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Benefits of Training and Development for Individuals and Teams, Organizations, and Society

Benefits of Training and Development for Individuals and Teams, Organizations, and Society
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  Benefits of Training andDevelopment for Individualsand Teams, Organizations,and Society  Herman Aguinis 1 and Kurt Kraiger 2 1  The Business School, University of Colorado Denver, Denver, Colorado 80217-3364;email: 2 Department of Psychology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523-1876;email: Annu. Rev. Psychol. 2009.60:451–74 The  Annual Review of Psychology  is online at This article’s doi:10.1146/annurev.psych.60.110707.163505Copyright  c   2009 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved0066-4308/09/0110-0451$20.00 Key Words training benefits, training design, training delivery, training evaluation  Abstract   Thisarticleprovidesareviewofthetraininganddevelopmentliteraturesincetheyear2000.Wereviewtheliteraturefocusingonthebenefitsof training and development for individuals and teams, organizations, andsociety.Weadoptamultidisciplinary,multilevel,andglobalperspectiveto demonstrate that training and development activities in work orga-nizationscanproduceimportantbenefitsforeachofthesestakeholders. Wealsoreviewtheliteratureonneedsassessmentandpretrainingstates,training design and delivery, training evaluation, and transfer of train-ing to identify the conditions under which the benefits of training anddevelopmentaremaximized.Finally,weidentifyresearchgapsandofferdirections for future research.  451   Training:  thesystematic approach toaffecting individuals’knowledge, skills, andattitudes in order toimprove individual,team, andorganizationaleffectiveness Development: systematic effortsaffecting individuals’knowledge or skills forpurposes of personalgrowth or future jobsand/or roles Contents INTRODUCTION .................. 452Organization and Overview ........ 453BENEFITS OF TRAINING FOR INDIVIDUALS AND TEAMS .... 453Benefits Related to JobPerformance.................... 453Other Benefits..................... 455BENEFITS OF TRAINING FOR ORGANIZATIONS ......... 457Benefits Related toOrganizational Performance..... 457Other Benefits..................... 458BENEFITS OF TRAINING FOR SOCIETY ................... 459HOW TO MAXIMIZE THEBENEFITS OF TRAINING ...... 460Needs Assessment andPretraining States............... 461 Training Design and TrainingDelivery........................ 462 Training Evaluation................ 463 Transfer of Training................ 464CONCLUSIONS ANDSUGGESTIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH............ 466Implications for Practice ........... 466Suggestions for Future Research.... 466 INTRODUCTION   As organizations strive to compete in theglobal economy, differentiation on the basisof the skills, knowledge, and motivation of their workforce takes on increasing impor-tance. According to a recent industry report by the American Society for Training and De- velopment (ASTD), U.S. organizations alonespend more than $126 billion annually onemployee training and development (Paradise2007). “Training” refers to a systematic ap-proachtolearninganddevelopmenttoimproveindividual, team, and organizational effective-ness (Goldstein & Ford 2002). Alternatively,development refers to activities leading to theacquisition of new knowledge or skills for pur-poses of personal growth. However, it is oftendifficulttoascertainwhetheraspecificresearchstudyaddressestraining,development,orboth.Intheremainderofthisreview,weusetheterm“training” to refer to both training and devel-opment efforts. The importance of and scholarly interest in training in work organizations is reflectedby the regular publication of training reviewsin the  Annual Review of Psychology  since 1971(Campbell1971,Goldstein1980,Wexley1984,Latham 1988, Tannenbaum & Yukl 1992, Salas& Cannon-Bowers 2001). The present review covers the training literature since January 2000. We provide a review that is comprehen-sive though not exhaustive. Also, in contrast topreviously published  Annual Review of Psychol-ogy  articles, we readily acknowledge at the out-set that we take a point of view that trainingin work organizations produces clear benefitsfor individuals and teams, organizations, andsociety. We believe that training in work or-ganizations is an area of applied psychologicalresearchthatisparticularlywellsuitedformak-ing a clear contribution to the enhancement of human well-being and performance in organi-zational and work settings as well as in society ingeneral.Thus,inthisreviewwefirstdescribethe benefits of training for various stakeholdersand then discuss how training can be designed,delivered, and evaluated so that these benefitsare maximized. We acknowledge three unique characteris-tics of the present review that also differentiateitfromprevious  AnnualReviewofPsychology arti-cles on the same topic. First, because the train-ing field has grown exponentially in the past decade,wecannotrelyonthepsychologicallit-erature to be the only or even main source of knowledge that has been generated. In prepar-ing to write this article, we reviewed about 600 articles, books, and chapters publishedin psychology as well as in related fields in-cluding human resource management, instruc-tional design, human resource development,human factors, and knowledge management. We believe this multidisciplinary approach isneeded given the increasing fragmentation of   452 Aguinis  ·  Kraiger   knowledge generated by researchers in varioustraining subfields. Second, although psychol-ogy research on training has been a topic tradi-tionallystudiedattheindividuallevelofanalysisand more recently at the team level of analysis,this review also includes organization and soci-ety levels of analysis. The present article goesbeyondthetraditionallevelsofanalysisbecause,as noted by Kaufman & Guerra (2001), “wehave entered a new era in which both achiev-ing useful results and proving that they add value to the organization and our shared soci-ety are required” (p. 319). Third, thanks in part to the availability of cheaper and faster waysto send and receive information using the In-ternet, human resource management interven-tionsandtrainingeffortsinparticulararetakingplace at a global level (Cascio & Aguinis 2008). Thus, a review of the training literature cannot limit itself to research conducted only in theUnitedStates.Accordingly,thisreviewincludesnumerous studies conducted outside of North America.Inshort,weapproachedourliteraturereview from a fundamentally necessary multi-disciplinary, multilevel, and global perspective. Organization and Overview   The present review is organized as follows. Inthe first section, we describe benefits of train-ing activities. First, we focus on benefits for in-dividuals and teams, separating these benefitsinto job performance and factors related to jobperformance (e.g., tacit skills, innovation, com-munication), and other benefits (e.g., empow-erment,self-efficacy).Second,wedescribeben-efits for organizations. We also separate thesebenefits into organizational performance, fac-torsrelatedtoorganizationalperformance(e.g.,effectiveness, profitability, sales), and otherbenefits (e.g., employee and customer satis-faction, improved organizational reputation). Third,wedescribebenefitsforsociety.Overall,a review of this body of literature leads to theconclusion that training activities provide ben-efits for individuals, teams, and organizationsthat improve a nation’s human capital, which inturncontributestoanation’seconomicgrowth. Human capital:  thecollective set of performance-relevant knowledge, skills, andattitudes within a workforce (at anorganizational orsocietal level)  Training evaluation: the systematicinvestigation of  whether a trainingprogram resulted inknowledge, skills, oraffective changes inlearners  The second section reviews research ad-dressing how to maximize the benefits of train-ing activities at the individual and team, orga-nizational, and societal levels. First, we focuson the activities that take place before train-ingisimplemented—needsassessmentandpre-training states. Then, we focus on training de-sign and delivery, followed by a discussion of trainingevaluation.Wereviewresearchregard-ing transfer of skills and knowledge acquired intraining to work settings. In the third and fi-nal section, we address conclusions, includingimplications for practice, and suggestions forfuture research. BENEFITS OF TRAINING FOR INDIVIDUALS AND TEAMS  Thereisdocumentedevidencethattrainingac-tivities have a positive impact on the perfor-mance of individuals and teams. Training ac-tivities can also be beneficial regarding otheroutcomes at both the individual and team level(e.g.,attitudes,motivation,andempowerment). We first review performance-related benefits. Benefits Related to Job Performance  Training-related changes should result in im-proved job performance and other positivechanges (e.g., acquisition of new skills; Hill& Lent 2006, Satterfield & Hughes 2007)that serve as antecedents of job performance(Kraiger 2002). Reassuringly, Arthur et al.(2003) conducted a meta-analysis of 1152 ef-fect sizes from 165 sources and ascertained that in comparison with no-training or pretrainingstates, training had an overall positive effect on job-relatedbehaviorsorperformance(meanef-fect size or  d   =  0.62). However, although dif-ferences in terms of effect sizes were not large,the effectiveness of training varied dependingon the training delivery method and the skillor task being trained. For example, the most effective training programs were those includ-ing both cognitive and interpersonal skills, fol-lowed by those including psychomotor skills ortasks. Next, we describe studies to exemplify,   •  Benefits of Training and Development 453  as well as go beyond, the general findings re-ported by Arthur et al. (2003). We emphasizethat results from meta-analytic reviews shouldgenerally be given more weight than individ-ual (i.e., primary-level) studies because they aremore reliable (Aguinis et al. 2008). Training effects on performance may besubtle (though measurable). In a qualitativestudy involving mechanics in Northern India,Barber (2004) found that on-the-job trainingled to greater innovation and tacit skills. Tacit skills are behaviors acquired through informallearning that are useful for effective perfor-mance.Regardinginnovation,trainedmechan-ics learned to build two Jeep bodies using only a homemade hammer, chisel, and oxyacetylene welder.Regardingtacitskills,Barbernotedthat the job of a mechanic requires “feel” to be suc-cessful. Specifically, trained mechanics devel-oped an intuitive feel when removing dents—acomplexprocessparticularlywhenthefenderisbadlycrumpled.Asaresultofinformaltraining,oneofthemechanicshada“goodfeelingofhow tohitthemetalattheexactspotsotheworkpro-gresses in a systematic fashion” (Barber 2004,p. 134). This type of tacit skill was particularly useful in the Indian context because, althoughmostshopsindevelopednationswouldnotevenattempt to repair a fender that was damaged sobadly, this type of repair is common practice inthe developing world (Barber 2004).Benefits of training are also documented fortechnical skills. For example, Davis & Yi (2004)conducted two experiments with nearly 300participants using behavior-modeling trainingand were able to improve computer skills sub-stantially. Although behavior-modeling train-ing has a rich history of success (e.g., Decker &Nathan1985,Robertson1990),auniqueaspect of this research was that training was found toaffectchangesinworkerskillsthroughachangein trainees’ knowledge structures or mentalmodels (see also Marks et al. 2002 for an ex-amination of mental models at the team level).Specifically, mentally rehearsing tasks allowedtrainees to increase declarative knowledge andtask performance, each measured 10 days af-ter the training was completed. More recently, Taylor et al. (2005) conducted a meta-analysisincluding 117 behavior-modeling trainingstudies. They ascertained that the largest ef-fectswerefordeclarativeandproceduralknowl-edge ( d  s around 1.0 resulting from comparingtraining versus a no-training or pretest con-dition). Declarative knowledge is knowledgeabout “what” (e.g., facts, meaning of terms), whereas procedural knowledge is knowledgeabout“how”(i.e.,howtoperformskilledbehav-ior)(seeAguinis2009,Kraigeretal.1993).Theoverall mean effect on changes in job behavior was  d   =  0.27. However, Taylor et al. (2005) re-ported substantial variance in the distributionof effect sizes, indicating the need to inves-tigate moderators of the relationship betweenbehavior-modeling training and outcomes. Weaddress the issue of moderators below in theSuggestions for Future Research section. Training not only may affect declarativeknowledge or procedural knowledge, but alsomay enhance strategic knowledge, defined asknowing when to apply a specific knowledgeor skill (Kozlowski et al. 2001, Kraiger et al.1993). Smith et al. (1997) refer to this astraining for adaptive expertise (see also Ford& Schmidt 2000). In addition, training may enable consistency in performance acrossconditions. For example, Driskell et al. (2001)conducted a study including 79 U.S. Navy technical school trainees who performed acomputer-based task. Trainees participated in astress-exposure training session. This trainingexposes trainees to information regardingstressors (e.g., noise, time urgency), to thestressors, and how these stressors are likely to affect performance. Results showed that training was beneficial in that trainees per-formed well under a novel stressor and whenperforming a novel task. Thus, stress traininghelps maintain performance consistency.Performance consistency may also result from enhancing trainees’ self-efficacy or self-management skills. Frayne & Geringer (2000)conducted a field experiment in which they administered self-management training (lec-tures, group discussions, and case studies) to30 salespeople in the life insurance industry.  454 Aguinis  ·  Kraiger   Results showed that salespeople who partici-pated in the training program demonstratedhigher self-efficacy, outcome expectancy (e.g.,“I will increase my sense of accomplishment”),and objective outcomes (e.g., number of new policies sold) as well as subjective job perfor-mance (i.e., sales managers’ ratings of eachsalesperson’s performance). Training-relatedperformance improvement was sustained overa 12-month period after training ended. Therearealsodocumentedbenefitsoftrain-ingformanagersandleaders.Collins&Holton(2004) conducted a meta-analysis of the bene-fits of managerial leadership development pro-grams including 83 studies published between1982 and 2001 (see also Cullen & Turnbull2005). They found that mean  d  s (comparingtraining with no training) ranged from 0.96to 1.37 for knowledge outcomes and from0.35 to 1.01 for expertise/behavioral outcomes.Knowledge was defined as principles, facts, at-titudes, and skills measured using both subjec-tive (e.g., self-reports) and objective (e.g., stan-dardized tests) measures. Expertise/behavioraloutcomes were defined as changes in on-the- job behavior and were also assessed using bothsubjective(e.g.,peerratings)andobjective(e.g.,behavioral) measures. A final illustration of training benefits re-lated to performance is cross-cultural training,inwhichemployeesaretrainedtoperformtheir jobs in a different culture and/or adjust psy-chologically to living in that culture (Bhawuk & Brislin 2000, Lievens et al. 2003). Morris &Robie (2001) conducted a meta-analysis of theeffects of cross-cultural training on expatriateperformance and adjustment. Their meta-analysis included 16 studies that investigatedadjustment and 25 studies that investigated jobperformance as the focal dependent variable. The mean correlation for the relationshipbetween training and adjustment was 0.12 (  p < 0.05), and the correlation for the relationshipbetween training and performance was 0.23(  p  <  0.05). However, there was substantial variability in the distribution of effect sizes,suggesting that potential moderators existed(again, we discuss the issue of moderators in Cross-culturaltraining:  trainingconducted forimproving individualeffectiveness and/oradjustment while onassignment in a new culture the Suggestions for Future Research section). More recently, Littrell et al. (2006) conducteda qualitative review of 25 years (1980–2005)of research addressing the effectiveness of cross-cultural training in preparing managersfor an international assignment. Littrell et al.(2006) examined 29 prior conceptual reviewsand 16 empirical studies. Overall, they con-cludedthatcross-culturaltrainingiseffectiveat enhancing the expatriate’s success on overseasassignments. They also identified many vari-ables that moderate the effects of training onexpatriate performance, including the timingof the training (e.g., predeparture, while onassignment, and postassignment), family issues(e.g., spouse’s adjustment), attributes of the job(e.g., job discretion), and cultural differencesbetween the home country and the assignment country. Other Benefits Other research demonstrates the impact of training on outcomes other than job perfor-mance or on variables that serve as antecedentsto job performance. However, we emphasizethat these additional benefits of training arenot necessarily unrelated to job performance.In fact, in many cases they are indirectly re-latedtoperformanceand,inothers,theymayberelated to individual and team well-being, vari-ablesarguablyalsoindirectlyrelatedtojobper-formance. For example, there is a renewed in-terest in leadership training (Collins & Holton2004, Day 2000). Dvir et al. (2002) imple-mented a longitudinal randomized field ex-periment, using cadets in the Israel DefenseForces, in which experimental group leadersreceived transformational leadership training. Transformational leaders exhibit charismaticbehaviors, are able to motivate and provideintellectual stimulation among followers, andtreat followers with individual consideration.Results showed that transformational leader-ship training enhanced followers’ motivation(i.e., self-actualization needs and willingness toexert extra effort), morality (i.e., international-izationoftheirorganization’smoralvalues),and   •  Benefits of Training and Development 455
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