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Sample Case Study Paper on Drawing from Theories and Models that Inform Adult and Organizational Learning

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Sample Case Study Paper on Drawing from Theories and Models that Inform Adult and Organizational Learning

Introduction

Human resource development (HRD) significance has been increasing day after day. For this reason, it is essential to administer and promote HRD with the lasting perspective while also integrating research into policies, formal mentoring, turning vision into action, engaging the society into decision making process while also offering information on technological change (Delahaye 132). The progress and survival of any business, moreover, is based on the future managers’ performance. Human resources should be nurtured and utilized to benefit an organization. Effective organizational performance depends on the available resources as well as the competence and quality of such resources as an organization demands. Imperative to note, performance differences in organizations depends on the human resources value utilization. Further, the production process efficiency and management efficiency depends largely on the HRD level. The most fundamental aspects of HR comprise of values, aptitude, beliefs and attitudes. Although the positive personnel programs and policies play a critical role in motivating employees through their loyalty and commitment to an organization, such efforts can only help in maintaining the dynamism of an organization. Dynamism in this case means that employees should obtain capabilities continuously and adopt the beliefs, values and aptitude in align with the changing organizational needs (Holly et al 31). When employees take risks, experiment, become initiative and innovative, a company can be said to have an enabling culture. HRD thus plays a vital role in making HRs vital, purposeful and useful. In this case, therefore, we will be assessing the critical issues facing the company and its partnership with the Vietnam Company. A number of critical aspects manifesting in the case will be identified. Similarly, the paper will include a critical review of the appropriate HRD concepts, models or theories in relation to the case.

Critical HRD Aspects in the Akaline Inc.Case

All aspects of HRD aim at developing the most unique workforce to enable individual employees and the organization to attain their goals in ensuring effective services to customers. Companies have various opportunities for HRD or employee development both internally and externally. HRD can be formal including classroom trainings, organizational planned efforts for change or even a college course. HRD can similarly be informal such as staff training by organizational managers. Healthy organizations greatly value HRD and are committed in promoting all such HRD aspects (Maycunish and Gilley 213).

Employee/Job Training

Employees’ job training is essential because it increases their skills, knowledge and develops their talents in enabling them to complete certain tasks or job. Effective and adequate training is particularly fundamental for newly recruited staffs or managers as well as the company. The training enables the individuals to perform their tasks/job correctly with high efficiency level. Senior managers require training for promotional purposes as well as self improvement (Maycunish and Gilley 222). Employees should be trained upon joining the company, but subsequent trainings are crucial to equip them with new skills and abilities. Akaline has acknowledged the purpose of such trainings when recruiting new staffs to fill positions in their newly established joint venture plant in Vietnam.

Akaline HR development team devised a detailed training program for all the newly recruited operational, engineers and maintenance personnel. The program comprised of occupational, standard operating procedures (SOPs), health and safety, team leadership where necessary, and plant/maintenance operation trainings. However, in spite of all such trainings, it appeared the new recruits were not doing well especially in matters concerning their safety. This raises queries on the effectiveness the training the individuals received on health and safety or plant/maintenance operations, which was the most affected. Due to the inadequacy and infectiveness of this training, one maintenance staff died due to ammonia effects. Four other employees were injured and needed hospitalization. Knowledge concerning the SOPs on the newly recruited staffs was also questionable because the new plant was found not to be implementing the standards as expected, yet the standards covered both maintenance and operations.

Job Capacity Development

For any employee to respond effectively and satisfactory to a certain job capacity demanded by administration, a comprehensive and adequate training is critical. Such training helps in filling the gap existing between the need skills, knowledge or attitude and the current job an individual has been assigned (Harrison 780). The capacity of trainees can be developed and improved through obtaining professional skills and knowledge, while also learning the proper behaviors and attitudes.  In this Akaline Inc. case, it is evident that the training provided by the Melbourne managers was neither effective nor adequate to render the newly hired individuals’ able to complete the given tasks satisfactory. The performance of the employees seemed successful only during the 6month scaling-up period, while it was never successful after they were left to run the Vietnam plant at full capacity. In the subsequent 12months, the company was struggling to attain the production targets. This just implies the training failed in developing the job capacity of these new recruits.

Mentorship

Coaching and mentoring is similarly a critical aspect of HRD, especially for newly recruited individuals. The task requires the superior or experienced managers to impart both theoretical and hand-on expertise and knowledge to subordinate managers and lower-level employees (Harrison 780). Trainees are normally briefed concerning what is expected of them and how that should be done. The experienced superiors then monitor the new recruits frequently while also checking their performance and providing directions on improvement procedures. However, the effectiveness of this strategy depends on the interest, ability and the initiative of the experienced superiors, as well as the subordinates’ interests. In the Akaline’s case, it is evident that mentorship was availed to new recruits. The case indicates that all new operators and most of the newly hired maintenance personnel spent about 3-6months within the Akaline’s Melbourne facility for mentorship purposes. During this scaling-up period, the Vietnam plant performance was according to expectation. Nonetheless, the period that followed after did not generate the expected production targets. It seemed the experienced managers and engineers from the Melbourne plant had provided on-hand support to the new recruits during the scaling-up phase, but their ability to deliver was limited after they were left to work on their own at the Vietnamese plant.  The mentorship may have been inadequate and ineffective in meeting the intended needs.

Self Evaluation Review (SER)

The SER serves as a good appraisal strategy in HRD to facilitate performance appraisals of a company and employees (Delahaye 121). The strategy offers managers opportunities for contemplating on their performance after training, over specified period under assessment. Such an evaluation is vital because it discovers the managers/organizational gaps through determining their strengths and weaknesses. Further, employees are able to detail their successes and achievements while also discovering areas requiring improvements. The SER helped in discovering the problems Akaline was facing, which were rendering them incapable of meeting the production targets in the following 12months following the scaling-up period. Through this review, the company discovered the presence of a problem and thus, reached a decision to seek a solution. The evaluation made the company site two probable reasons why their Vietnamese plant was struggling to attain the set targets. First, the company perceived that the problem could have generated because the Melbourne operational management had established very high expectations or were very ambitious. It could also be probably because new recruits were given on-hand assistance by the experienced Melbourne managers and engineers during the scaling-up stage, when the Vietnam plan seemed to do well.

HRD Intervention using the 4-Stage HRD Model

HRD applies the 4-stage framework inclusive of need assessment/evaluation, design, implementation and evaluation (Harrison 780). The framework helps in attaining the employees’ needs in training and development, organizational development and career development. Any organization seeking to sustain their competitiveness in this dynamic and globalized market should have a continuous process that re-aligns their development strategies. With the increased global market competitiveness, companies are seeking to survive through diverse ways. Akaline decided to use the expansion strategy into Vietnam market through a joint venture with another company in the new market. The new venture required the company to enlarge their workforce by hiring new staffs. The new individuals had to be prepared appropriately to take up the new task of operating the Vietnam plant. The 4-stage framework, thus, will be used in assessing and meeting this new company need effectively for successful results.

Needs Assessment or Investigation

The need for an organizational change becomes clear when a company discovers a gap between their present performance, and the expected performance levels. The stage helps in establishing where the gaps are within a company (a need analysis) in efforts to determine the best strategies/interventions that will suit an organization (Harrison 781). The earlier Akaline Company description provided evidence of several essential requirements in relation to their recruitment and training strategy for their new plant personnel in Vietnam. The company should review their strategy to ensure the process is clear and that it incorporates all the new employees and selective (an inclusive strategy). In this case, it was evident that training program involved all the new recruits in operations department, while only some of the new recruits in the maintenance unit were included. The strategy should align with the company’s culture to be strategic, while also engaging all people that will be involved in running the Vietnam outlet. Ideas and suggestions will need to be acted upon and carried through while also reconciling the accountability needs. All such needs can similarly be considered as objectives relevant for designing as well as implementing the strategy.

Design

Akaline Inc. had a very particular concept regarding how they would handle their recruitment and training process for their joint venture initiative. The company, for example, decided to hire local employees in the operation, engineering and maintenance departments to eliminate challenges associated international business. On the training aspect, the company knew their need for extra workforce demanded a high level of training. For this reason, Akaline HRD team developed a comprehensive training program intended for all the newly recruited staffs for the new plant in Vietnam. Enhancing human relations is one of the best approaches to ensure the company’s board is satisfied in terms of including all employees (Garavan 11). Therefore, the company should employ a strict inclusive approach that will ensure all new staffs have the required hand-on and theoretical knowledge concerning their new tasks. The design also relies on the employees’ ability in suggesting new initiatives and takes ownership in the process implementation. The approach will combine four different themes comprising of opening communication lines, devolving decision making, sharing learning and finding out suitable ideas or new initiatives from the new staffs. Such a strategy/approach is effective in that it will enable the company and the people involved in training to understand all the training needs of the new recruits and meet them accordingly (Harrison 780).

Implementation

The efficiency on any new organizational strategy or change relies on the way staffs perceive such initiatives. Successful results will require the support of the employees, especially the newly recruited personnel in this case. According to Harrison (782), Employees can use four key criteria in assessing the initiative as detailed below:

  1. Does the initiative address my needs and how practical is it?
  2. Does the initiative state properly the role of each person at the new company?
  3. Will the initiative/new strategy influence a person in relation to competence, challenge, abilities and skill?
  4. Will the strategy be rewarding to me as an employee and the organization?

Akaline should also consider the opportunity of using a different approach towards changing the situation at the company or solving the current problem by developing a new vision for their business. In implementing this approach, the company should engage the entire workforce, especially the new recruits through discussions and welcoming new ideas of resolving the issue. The vision should incorporate future hiring needs, especially for a new branch in a foreign land while also promoting organizational learning. Besides strengthening the company’s recruitment and training strategy, the vision will similarly reflect Akaline’s desired performance while also offering the foundation/platform for motivating employees.

Evaluation

This is the final phase of HR development. In relation to the evaluation of the proposed strategy for new staff recruitment and training, several questions will be formulated to examine the degree of effectiveness of the new initiatives that Akaline will implement. Disappointments linked to failure of such new initiatives will be prevented through working out a number of questions as follows:

  1. Will the initiative or new strategy align with Akaline’s business goals?
  2. What are the amendments relevant to make the strategy match the goals?
  3. Was the strategy formulation consultative? Did it engage all the company staffs?
  4. Were the appropriate employees engaged and did they participate in decision making?
  5. Is the strategy working? To whom, and to whom not?
  6. Did the change take place so fast or is there a need for extra time?

The questions will be examined before the strategy is implemented to ensure a thorough exploration that will guarantee successful results. The last query relates to the speed of change/strategy implementation in the company, since most organizations tend to speed up such initiatives without keen consideration on how such factors can affect the corporate culture (Garavan 15). The initiative, therefore, should be planned carefully to prevent failure. Similarly, Akaline will ensure realistic expectations to avoid excessive pressure placed upon speedy/quick success. Questions listed above derive from organizational learning theories, which stress on reflection and goal setting.

 Such questions can be perceived as sources of a valuable chance for the new Akaline employee teams in Vietnam to have a reflection on their individual experiences as well as the team as whole, in sharing their learning in the process of experiencing improvement/change initiatives (Harrison 785). Additionally, it will be recommendable to carry out a good evaluation of the new program/strategy employing the Kirkpatrick’s evaluation model of HRD, through following the implementation and institutionalization of any change at the Akaline Company. Moreover, this would offer a qualitative as well as a quantitative way of assessing the employees’ response to the strategic change/initiative. Further, it would assist in assessing the new staff behaviors plus the effect of the strategy on the whole company.

Conclusion

This paper has provided a strategy that would help improve the situation at Akaline Vietnam plant. The strategy can be argued to be an overarching framework that will help in boosting the HR potential of the company’s new Vietnam staffs. This proposed strategy comprised of four key stages of HRD including investigation/need assessment, design, implementation as well as evaluation (Harrison 785). The stages were overlaid with a keen consideration of the fundamental ideas of learning, inclusion and actions for change, which are considered integral in facilitating successful leadership of the new initiatives. The strategy is unique in itself based on its critical focus on learning and business excellence. The strategy, therefore, is not merely about shifting to another company positioning, but rather it involves an initiative that effectively considers change as a chance/opportunity for strategic growth of a firm, driven by the idea of learning as the key element and goal in facilitating the change action process.

 

Recommendations:
  • Ensure an inclusive strategy that engages the contribution all staffs, especially the new Vietnamese recruits
  • The new strategy should align with the company culture (Akaline corporate culture)
  • Embrace employees’ ideas and contributions for resolving the present problem

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Work Cited

Delahaye, Brian. “Human Resource Development: Managing Learning and Knowledge Capital.” Melbourne, Australia: Tilde University Press, 2011.

Garavan, Thomas. A Strategic Perspective on Human Resource Development. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 9.1[2007]:11-30.

Harrison, Matthew. Using the four HRD Stages for Organizational Renewal. The Journal of Management Development, 23.7[2004]:1-777-786.

Holly, Ji, and Garavan, Thomas. Human Resource Development Review: Exploring the Strategic Role of Human Resource Development in Organizational Crisis Management. Human Resource Development Review, 8.22[2009]:23-53.

Maycunish, Ann and Gilley, Jerry . “Organizational Learning, Perfomance and Change: An Introduction to Strategic Human Resource Development.” Cambridge, MA: Perscus, 2000.

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