Participant perceptions of learning and its transfer from leadership development programs

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School of Business | Master's thesis
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International Business
Kansainvälinen liiketoiminta
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Objectives of the Study: Leadership development is one of the key HR practices for modern organizations as competent leaders are needed to be able to compete in the fast-paced business environment. Much of the research about leadership development thus far has been conducted from the viewpoint of the HR department. Therefore, the objective of this study is to understand employee perceptions of leadership development and take into account the participant perspective. The aim is to discover what kind of factors the participants of leadership development programs perceive affect their learning and the transfer of that learning back to the workplace post-training. In addition, the objective is to compare the perceptions of middle and top managers. Methodology: This study was conducted by following a qualitative case study method as it was the most eligible method in terms of the objectives of this study. The aims of this study were met by conducting ten in-depth interviews among the case company's employees who had participated in the company's leadership development training during 2012 or 2013. Furthermore, an additional interview with the case company's HR representative was organized to gain more insight on the intended learning outcomes of the leadership training. Findings and Conclusion: This thesis is based on a comprehensive review and synthesis of previously conducted research as well as the analysis of the results of this study. The empirical findings suggest that the most valued learning outcome of the leadership development programs from the participant perspective is networking. Furthermore, own motivation and discussions with peers were found to be major facilitators of both learning and its transfer. The relevance of the training to one's work was perceived to affect learning and the ability to transfer learning back to the workplace after the training. The findings also suggest that teaching quality can have a significant effect on learning during the training. Lack of time, organizational culture and factors related to the training methods were perceived to inhibit learning transfer. The study results suggest that there didn't exist any significant differences between the perceptions of the middle and the top managers. However, the findings indicate that the middle managers perceived poor teaching quality to inhibit learning more often than the top managers. Keywords: Leadership development, employee perceptions, learning, transfer of learning
Leadership development, employee perceptions, learning, transfer of learning
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