and Adaptability: Committee organisations demonstrate flexibility and adaptability, allowing for the creation of temporary committees or the reformation of existing ones to address emerging challenges or changing organisational needs. This flexibility ensures that committees can respond promptly and effectively to new circumstances.

Suitability of Committee Organisation

The suitability of a committee organisation depends on a range of factors and specific circumstances. Some of the key considerations to be kept in mind while assessing the suitability of committee organisations are as follows:

1. Complexity of Tasks: Committee organisations are particularly suitable when dealing with complex and multifaceted tasks that require diverse expertise and perspectives. By bringing together individuals with specialised knowledge, committees can effectively address the intricacies and challenges associated with such tasks.

2. Emphasis on Collaboration: If an organisation places a strong emphasis on collaboration and collective decision-making, a committee organisation can be an appropriate choice. Committees provide a platform for open discussions, idea sharing, and consensus-building among members. This collaborative approach fosters stronger decision-making outcomes and a greater sense of collective ownership.

3. Representation of Stakeholders: Committee organisations excel in situations where it is crucial to include various stakeholders or interest groups in decision-making processes. By ensuring representation from different areas or levels of the organisation, as well as external stakeholders, committees can incorporate diverse perspectives and avoid overlooking important viewpoints.

4. Distribution of Workload and Delegation: Committee organisations are advantageous when there is a need to distribute workload and delegate responsibilities effectively. By assigning specific tasks to committee members, organisations can prevent individuals from becoming overwhelmed and promote greater productivity through shared efforts.

5. Flexibility and Adaptability: The ability to form temporary or ad-hoc committees to address specific issues or projects is a key strength of committee organisations. This flexibility allows organisations to respond swiftly to emerging needs or changing circumstances, facilitating agility and adaptability.

6. Accountability and Transparency: Committee organisations contribute to accountability and transparency within an organisation. By establishing clear goals, defined processes, and documentation, committees promote traceability and ensure that actions and decisions can be effectively traced back to stakeholders.

7. Alignment with Organisational Culture and Structure: It is important to assess the compatibility of a committee organisation with the existing organisational culture and structure. While some organisations have a strong tradition of involving committees in decision-making, others may prefer a more hierarchical or individual-driven approach. A successful committee organisation aligns with the organisation’s culture and structure to ensure acceptance and effectiveness.

Advantages of Committee Organisation

Advantages and Disadvantages of Committee Organisation

The committee organisation brings forth numerous advantages in the management of an organisation. Some of them are as follows:

1. Diverse Expertise: Committees assemble individuals with varied backgrounds, skills, and knowledge. This diversity of expertise enables committees to approach complex issues from different angles and make well-informed decisions. The range of perspectives fosters comprehensive problem-solving and encourages innovative ideas.

2. Shared Responsibility: Committee organisations ensure the equitable distribution of workload and responsibilities among committee members. This prevents individuals from becoming overwhelmed and promotes a balanced allocation of tasks. Shared responsibility nurtures a spirit of collaboration and teamwork, as committee members work together towards common objectives.

3. Efficient Decision-making: Committees facilitate efficient decision-making processes. By harnessing the collective knowledge and expertise of committee members, decisions can be reached promptly and effectively. Committees provide a platform for in-depth discussions, thorough analysis of options, and consideration of various viewpoints, resulting in well-considered and balanced decisions.

4. Enhanced Accountability: Committee organisations foster accountability among members. Each member has a defined role and responsibility within the committee, and their contributions and actions are visible to others. This promotes a sense of ownership and ensures that decisions and tasks are carried out effectively.

5. Stakeholder Representation: Committees often include representatives from diverse stakeholder groups within an organisation. This ensures that multiple perspectives and interests are considered during the decision-making process. Stakeholder representation enhances transparency, builds trust, and increases the likelihood of decisions that align with the organisation’s overall objectives.

6. Effective Communication: Committee organisations establish structured communication channels among members and with other parts of the organisation. Regular meetings and interactions facilitate the exchange of information, updates, and progress reports. Effective communication ensures that everyone remains well-informed, aligned, and able to contribute effectively to the committee’s work.

7. Flexibility and Adaptability: Committee organisations exhibit flexibility and adaptability to changing circumstances or emerging needs. New committees can be formed or existing ones can be adjusted to address specific issues or initiatives. This flexibility enables organisations to respond promptly to evolving challenges and seize opportunities as they arise.

Disadvantages of Committee Organisation

While committee organisations have their advantages, they also come with certain disadvantages. some of them are as follows:

1. Time-consuming Decision-making: Committees often involve multiple members, which can lead to lengthy decision-making processes. The need for discussions, debates, and consensus-building among committee members can extend the time required to reach a decision. This can result in delays, especially in situations where prompt decision-making is crucial.

2. Potential for Biases in Decision-making: Committee organisations are not immune to decision-making biases. Groupthink, where members prioritise conformity over critical thinking, can hinder the exploration of alternative viewpoints or innovative ideas. Additionally, the presence of dominant personalities or power dynamics within the committee can influence decision outcomes.

3. Diffusion of Individual Accountability: With shared responsibilities, individual accountability may become diluted. Committee members may feel less individually accountable for decision outcomes or implementation, leading to potential gaps in accountability. This diffusion of responsibility can hinder effective execution and follow-through on decisions.

4. Possibility of Conflicts and Disagreements: Committees consist of individuals with diverse perspectives and interests, which can sometimes lead to conflicts and disagreements. Disagreements may result in prolonged discussions or even impede decision-making if consensus cannot be reached. Managing conflicts and maintaining constructive dialogue becomes crucial in committee organisations.

5. Overlapping Responsibilities and Duplication of Efforts: In some cases, committee organisations can lead to duplication of efforts or overlapping responsibilities. This can occur when committees have similar mandates or when there is inadequate coordination between them. The lack of clear boundaries and communication can create inefficiencies and confusion within the organisation.

6. Administrative Burden: Establishing and managing committee organisations require administrative efforts. This includes organising meetings, managing documentation, and ensuring effective communication channels. The administrative workload can sometimes be demanding, particularly if there are numerous committees within the organisation.

7. Potential Limitations in Representation: While committees aim to include diverse perspectives, they may not always fully represent all stakeholders or affected parties. Some voices may be underrepresented, resulting in decisions that do not adequately consider all relevant viewpoints. It is important to ensure inclusivity and comprehensive stakeholder engagement to mitigate this limitation.

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Case-method teaching: advantages and disadvantages in organizational training

Purpose The purpose of this paper is to introduce case-method teaching (CMT), its advantages and disadvantages for the process of organizational training within organizations, as well as to compare its advantages and disadvantages with current training methods. Design/methodology/approach The authors applied a systematic literature review to define, identify and compare CMT with current methods. Findings In CMT, participants get involved with real-world challenges from an action perspective instead of analyzing them from a distance. Also, different reactions of the participants to the same challenge aid instructors to identify the individual differences of participants toward the challenge. Although CMT is still not considered as a popular organizational training method, the advantages of CMT may encourage organizational instructors to further apply it. Improving the long-term memory, enhancing the quality of decision making and understanding the individual differences of individuals are the advantages of CMT. Research limitations/implications A lack of sufficient empirical researchers and the high cost of conducting this method may prevent practitioners to apply it. Originality/value The review suggested that CMT is able to bring dilemmas from the real world into training settings. Also, it helps organizations to identify the individual reactions before they make a decision.

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Two hundred forty subjects working alone and in pairs performed three different versions of a task similar to industrial inspection: a rating task and spatial and temporal two-alternative forced-choice (2AFC) tasks. Performance was worse on the rating task than on the 2AFC tasks, and the spatial and temporal 2AFC tasks were performed equally well. These results could signify that performance is impaired more by demands made on long-term memory than by demands made on perception and sensory memory, or that asking subjects to compare items is fundamentally different from, and easier than, asking subjects to judge items in absolute terms. Individual differences in performance were marked, but performance was inconsistent across different versions of the inspection task. When subjects worked in pairs, performance was comparable to that obtained by requiring items to pass two inspections by individual subjects. However, a single inspection by subject pairs required less time than two inspections by individual subjects. The practical implications of these findings are discussed.

Habitat and social context affect memory phenotype, exploration and covariance among these traits

Individual differences in cognitive ability are predicted to covary with other behavioural traits such as exploration and boldness. Selection within different habitats may act to either enhance or break down covariance among traits; alternatively, changing the environmental context in which traits are assessed may result in plasticity that alters trait covariance. Pond snails, Lymnaea stagnalis , from two laboratory strains (more than 20 generations in captivity) and F1 laboratory reared from six wild populations were tested for long-term memory and exploration traits (speed and thigmotaxis) following maintenance in grouped and isolated conditions to determine if isolation: (i) alters memory and exploration; and (ii) alters covariance between memory and exploration. Populations that demonstrated strong memory formation (longer duration) under grouped conditions demonstrated weaker memory formation and reduced both speed and thigmotaxis following isolation. In wild populations, snails showed no relationship between memory and exploration in grouped conditions; however, following isolation, exploration behaviour was negatively correlated with memory, i.e. slow-explorers showing low levels of thigmotaxis formed stronger memories. Laboratory strains demonstrated no covariance among exploration traits and memory independent of context. Together these data demonstrate that the relationship between cognition and exploration traits can depend on both habitat and context-specific trait plasticity. This article is part of the theme issue ‘Causes and consequences of individual differences in cognitive abilities’.

Guidance in the Interface

How can we design technology that suits human cognitive needs? In this chapter, we review research on the effects of externalizing information on the interface versus requiring people to internalize it. We discuss the advantages and disadvantages of externalizing information. Further, we discuss some of our own research investigating how externalizing or not externalizing information in program interfaces influences problem-solving performance. In general, externalization provides information relevant to immediate task execution visibly or audibly in the interface. Thus, remembering certain task-related knowledge becomes unnecessary, which relieves working memory. Examples are visual feedback aids such as “graying out” nonapplicable menu items. On the contrary, when certain needed task-related information is not externalized on the interface, it needs to be internalized, stored in working memory and long-term memory. In many task situations, having the user acquire more knowledge of the structure of the task or its underlying rules is desirable. We examined the hypothesis that while externalization will yield better performance during initial learning, internalization will yield a better performance later. We furthermore expected internalization to result in better knowledge, and expected it to provoke less trial-and-error behavior. We conducted an experiment where we compared an interface with certain information externalized versus not externalizing it, and measured performance and knowledge. In a second session 8 months later, we investigated what was left of the participants’ knowledge and skills, and presented them with a transfer task. The results showed that requiring internalization can yield advantages over having all information immediately at hand. This shows that using cognitive findings to enhance the effectiveness of software (especially software with specific purposes) can make a valuable contribution to the field of human-computer interaction.

How a Brain Makes a Mind

A historical overview is given of interdisciplinary work in physics and psychology by some of the greatest nineteenth-century scientists, and why the fields split, leading to a century of ferment before the current scientific revolution in mind-brain sciences began to understand how we autonomously adapt to a changing world. New nonlinear, nonlocal, and nonstationary intuitions and laws are needed to understand how brains make minds. Work of Helmholtz on vision illustrates why he left psychology. His concept of unconscious inference presaged modern ideas about learning, expectation, and matching that this book scientifically explains. The fact that brains are designed to control behavioral success has profound implications for the methods and models that can unify mind and brain. Backward learning in time, and serial learning, illustrate why neural networks are a natural language for explaining brain dynamics, including the correct functional stimuli and laws for short-term memory (STM), medium-term memory (MTM), and long-term memory (LTM) traces. In particular, brains process spatial patterns of STM and LTM, not just individual traces. A thought experiment leads to universal laws for how neurons, and more generally all cellular tissues, process distributed STM patterns in cooperative-competitive networks without experiencing contamination by noise or pattern saturation. The chapter illustrates how thinking this way leads to unified and principled explanations of huge databases. A brief history of the advantages and disadvantages of the binary, linear, and continuous-nonlinear sources of neural models is described, and how models like Deep Learning and the author’s contributions fit into it.

Pediatric Glaucoma: A Literature’s Review and Analysis of Surgical Results

The purpose of this paper is to review the surgical options available for the management of pediatric glaucoma, to evaluate their advantages and disadvantages together with their long-term efficacy, all with the intent to give guidelines to physicians on which elements are to be considered when taking a surgical decision. Currently there is a range of surgical procedures that are being used for the management of pediatric glaucoma. Within these, some are completely new approaches, while others are improvements of the more traditional procedures. Throughout this vast range of surgical options, angle surgery remains the first choice in mild cases and both goniotomy and trabeculotomy have good success rates. Trabeculectomy with or without mitomycin C (MMC) is preferred in refractory cases, in aphakic eyes, and in older children. GDIs have a good success rate in aphakic eyes. Nonpenetrating deep sclerectomy is still rarely used; nevertheless the results of ongoing studies are encouraging. The different clinical situations should always be weighed against the risks associated with the procedures for the individual patients. Glaucomatous progression can occur many years after its stabilization and at any time during the follow-up period; for this reason life-long assessment is necessary.

Individual Differences in Learning Efficiency

Most research on long-term memory uses an experimental approach whereby participants are assigned to different conditions, and condition means are the measures of interest. This approach has demonstrated repeatedly that conditions that slow the rate of learning tend to improve later retention. A neglected question is whether aggregate findings at the level of the group (i.e., slower learning tends to improve retention) translate to the level of individual people. We identify a discrepancy whereby—across people—slower learning tends to coincide with poorer memory. The positive relation between learning rate (speed of learning) and retention (amount remembered after a delay) across people is referred to as learning efficiency. A more efficient learner can acquire information faster and remember more of it over time. We discuss potential characteristics of efficient learners and consider future directions for research.

Working Memory: Models and Applications

In 1956, Miller first reported on a capacity limitation in the amount of information the human brain can process, which was thought to be seven plus or minus two items. The system of memory used to process information for immediate use was coined “working memory” by Miller, Galanter, and Pribram in 1960. In 1968, Atkinson and Shiffrin proposed their multistore model of memory, which theorized that the memory system was separated into short-term memory, long-term memory, and the sensory register, the latter of which temporarily holds and forwards information from sensory inputs to short term-memory for processing. Baddeley and Hitch built upon the concept of multiple stores, leading to the development of the multicomponent model of working memory in 1974, which described two stores devoted to the processing of visuospatial and auditory information, both coordinated by a central executive system. Later, Cowan’s theorizing focused on attentional factors in the effortful and effortless activation and maintenance of information in working memory. In 1988, Cowan published his model—the scope and control of attention model. In contrast, since the early 2000s Engle has investigated working memory capacity through the lens of his individual differences model, which does not seek to quantify capacity in the same way as Miller or Cowan. Instead, this model describes working memory capacity as the interplay between primary memory (working memory), the control of attention, and secondary memory (long-term memory). This affords the opportunity to focus on individual differences in working memory capacity and extend theorizing beyond storage to the manipulation of complex information. These models and advancements have made significant contributions to understandings of learning and cognition, informing educational research and practice in particular. Emerging areas of inquiry include investigating use of gestures to support working memory processing, leveraging working memory measures as a means to target instructional strategies for individual learners, and working memory training. Given that working memory is still debated, and not yet fully understood, researchers continue to investigate its nature, its role in learning and development, and its implications for educational curricula, pedagogy, and practice.

Long-term memory of real-world episodes is independent of recency effects: magic tricks as ecological tasks

Individual differences in positive affect moderate age-related declines in episodic long-term memory, developmental and individual differences in long-term memory retrieval: process and organization, export citation format, share document.

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  • v.3; Jan-Dec 2016

Methodological Aspects of Focus Groups in Health Research

Anja p. tausch.

1 GESIS–Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Mannheim, Germany

Natalja Menold

Although focus groups are commonly used in health research to explore the perspectives of patients or health care professionals, few studies consider methodological aspects in this specific context. For this reason, we interviewed nine researchers who had conducted focus groups in the context of a project devoted to the development of an electronic personal health record. We performed qualitative content analysis on the interview data relating to recruitment, communication between the focus group participants, and appraisal of the focus group method. The interview data revealed aspects of the focus group method that are particularly relevant for health research and that should be considered in that context. They include, for example, the preferability of face-to-face recruitment, the necessity to allow participants in patient groups sufficient time to introduce themselves, and the use of methods such as participant-generated cards and prioritization.

Focus groups have been widely used in health research in recent years to explore the perspectives of patients and other groups in the health care system (e.g., Carr et al., 2003 ; Côté-Arsenault & Morrison-Beedy, 2005 ; Kitzinger, 2006 ). They are often included in mixed-methods studies to gain more information on how to construct questionnaires or interpret results ( Creswell & Plano Clark, 2007 ; Kroll, Neri, & Miller, 2005 ).

The fact that the group process helps people to identify and clarify their views is considered to be an important advantage of focus groups compared with individual interviews ( Kitzinger, 1995 ). The group functions as a promoter of synergy and spontaneity by encouraging the participants to comment, explain, disagree, and share their views. Thus, experiences are shared and opinions voiced that might not surface during individual interviews ( Carey, 1994 ; Stewart, Shamdasani, & Rook, 2007 ). Although focus groups allow participants to respond in their own words and to choose discussion topics themselves, they are not completely unstructured. Questions relating to the research topic are designed by the researchers and are used to guide the discussion ( Stewart et al., 2007 ). The degree of structure of the focus group depends on the openness of the research question(s). Hence, although it takes more time and effort to organize focus groups, and they cause greater logistical problems than individual interviews do, they might generate more ideas about, and yield deeper insights into, the problem under investigation ( Coenen, Stamm, Stucki, & Cieza, 2012 ; Kingry, Tiedje, & Friedman, 1990 ; Morgan, 2009 ).

Historically, focus groups were used mainly for market research before the method was adopted for application in qualitative research in the social sciences ( Morgan, 1996 ). The use of focus groups in health care research is even more recent. For this reason, methodological recommendations on using focus groups in the health care context are quite rare, and researchers rely mainly on general advice from the social sciences (e.g., Krueger, 1988 ; Morgan, 1993 ; Morgan & Krueger, 1998 ; Stewart et al., 2007 ). Even though focus groups have been used in a great variety of health research fields, such as patients’ treatments and perceptions in the context of specific illnesses (rheumatoid arthritis: for example, Feldthusen, Björk, Forsblad-d’Elia, & Mannerkorpi, 2013 ; cancer: for example, Gerber, Hamann, Rasco, Woodruff, & Lee, 2012 ; diabetes: for example, Nafees, Lloyd, Kennedy-Martin, & Hynd, 2006 ; heart failure: for example, Rasmusson et al., 2014 ), community health research (e.g., Daley et al., 2010 ; Rhodes, Hergenrather, Wilkin, Alegría-Ortega, & Montaño, 2006 ), or invention of new diagnostic or therapeutic methods (e.g., Vincent, Clark, Marquez Zimmer, & Sanchez, 2006 ), the method and its particular use in health research is rarely reflected. Methodological articles about the focus group method in health care journals mainly summarize general advice from the social sciences (e.g., Kingry et al., 1990 ; Kitzinger, 1995 , 2006 ), while field-specific aspects of the target groups (patients, doctors, other medical staff) and the research questions (not only sociological but often also medical or technical) are seldom addressed. Reports on participant recruitment and methods of conducting the focus groups are primarily episodic in nature (e.g., Coenen et al., 2012 ; Côté-Arsenault & Morrison-Beedy, 2005 ) and often focus on very specific aspects of the method (communication: for example, Lehoux, Poland, & Daudelin, 2006 ; activating methods: for example, Colucci, 2007 ) or aim at a comparison between face-to-face focus groups and other methods (individual interviews: for example, Coenen et al., 2012 ; telephone groups: for example, Frazier et al., 2010 ; Internet groups: for example, Nicholas et al., 2010 ). Thus, systematic reviews of factors influencing the results of focus groups as well as advantages, disadvantages, and pitfalls are missing. One consequence is that researchers might find it difficult to recruit enough participants or might be surprised by the communication styles of the target groups. Furthermore, in the tradition of classical clinical research, the group discussions might result in a question-and-answer situation or “resemble individual interviews done in group settings” ( Colucci, 2007 , p. 1,424), thereby missing out on the opportunity to use the group setting to activate all participants and to encourage a deeper elaboration of their ideas. Colucci, for example, proposed the use of exercises (e.g., activity-oriented questions) to focus the attention of the group on the core topic and to facilitate subsequent analyses.

Recommendations from the social sciences on using the focus group method can be subsumed under the following headings: subjects (target groups, composition of groups, recruitment), communication in the groups (discussion guide, moderator, moderating techniques), and analysis of focus groups (e.g., Morgan, 1993 ; Morgan & Krueger, 1998 ; Stewart et al., 2007 ). Specific requirements for health research can be identified in all three thematic fields: Recruitment might be facilitated by using registers of quality circles to recruit physicians or pharmacists, or by recruiting patients in outpatients departments. It might be hampered by heavy burdens on target groups—be they time burdens (e.g., clinical schedules, time-consuming therapy) or health constraints (e.g., physical fitness). With regard to communication in focus groups, finding suitable locations, identifying optimal group sizes, planning a good time line, as well as selecting suitable moderators (e.g., persons who are capable of translating medical terms into everyday language) might pose a challenge. The analysis of focus groups in health care research might also require special procedures because the focus group method is used to answer not only sociological research questions (e.g., related to the reconstruction of the perspectives of target groups) but also more specific research questions, such as user requirements with regard to written information or technical innovations.

The aim of our study was to gather more systematic methodological information for conducting focus groups in the context of health research in general and in the more specific context of the implementation of a technical innovation. To this end, we conducted interviews with focus group moderators about their experiences when planning and moderating focus groups. The groups in question were part of a research program aimed at developing and evaluating an electronic personal health record. We chose this program for several reasons: First, because it consisted of several subprojects devoted to different research topics related to the development of a personal electronic health record, it offered a variety of research content (cf. next section). Second, the focus groups were conducted to answer research questions of varying breadth, which can be regarded as typical of research in health care. Third, the focus groups comprised a variety of target groups—not only patients but also different types of health care professionals (general practitioners, independent specialists with different areas of specialization, hospital doctors, pharmacists, medical assistants, nursing staff).

In this article, we report the findings of these interviews in relation to the following questions: (a) What challenges associated with the characteristics of the target groups of health research (patients, physicians, other health care professionals) might be considered during the recruitment process? How should the specific research question relating to a technical innovation be taken into account during the recruitment process? (b) Should specific aspects of the communication styles of target groups be taken into account when planning and moderating focus groups in health care? Can additional challenges be identified in relation to the technical research question? and (c) How was the method appraised by the interviewees in their own research context?

Research Program and Description of Focus Groups

The “Information Technology for Patient-Centered Health Care” (INFOPAT) research program ( www.infopat.eu ) addresses the fact that, because patients with chronic conditions (e.g., colorectal cancer, type 2 diabetes) have complex health care needs, many personal health data are collected in different health care settings. The aim of the program is to develop and evaluate an electronic personal health record aimed at improving regional health care for chronically ill people and strengthening patients’ participation in their health care process. Subprojects are devoted, for example, to developing the personal electronic health record (Project Cluster 1), a medication platform (Project Cluster 2), and a case management system for chronically ill patients (Project Cluster 3). In the first, qualitative, phase, the researchers explored patients’ and health care professionals’ experiences with cross-sectoral health care and patient self-management, and their expectations regarding the advantages and disadvantages of a personal electronic health record. The information gathered in this phase of the program served as a basis for constructing a personal electronic health record prototype. This prototype was implemented as an intervention in a second, quantitative, phase dedicated to investigating the impact of such a record on a range of health care variables (e.g., self-management, health status, patient–doctor relationship, compliance). The University Hospital Heidelberg Ethics Committee approved the studies of the INFOPAT research program. All participants gave their written informed consent, and the participants’ anonymity and confidentiality were ensured throughout the studies according to the ethical standards of German Sociological Association. 1

Twenty-one focus groups were conducted during the qualitative phase of the program. Three groups consisted of colorectal cancer patients, four comprised type 2 diabetes patients, four were made up of physicians, three comprised physicians and pharmacists, four consisted of physicians and other health care professionals, and three consisted of other health care professionals (for more detailed information, see Tausch & Menold, 2015 ). Participants were recruited from urban and rural districts of the Rhine-Neckar region in Germany. Patients were approached in clinics, by their local general practitioners, or in self-help groups. Health care professionals were recruited in clinics, cooperating medical practices, and professional networks.

The focus groups took place at several locations at the National Center of Tumor Diseases (NCT) in Heidelberg, Germany, and the University of Heidelberg. The groups consisted of between four and seven participants and lasted between 1.5 and 2 hours. All focus groups were conducted by two researchers—a moderator and a co-moderator; a third researcher took notes. Semistructured discussion guides were used, and the groups were video- and audio recorded (cf., for example, Baudendistel et al., 2015 ; Kamradt et al., 2015 ). The researchers performed content analysis on the transcripts; the schema of categories was oriented toward the research questions. The focus groups addressed research questions of varying breadth, including, for example, individual health care experiences (comparatively broad), the expected impact of the record on the patient–doctor relationship (medium breadth), and technical requirements for such a personal health record (comparatively narrow). The variety of the research questions was important for our study because it proved to be of relevance for the interviewees’ appraisal of the usefulness of the focus group method.

Interviews With the Focus Group Moderators

We conducted qualitative interviews with nine of the 10 focus group moderators in the INFOPAT program (one moderator moved to a different department shortly after the completion of data collection and was not available for interview). The interviewees were aged between 30 and 54 years ( M age = 36 years; SD = 8.3 years). Their professions were health scientist, pharmacist, general practitioner, or medical ethicist. Their professional experience ranged from one to 23 years ( M = 7.1 years, SD = 7.7 years), and they had little or no previous experience of organizing and conducting focus groups. The moderators were interviewed in groups of one to three persons according to their project assignment (cf. Table 1 ).

Overview of Interviews and Interviewees.

The interviews lasted approximately 1 hour, and the interview questions were guided by the chronological order in which a focus group is organized and conducted (recruitment, preparation, moderation, methods) and by the utilization and usefulness of the results. We tape recorded the interviews, transcribed them verbatim, and performed qualitative content analysis on the transcripts ( Elo & Kyngäs, 2008 ; Mayring, 2015 ) with the help of the program MAXQDA 10.0.

The final system of categories 2 ( Tausch & Menold, 2015 ) consisted of two types of codes: All relevant text passages were coded with respect to the content of the statement. In addition, a second type of code was required if the statement related to a specific group of participants (e.g., patients, hospital doctors, men, women).

On the basis of the research questions, the contents of interview statements were classified into the three superordinate thematic categories: recruitment, communication in the focus groups, and appraisal of the focus group method. Consequently, the reporting of the results is structured according to three main topics.

Recruitment

Statements relating to the recruitment of the participants were sorted into the main categories “factors promoting participation”, “factors preventing participation”, and “general appraisal of the recruitment process”. Figure 1 shows the subcategories that were identified under these main categories. Because many of the statements referred only to patients or only to health care professionals (physicians, other health care professionals), the subcodes shown in Figure 1 are sorted by these two types of participants.

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Factors relating to the recruitment process.

Factors relevant for all target groups

As the following interviewee statement shows, addressing potential participants face-to-face (rather than in writing) proved crucial for the success of recruitment in all target groups:

Well, a really good tip when recruiting patients is . . . to address the people yourself. Not to get someone else to do it who . . . has nothing to do with [the project], because ultimately you really do have to explain a lot of things, also directly to the patient. And then it’s always good if the person [who does the recruiting] is actually involved in the project. 3

In the case of the clinicians, being addressed by a superior was even more effective for their willingness to participate: “And then top down. If the nursing director asks me, then it’s not so easy to say no.”

Furthermore, a positive response was more often achieved if the groups were scheduled at convenient times for the addressees, and they only had to choose between several alternatives. Patients welcomed times contiguous with their therapies: “And many [of the patients] said: ‘Yes, maybe we can do it after my chemotherapy, on that day when I’m in the clinic anyway?’” Whereas medical assistants were given the opportunity to take part in the groups during working hours, general practitioners preferred evening appointments on less busy weekdays (e.g., Wednesdays and Fridays):

Well, what I found quite good was to suggest a day and a time. And we concentrated on the fact that practices are often closed on Wednesday afternoons. So that’s a relatively convenient day. And then evenings for the pharmacists from seven-thirty onwards.

Interest in the topic of the discussion, or at least in research in general, was an important variable for participation. Together with lack of time, it turned out to be the main reason why sampling plans could not be realized. Among patients, men were much more interested in discussing a technical innovation such as an electronic personal health record, while women—besides their lesser interest—often declined because of family responsibilities: “Well, I’d say a higher proportion of women said: ‘I have a lot to do at home, housework and with the children, therefore I can’t do it.’”

Family physicians, physicians from cooperating medical practices, and hospital doctors showed more interest in discussing an electronic personal health record than did medical specialists in private practice, who often saw no personal gain in such an innovation. For example, one interviewee stated,

Family physicians generally have a greater willingness [to engage with] this [health] record topic. They see . . . also a personal benefit for themselves. . . . or they simply think it might be of relevance to them or they are interested in the topic for other reasons. Some of them even approached us themselves and said, “Oh, that interests me and I’d like to take part.”

In addition, because of heavy workload, private practitioners were difficult to reach (e.g., by telephone). This also lowered the participation of this target group on the focus groups.

Factors relevant only for patients

Two other variables that influenced patients’ willingness to participate were mentioned in the interviews. First, because this target group consisted of cancer patients and diabetes patients with multimorbidity, poor physical fitness also prevented several addressees from participating in the groups. The inability to climb stairs, or the general inability to leave the house, made it impossible for them to reach the location where the groups took place: “[They] immediately replied: ‘Well, no, . . . that’s really too much for me,’ and unfortunately they could not, therefore, be included in the groups.” Furthermore, unstable physical fitness often led to high drop-out rates. The moderators of the focus groups therefore proposed that up to twice as many participants as required should be recruited: “And depending on the severity of the illness, you have to expect a drop-out rate of up to fifty percent. So, if you want to have four people, you should invite eight.”

Second, moderators reported that patients’ liking for, or dislike of, talking and discussing influenced their tendency to join the groups. Participating patients were generally described as talkative. For example: “And with patients, all in all, I had the feeling that those who agreed [to participate] were all people who liked talking, because those who did not like talking refused out of hand.” Patients who refused to participate often argued that they felt uncomfortable speaking in front of a group: “And the men, when they declined they often said: ‘No, group discussion is not for me! I don’t like talking in front of a group.’”

The researchers eventually succeeded in recruiting sufficient participants. However, they were not able to realize the sampling plans according to a certain proportion of male and female patients or types of physicians. “Well, we finally managed to fill up our groups, but only as many [participants] as necessary.” Comparing the different target groups, recruiting patients was described as easier than recruiting physicians: “And that was much easier insofar as you just had to go to the clinic and each day there were five or six patients whom you could address.” However, only 10% of the patients who were addressed agreed to participate. In the health care professional group, the recruitment rates ranged between 0% and 30%, depending on the subgroup. This can be demonstrated by the following interviewee utterance:

And in the private practitioner sector it was rather . . . . Well, we tried to recruit specialists in private practice, in other words internists, gastroenterologists, and oncologists. The success [rate proved to be] extremely poor. . . . Well, on the whole, the willingness to take part, the interest, is not there. Or, well they don’t give the reasons, but they say they don’t want to take part. So that was difficult and, yes, it didn’t go too well.

Communication in the Focus Groups

With regard to the communication in the focus groups, the moderators identified factors that influenced communication in a positive or negative way. In addition, we discussed a number of factors with them that are often described in the social science literature as problematic when conducting focus groups. However, the interviewees considered that some of these factors had not influenced communication in the focus groups conducted within the framework of the INFOPAT program. In our system of categories, we also coded whether the factors in question were related to (a) the setting or (b) the moderation of the focus groups (cf. Figure 2 ).

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Influences on and characteristics of the focus group discussion.

Factors relating to the setting

As Figure 2 shows, communication was reported to be positively influenced by small group size, location, provision of food and beverages, and conducting the focus group without a break. In contrast to general recommendations on focus groups in the context of sociological research, the moderators in the INFOPAT program considered a smaller group size of between four and six participants to be ideal. With regard to location, the interviewees reported that, depending on the target group, different places were perceived as positive. Patients preferred locations inside the clinic because they were easy to reach and caused no additional effort. Furthermore, because these locations were familiar to them, they facilitated an atmosphere of security and ease, which was seen as an important prerequisite for an open and honest discussion. This is clear from the following quotation:

Well, the patient focus groups were all located at the clinic. We chose this location on purpose to make it easier for them, because they come to the clinic anyway for their therapy. And they know the place and they feel comfortable and in good hands.

By contrast, the clinician groups benefited from being located outside the clinic. In contrast to other common addressees of focus groups, these professionals were not only accustomed to participating in groups outside their familiar surroundings but also this location helped them to distance themselves from their professional duties and to engage more deeply in the discussion, as shown by the following quotation:

Yes, one was located at the O-Center. We chose this location on purpose so that the clinicians had to leave the hospital. It’s not too far, only a few yards away. But we wanted them to leave the clinic, and not to run back to the ward when they were called. And, well, I liked this location.

Food and beverages were welcome in all the groups and also helped to create a positive and trusting atmosphere. And finally, the interviewees found that it was better to omit the break, thereby avoiding the interruption of the ongoing discussion. This is reasonable considering the comparatively short duration of the focus group session (between 1.5 and 2 hours). Statements relating to a break might have been different in the case of longer focus group durations.

The interviewees reported that the size and temperature of the room and time pressure on the participants or the moderator had a negative impact on communication. Some of the focus groups in the project took place in midsummer and had to be held in rooms without blinds or air conditioning. The moderators of these groups had to work hard to maintain the participants’ (and their own) attention and concentration. Time pressure on the participants (e.g., the clinicians) led to an unwillingness to engage in active discussion and created a question-and-answer situation, as shown by the following statement:

And in one group of physicians . . . we never reached the point where they joined in fully. During the whole discussion they never completely arrived. And they had already cut the time short in advance. They were under so much time pressure that they were not able to discuss in an open manner.

Moderators reported that they, too, had experienced time pressure—namely, in situations where they did not have enough time to prepare the room and the recording devices. This had caused them to be nervous and stressed at the beginning of the discussion, which had negatively affected the mood of the participants, thereby rendering an honest and open discussion particularly difficult.

Factors relating to the moderation

Many of the positive factors reported by the interviewees have already been described for focus groups in general—for example, using open questions, directly addressing quiet participants, and handling the discussion guide in a flexible way. Furthermore, by showing interest in every statement, and by generating a feeling of security in every participant, moderators fostered a fruitful discussion:

I believe that another important point is that you are calm yourself. That you give the people the feeling “you can feel safe with me, you don’t have to worry that I will make fun of you . . . or that I won’t take you seriously.”

Interviewees also considered that building a bridge between the technical innovation under discussion (a web-based electronic personal health record) and everyday life (e.g., online banking) was an important factor in getting all participants to contribute to the discussion. As one interviewee noted,

We tried to anchor it in their everyday lives. And . . . the example that always worked was when we said: “Think of it as if it were a kind of online banking.” Everyone understands what online banking is. It’s about important data on the internet; they’re safe there somehow. I have my password. And people understood that. Well, it’s important to anchor it in their reality . . . because otherwise the topic is simply far too abstract.

In this context, the fact that the groups were moderated by the researchers themselves proved very helpful because they were able to answer all questions relating to the research topic. As the following quote shows, this was an important prerequisite for opinion formation on the part of participants:

Well, I think that a really important quality criterion . . . is that you have completely penetrated [the topic]. If you only know the process from the outside . . . and you then conduct the focus group about it. . . . Somewhere, at some stage, [one discussion] narrowly missed the point. . . . You simply have to be totally immersed in the topic, well, I believe that [someone who is totally immersed in the topic] is the ideal person for the job. And in our case the thinking was, okay, so I’m a doctor, but on balance it’s more important that both [moderators] are absolutely well informed because it’s a complex topic.

The more specific the research question was, the more useful the moderating strategy of inviting one participant after the other to express their opinion appeared to be. By using this strategy, the moderators ensured that every participant contributed to the discussion.

A point that was strongly emphasized by the interviewees was the duration of the round of introductions at the beginning of the focus group session. In the patient groups, introductions took much more time than the researchers had expected. Patients had a high need to express themselves and to tell the others about their illness and their experiences with the health system. Although this left less time to work through the topics in the discussion guide, the researchers came to realize that there were several good reasons not to limit these contributions: First, the introductions round proved important for helping the participants to “arrive” at the focus group, for creating a basis of trust, and for building up a sense of community among the participants. Second, the interviewees reported that, because many topics in the discussion guide (e.g., participants’ experiences with coordinating visits to different medical specialists) had already been brought up in the round of introductions, they did not have to be discussed further at a later stage:

And that is the crux of this general exchange of experiences at the beginning. Sure, it costs you a lot of time, but I almost think that if you don’t give them that time, you won’t get what you want from them, in the sense that you say: “I want to hear your frank opinion or attitude.” You don’t want them to simply answer you because they think that’s what you want to hear. You have to create an atmosphere in which they really forget where they are. I’m relatively convinced that you wouldn’t achieve that without such [a round of introductions].

The moderators’ experience in the physician groups was different. These groups benefited from having a rather short round of introductions. Giving participants too much time to introduce themselves meant that they presented their expertise rather than reporting their experiences. In contrast to the patient groups, this did not substantially contribute to the discussion of the research topics.

Depending on the context, status differences between the moderators and the participants, or among the participants, were appraised differently by interviewees. In one group comprising physicians and medical assistants, the moderators observed that status differences had a negative influence on communication. Very young female medical assistants, in particular, did not feel free to express their opinions in the presence of their superiors. By contrast, presumed differences in status between family doctors, hospital doctors, and medical specialists in private practice did not have any negative impact on communication. Nor did different forms of address (some participants in these groups were addressed by their first name and some by their last name, depending on the relationship between the moderator and the participants). Status differences between moderators (if medical doctors) and participants (patients) had an impact on communication when patients regarded doctors as an important source of information (e.g., about the meaning of their blood values) or as representatives of the health care system to whom complaints about the system should be addressed. The latter case was the subject of the following interview statement by a moderator who is a physician by profession:

And a lot [was said about] the kind of experiences they had had here at the NCT. And of course, when the patients have been treated here for many years—or even for not so many [years], but they have had many experiences—they sometimes reported at length. And I had the feeling that this had a bit of a feedback function, quite generally, for the NCT. Also the somehow frustrating experiences they had had, or a lot of things that had not gone that well in conversational exchanges [with the staff]. There was a relatively large amount of feedback that didn’t have a lot to do with the topic because I was, of course, involved as a senior physician and I am not an external researcher, but rather someone who is also seen as being jointly responsible, or at least as someone who can channel criticism.

Finally, because most of the moderators were not medical professionals, they did not experience the translation of medical or technical terms into everyday language as problematic. Rather, they automatically used terms that were also familiar to the participants.

Characteristics of the discussion

The factors described above resulted in focus group discussions that might be interpreted as characteristic of health research. The patient focus groups were characterized by a strong need to talk and a high need for information. In the health care professional focus groups, researchers experienced a greater variety of communication styles. Because of a lack of time, or because they falsely expected a question-and-answer situation, some groups demonstrated a low degree of willingness to engage in discussion:

Although, I believe that was partly due . . . well there was one [woman] who was very demanding; she wanted to know straight away: “Yes, what’s the issue here? What do I have to say to you?” Well, the three who came from the one practice, I think they really had the feeling that we would ask them questions and they would bravely answer them and then they could go home again. So, for them this principle that they were supposed to engage in a discussion, for them that was somehow a bit, I don’t know . . . disconcerting. . . . They really thought: “Okay, well we want to know now what this is all about. And they’ll ask us the questions and then we’ll say yes, no, don’t know, maybe. And then we’ll go home again.” Well, at least that was my impression.

Other groups, especially those consisting of different types of health care professionals (e.g., physicians with different areas of specialization, or physicians and pharmacists), were characterized by lively discussion and a great variety of opinions.

Appraisal of the Focus Group Method

We classified moderators’ statements relating to the appraisal of the focus group method into four main categories: “advantages of the method”, “disadvantages of the method”, “recommendations for other researchers in related research areas”, and “statements on how they used the results” (cf. Figure 3 ).

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Appraisal of the focus group method.

The researchers reported that the focus group method yielded a rich blend of perspectives and opinions, brought forth, in particular, by the interaction between the participants:

But for this question and the topic, and for our lack of knowledge, that was . . . a lot of new information . . . and very many good ideas and critical remarks that you naturally read in the literature from time to time. But, let’s say, because of the complexity of the participants’ reactions and the weight they attached to things, it’s different than reading in a literature review that [this or that] could be taken into account.

The results of the focus groups further enriched the researchers’ work by relating it to everyday life: “Well, what was nice was that the topic was related to the participants’ lives. That people said: ‘Now the topic is important for me.’” Furthermore, the method yielded information about which aspects were most important and how the variety of opinions should be prioritized. This was achieved, in particular, by using participant-generated cards:

And with regard to prioritization, we incorporated it using participant-generated cards. We said: “Look: If you could develop this record now, what would be the three most important things that must absolutely be taken into consideration, from your point of view, no matter what they relate to.” And they wrote them down on the cards. And after that they were asked to carry out their own prioritization—that is, what was most important to them personally. One person wrote “data protection” first, while another [wrote] “sharing with my wife.” . . . That was good. . . . That helped a lot because it was simply clear once again what things were important to them.

In cases where concrete questions had to be answered or decisions had to be made, the interviewees also welcomed the opportunity to use structuring methods such as presentations, flip-charts, and participant-generated cards to obtain the relevant information:

. . . Well, the aim was that at the end we [would] have a set of requirements for the engineering [people]. And the engineering [people] don’t so much want to know about experiences and desires and barriers, but rather they want to know should the button be green or red and can you click on it. And that’s why I thought at the beginning it will be difficult with a focus group and an open discussion. Now, if you say that one can also interpret a focus group the way we did, partly with very specific questions and these participant-generated cards, then I think it is indeed possible to answer such questions as well.

Disadvantages

The main disadvantages of the focus group method were seen in the considerable organizational effort and expenditure of time involved. A question raised by some of the interviewees was whether comparable results could have been achieved using less time-consuming and organizationally demanding methods.

It’s true to say that you lose time. Well, you could implement [the innovation] straight away and see whether it’s better. Maybe, in this case you’re wrong and you just think it’s better or in any case not worse than before. You basically lose a year on this whole focus groups thing.

Moreover, in some cases, the discussion went in an unwanted direction and the moderators never fully succeeded in bringing the group back to the intended topics.

Furthermore, like many other medical research projects, INFOPAT included quite specific research questions. In this connection, the moderators emphasized that open focus group discussions would not have succeeded in answering those questions. Only by using methods such as participant-generated cards and prioritization was it possible to answer at least some of them. Nonetheless, some interviewees did not consider the focus group method to be really suitable for this type of research questions:

Of course we also have our engineers as counterparts who . . . need very specific requirements at some point. The question is whether such a focus group . . . . [It] can’t answer that in detail in this first stage. It’s simply not practicable.

Recommendations

As described under the “Communication in the Focus Groups” section above, the round of introductions in the patient groups lasted much longer than planned, thereby shortening the time available for other topics in the discussion guide. As a result, the moderators decided to choose a different thematic focus in each group so that every topic was discussed more deeply in at least one group.

What we usually did was to consider what hadn’t been addressed that much in the previous focus group. That [topic] was given more room in the next focus group because the guide, well it was quite a lot. You could have easily gone on discussing for another hour or two.

Using the results

On the whole, the researchers were satisfied with the number of groups that were conducted and the results that they yielded. They did not agree that more groups would have led to better, or different, results—with one possible exception, namely, in the case of specific target groups (e.g., migrants). Only one group had been composed of patients with a migrant background, and, as one interviewee stated, “I just thought, the patients with a migrant background . . . now that was [only] one group, it by no means covers the whole range.”

In cases where the results of the focus groups were perceived as not being concrete enough to proceed to the next research step (e.g., formulating a specification sheet for the construction of the electronic personal health record), the researchers planned to bring experts together in a roundtable format to make decisions on the basis of the priorities, agreements, and disagreements that had emerged from the focus groups. Following the construction of a prototype, they intended to conduct further focus groups to validate or adapt the usability of the electronic personal health record system.

Our analysis of interviews with focus group moderators yielded considerable insights into methodological aspects of conducting focus groups in health research. Our first research question related to characteristics of the target groups that should be considered during the recruitment process. We identified face-to-face contact as an important factor promoting focus group participation. The interviewees considered this type of contact to be better suited to answering target persons’ questions and explaining the method and aims of the focus groups. Moreover, they felt that addressees might find it more difficult to decline a face-to-face invitation than a written one. With regard to health care professionals, an invitation issued by a hierarchically higher person was most effective, even though ethical aspects should be considered in this case, and voluntary participation should nevertheless be ensured. Otherwise, the order to participate might prevent an atmosphere of open communication and might lead to a lower quantity or to more negative statements.

Furthermore, whereas physicians are usually accustomed to discussing topics with others, an important characteristic that influenced willingness to participate on the part of members of other target groups (other health care professionals, patients) was a liking for, or a dislike of, talking. Researchers might take account of this fact by explaining the method in more detail, by developing arguments to overcome fears, or, as suggested, for example, by Colucci (2007) , by convincing the addressees with other activities implemented in the focus groups. Other relevant personal characteristics—be they related to the research topic (e.g., technical interest in the case of an electronic innovation) or to the specific target group (e.g., physical fitness on the part of patients or lack of time on the part of health care professionals)—should be anticipated when planning recruitment. These characteristics might be taken into account by preparing arguments, providing incentives, giving thought to favorable dates and times, and choosing easily accessible locations. An interesting finding was that, depending on the target group, different locations were considered to have a positive influence on the discussion. Whereas locations inside the clinic were preferred in the case of the patient focus groups because of familiarity and easy accessibility, hospital doctors were more engaged in the discussion when the focus group site was located at least some yards away from their workplace.

Finally, the experience of our researchers that up to 50% of the patients had to cancel at short notice because of health problems does not appear to be uncommon in this research context. That overrecruitment is an effective strategy—particularly in health care research—has been reported by other authors (e.g., Coenen et al., 2012 ).

With our second research question, we focused on aspects of communication in the focus groups. The interviews revealed several factors specific to research topics and addressees of health care studies that influenced the discussions. Consequently, in addition to considering general recommendations regarding the organization and moderation of focus groups (e.g., choosing adequate rooms with a pleasant atmosphere, serving food and beverages, using open questions, showing interest in all contributions, and directly addressing quiet participants), these health care specific aspects should be taken into account. Relevant factors that should be addressed when moderating focus groups in this context are (a) the strong need to talk and the high need for information in the patient groups, (b) status differences between the participants or between the moderators and the participants, (c) the size of the focus group, and (d) the specificity of the topic of discussion. The interview data revealed that these factors influenced the discussions and thus the results achieved with the groups. In addition, the following four possibilities of addressing these factors were identified:

First, the moderators had to devote more time to the round of introductions in the patient groups, which served as a warm-up, created an atmosphere of fellowship and openness, and accommodated this target group’s strong need to talk. Second, with respect to status differences between the moderator and the participants, no definite recommendations can be derived from the interviews. The interviewees found that it was less favorable when the moderator was perceived not only in that role but also in other roles (e.g., physician), because this might hamper a goal-oriented discussion. However, they considered deep insight into the research topic on the part of the moderators to be beneficial, at least for certain research topics. Thus, one should carefully weigh up whether it is more advantageous or more disadvantageous when the group moderator is a physician. Interviewees considered status differences between participants to be disadvantageous only in one case, where—because of organizational constraints—medical assistants and their superiors joined the same focus group, which gave rise to some reticence on the part of the young assistants. Similar problems have been reported by other authors, for example, Côté-Arsenault and Morrison-Beedy (2005 ; see also Hollander, 2004 ). However, interviewees did not experience as problematic status differences between physicians with different areas of specialization.

Third, with respect to group size, interviewees found comparatively small focus groups appropriate to give all participants enough time to tell their stories. In contrast to social science research, where groups of between eight and 20 participants are recommended, our interviewees considered groups of between four and six persons to be optimal. This is in line with Côté-Arsenault and Morrison-Beedy (2005) , who recommended small groups for health research, especially when sensitive topics are discussed. Our interview data revealed that this recommendation might also be useful for other health research topics.

Fourth, with regard to the topic of the discussion, interviewees found it helpful to structure different phases of the discussion in different ways, depending on the specificity of the research questions. In contrast to social science research, certain types of research questions in health research require comparatively specific answers. Some of the focus groups in our study were aimed at collecting participants’ expectations regarding an electronic personal health record or—even more specifically—at developing a product specifications document. Conducting focus groups during the development of a technical innovation is a method that is being increasingly used in health care research. Hence, the experiences of the interviewees with regard to these aspects of their research might be relevant for many other research programs. For this type of research questions, it proved useful to include more structured parts in the discussion, for example, having certain questions answered by each participant in turn, or using methods such as participant-generated cards and prioritization. This made it easier to obtain the opinion of each participant and to cover as many concerns and expectations as possible. This finding is in line with recommendations by Colucci (2007) , who proposed the use of activity-oriented questions for health research topics as an enrichment of data collection and a means of making it easier to talk about sensitive and complex topics.

All the moderators found that their discussion guides contained too many questions and too many topics. This might have been due, at least partly, to a desire to determine all relevant aspects in advance—a tendency that might be typical of health research. However, Morgan (1995) also addressed this phenomenon in relation to social research in general: “A common error in focus group question guidelines is too much emphasis on what is of interest to the researcher and not enough emphasis on what is of interest to the participants” (p. 520).

With our third research question, we addressed the appraisal of the focus group method in the interviewees’ research context. Our results show that one should think carefully before using focus groups in the field of health research. The impression that they are quick and easy to conduct might be a misconception, especially in this research context. In fact, the appraisal of the method by the moderators revealed both advantages and disadvantages. The main advantages were the rich blend of perspectives and opinions obtained and the opportunity to have them prioritized by the target groups. For their research topics, the interviewees saw a further important advantage in the fact that they were able to relate their scientific research to everyday life, a point that might be of general importance for a number of research questions in health research, especially those that refer to new medical diagnostics or technical innovations.

The interviewees considered that the main disadvantages of focus groups were the substantial organizational effort and expenditure of time they required. They raised the question whether comparable results could have been achieved using less costly methods. Fortunately, we conducted our interviews with researchers from a research program aimed at answering research questions of different degrees of specificity. As a result, the moderators were able to compare the usefulness of focus groups for different types of research questions. Their statements revealed that they were satisfied with the results relating to more open research questions such as experiences with cross-sectoral health care. For more specific research questions, the interviewees valued the possibility of organizing the discussions in a more structured way and using methods that activated all participants (e.g., participant-generated cards, prioritizations). Nonetheless, they considered meetings of experts to be a necessary intermediate step, for example, on the way to a product specifications document. We recommend that, depending on the specificity of the results that are projected, consideration should be given to including such intermediate steps in the planning stage.

Limitations of the Study

Our analysis of the interviews with the focus group moderators revealed a number of methodological problems that typically occur when focus groups are used in a health research context and yielded recommendations on using such groups in this context. However, some limitations of the present study should also be discussed: First, we conducted our research with focus group moderators, all of whom worked in the same research program. Even though the INFOPAT program consists of several subprojects, they all deal to a greater or lesser extent with the advantages and disadvantages of an electronic support system (electronic personal health record). Furthermore, the moderators were mainly health scientists and had little or no experience with conducting focus groups. This might also have been specific for the research program in which our study was conducted. In other health care programs, focus groups might be moderated mainly by physicists or lay persons (e.g., in participatory health research). Consequently, had we also conducted interviews with focus group moderators from other research areas or included moderators with other professions or more focus group experience, this might have led to different results. However, our research project is rather typical for applied qualitative research in medical science when developing new technologies. Here, focus groups are used by the researchers to find out the potential requirements for the new technology. The researchers are often experts in a specific scientific topic and have no or only limited experience in conducting qualitative research in terms of focus groups. Therefore, our findings are of a particular importance for the researchers with little experiences in conducting focus groups, which can apply to every research, conducted first time. In addition, the little experience of our focus group moderators was a special advantage and strength of the study. More experienced moderators would have prevented some of the problems our moderators—as other unexperienced moderators—faced. As a result, the moderators would not have named these potential problems in the interviews and given no advice for preventing them.

Second, the study was conducted in Germany and thus represents problems and challenges of the German health care system. In other countries, physicians might have different work-shifts or there might be different possibilities in the health care system to reach the target groups. Therefore, more research on the methodology of focus groups in the context of the development of new technologies in health care in other countries and cultures with a consideration of additional relevant groups is needed.

Third, in our interviews, we focused mainly on the organization and conducting of focus groups. For two reasons, we did not address the aspect of data analysis: First, we conducted the interviews shortly after the focus groups had been completed, at a time when data analysis was still in progress. Second, analysis of qualitative data can be carried out in many different ways, depending on research questions and preferences of researchers, and some of the recommended methods are very complex. Had we discussed them in detail, it would have been too time-consuming in the interviews.

Concluding Remarks

Our results revealed a number of methodological challenges that might be typical of conducting focus groups in health research. We hope that our findings will be of use to researchers in similar research fields. Furthermore, we encourage other researchers who are interested in health research topics to gather more information about methodological aspects specific to this research field. Our results were achieved in the context of the development of a technical innovation. It might be interesting to endeavor to replicate them in other health care research projects dealing with technical innovations. Moreover, we would encourage researchers of other topics in health research to interview focus group moderators about their experiences in their specific research context. We hope that our results will serve as a useful basis for comparing results in different areas of health research.

Acknowledgments

We thank the focus group moderators in the INFOPAT program for their great willingness to share their experiences and for their openness during the interviews.

Author Biographies

Anja P. Tausch , PhD, is senior researcher at GESIS–Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Mannheim, Germany.

Natalja Menold , PhD, is senior researcher and head of the Survey Instruments Unit at GESIS–Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Mannheim, Germany.

1. http://www.soziologie.de/en/gsa/ethik-kommission/code-of-ethics.html , retrieved on 05/10/2015.

2. The language of the research project, focus groups, and interviews was German. The scheme was developed in German on the basis of the German text material from the transcribed interviews. The scheme and the citations were translated for the purpose of international publication by an experienced, qualified, and fully bilingual translator, whose mother tongue is English and who also has an MA in sociology from a German university. A German version of the full categorial system can be found in Tausch and Menold (2015) .

3. All citations included in this publication were translated from German.

Declaration of Conflicting Interests: The authors declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Funding: The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF; FKZ 01KQ1003D).

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    committee assignment training method advantages and disadvantages

  6. Committee Organisation: Meaning, Features, Suitability, Advantages and

    committee assignment training method advantages and disadvantages

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  1. Plus One Sociology- Chapter. 5 Research Methods (Part .6)

  2. moments of Internal Assignment Marks Verification Committee. GOVERNMENT PU COLLEGE, KOKATANUR

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  1. Advantages and Disadvantages of Committees

    8. Communication. A committee can be an excellent forum for management and workers to have simultaneous communication and discuss matters of common interest in an atmosphere of goodwill and understanding and reach some mutually benefiting conclusions. 9. Better chances of recommendations to be accepted.

  2. Effective Management Training: 9 Most Effective Techniques

    Skills are mostly taught through various activities, like role-playing. This can be an effective way to provide training on soft skills like delegation, communication, and motivation. Time Management Training Pathway (Course) 5. Job rotation. Job rotation involves moving employees laterally between jobs in a company.

  3. How to weigh the pros and cons of setting up a committee

    Top advantages. Using a committee for a task allows for several things: Greater expertise: Skills and experience of the group offer a greater knowledge base. By including multiple internal ...

  4. Advantages and Disadvantages of Assignment Method Of Teaching

    Advantages of Assignment Method Of Teaching. Promotes independent learning - Assignment method of teaching encourages students to study and learn on their own, fostering self-reliance and self-learning.; Enhances critical thinking - This method also helps in developing critical thinking skills as students analyze and interpret the information themselves.

  5. PDF Committee effectiveness in higher education: The strengths and

    In the compilation of the strengths and weaknesses of committee decision making, certain key phrases and ideals come into play; structure, mission, team, goal setting, individual, group, leader, effectiveness, and the ultimate objective and expected longevity for the group. Sounding simple in theory, each part of the group structure and purpose ...

  6. On-the-Job Training Examples

    8. Committee Assignment. Committee assignment is unstructured OJT that can be conducted remotely. The purpose of committee assignments is to use individual contributions collectively and solve a company-wide problem. Aside from being an OJT opportunity for the committee member, each assignment is a crucial part of the eventual solution.

  7. Coaching & Understudy Assignments As Management Training Methods

    Advantages of the coaching style of management training include: Provides useful advice instead of criticism. Motivates with feedback that helps manager improve. Shows new managers a positive style they can adopt with their teams. Disadvantages of coaching style of management training include: New managers must have trainers who provide ...

  8. Top 8 On The Job training Methods

    On-the-Job Training Methods 1) Job Rotations. Under the job rotation, employees are frequently juggled between different but associated jobs, with the idea of making them familiar with multiple job backgrounds. ... Committee Assignments. In committee assignments, trainees are required to find solutions for the actual organizational problems ...

  9. PDF CHAPTER BRIEF VERVIEW OF PARTICIPATORY METHODS7

    to have in view few other training methods, basically of participatory nature. This will address the principles of adult learning. (Discussed in Chapter 3). Let us, therefore, look at some of the training methods (apart from the Lecture) and their main uses, advantages and disadvantages. Discussion method This is a training technique in which ...

  10. (PDF) Case-method teaching: advantages and disadvantages in

    Improving the long-term memory, enhancing the quality of decision making and understanding the individual differences of individuals are the advantages of case method teaching (Afsouran et al ...

  11. On-the-Job Training Guide

    On-the-job training is a hands-on method where employees learn by doing, typically at their place of work. ... Committee Assignment. ... Below is a summary of the most important OJT advantages and disadvantages: Advantages. On-the-job training has two main advantages:

  12. 5 common methods of employee training (pros and cons)

    It depends on what you're trying to teach. All methods of employee training have their own pros, cons and ideal applications. 1. On-the-job training. Hands-on training is a critical part of the learning experience, especially for frontline workers who use dangerous machinery, work directly with products or otherwise need to learn by doing.

  13. Training Methods

    Training Methods. On-the-job training. Off-the-job training. a. On-the -job training: A training which is given to the employees while they are conducting their regular work at their own job place is known as on-the-job training. It includes, Apprenticeship training: It is a structured process by which people become skilled workers through a combination of classroom instruction and on-the ...

  14. Advantages and Disadvantages of Assignment Method

    Advantages of Assignment Method. Promotes efficient task allocation - Assignment Method helps in distributing tasks smartly among team members, ensuring work is given to those best suited for it.; Enhances productivity - It can lead to an increase in productivity, as tasks are assigned based on employees' skills and abilities.; Encourages skills development - This method also aids in ...

  15. Case-method teaching: advantages and disadvantages in organizational

    The purpose of this paper is to introduce case-method teaching (CMT), its advantages and disadvantages for the process of organizational training within organizations, as well as to compare its advantages and disadvantages with current training methods.,The authors applied a systematic literature review to define, identify and compare CMT with ...

  16. Case-method teaching: advantages and disadvantages in organizatio

    The purpose of this paper is to introduce case-method teaching (CMT), its advantages and disadvantages for the process of organizational training within organizations, as well as to compare its advantages and disadvantages with current training methods. The authors applied a systematic literature review to define, identify and compare CMT with ...

  17. Section 7.2: Different Methods of On-the-job Training

    Coaching. Coaching involves the development of one-on-one relationships between employees and managers. This training method provides guidance and feedback on how the coachee is performing their given task. The manager provides support and offers suggestions for improvement. Coaching helps instill the skills needed by giving employees the ...

  18. List of Methods Used for Management Development

    ADVERTISEMENTS: Some of the methods used for management development are as follows: 1. Coaching 2. Job Rotation 3. Understudy 4. Multiple Management 5. Project Assignments 6. Committee Assignment 7. The Case Study 8. Incident Method 9. Role-Playing 10. In-Basket Method 11. Business or Management Game 12. Sensitivity, Laboratory or T-Group Training 13. Simulation 14. Conferences […]

  19. Committee Organisation: Meaning, Features, Suitability, Advantages and

    1. Task-oriented Focus: Committees are established with a clear and specific purpose in mind. Each committee is assigned a particular task or responsibility that aligns with the organisation's objectives. This ensures that committees can address specific issues or management functions efficiently. 2.

  20. Case-method teaching: advantages and disadvantages in ...

    Purpose The purpose of this paper is to introduce case-method teaching (CMT), its advantages and disadvantages for the process of organizational training within organizations, as well as to compare its advantages and disadvantages with current training methods. Design/methodology/approach The authors applied a systematic literature review to ...

  21. Methodological Aspects of Focus Groups in Health Research

    We classified moderators' statements relating to the appraisal of the focus group method into four main categories: "advantages of the method", "disadvantages of the method", "recommendations for other researchers in related research areas", and "statements on how they used the results" (cf. Figure 3).

  22. PDF Case-method teaching: advantages and disadvantages in organizational

    Purpose The purpose of this paper is to introduce case-method teaching (CMT), its advantages and disadvantages for the process of organizational training within organizations, as well as to compare its advantages and disadvantages with current training methods. Design/methodology/approach The authors applied a systematic literature review.

  23. Training Committee's And What You Need To Know

    The selection of an Employment Equity Committee is a critical step towards implementing the Act. The primary role of this committee is to ensure that the organisation is meeting its Employment Equity requirements by drafting the organisation's EE plan and providing its effective implementation.