Analysing Formal and Informal Management Development

Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 2004

13 Pages, Grade: 2,7 (B-)


Table of contents

1. Introduction

2. Developing managers and theoretical approaches

3. The effectiveness of management development methods and their roles

4. Concluding recommendations for an effective management development programme


Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

1. Introduction

Formal approaches to management development are inappropriate, say some advocates. This work provides a description and evaluation of formal and informal management development methods and their roles within management development programmes. In order to verify whether formal development is inappropriate this work supplies recommendations considering management development programmes with reference to critical success factors.

2. Developing managers and theoretical approaches

It is difficult to determine what managerial work encompasses and who managers are. According to Kubr and Abell (Kubr and Abell in Prokopenko 2000 p. 9) a manager is a person who operates and leads business on behalf of the company’s owners. Thus managerial work encompasses all leading activities within a business from setting the corporate goals until the final review and controlling. And managerial work has changed in the recent years due to flatter hierarchies and modern organisational structures e. g. focus on teamwork and matrix structures. Management skills and managerial effectiveness have to be developed. An effective management development is essential for a company’s ability to attain its goals (Harrison 2000 p. 359). When the human resource department or senior managers plan the development of subordinate managers often competency frameworks define what skills, knowledge and capabilities are necessary for a certain managerial post within in the company. The purpose of management development is to create a prosperous fit between the defined competencies and actual capabilities of management and a response to skill deficiencies within the organisation (Mabey 2002 p. 1140).

There are different theoretical approaches to strategic management development. Burgoyne’s model defines six steps of maturity of development and suggests that management development effectiveness increases by being formalized. The Mumford model outlines a distinction between formal and informal management development and introduces an integration of formal and informal development. (Mumford 39 – 46)

3. The effectiveness of management development methods and their roles

Formal management development methods are planned and steered processes. Theory differentiates between on-the-job and off-the-job development.

Mumford distinguishes between three different fields of formal on-the-job methods: changes in job, in job content and within the job. The job role can be altered for example by promotions, secondments or rotation (Mumford 1997 p. 138). These changes can widen the experience of a manager and help to develop a wider perspective. They can support managers in problem solving when they know more about processes they are normally not involved in. Especially secondments to international sites can improve managers’ adaptability concerning different cultures. A major problem of rotation is that it can distract changing organisational processes and that individuals can feel stressed by job adjustments. Mangers that are temporary shifted are often seen as distracting and inappropriate tasks are handed over. (Garavan et al. 1999 p. 200) These methods can be part of individual management development programmes. Mangers have rather specific than common learning needs. Hence these methods can be used in individual cases but need not be a compulsory part for all managers’ development.

A change in the job content for development needs is job enrichment. Job enrichment by delegating extra work to managers bears different advantages for the organisation and the manager himself. It increases intrinsic job satisfaction and allows better opportunities for psychological growth (Mullins 2002 p. 659). And motivated managers are essential for corporate success. For management development programmes delegated extra work can serve as a selection tool. Senior executives are able to evaluate how managers prove themselves in maximum stress situations. The manager has got the opportunity to learn from taking over more responsibility. A tool for this can be project work on real tasks. The work can be delegated to different levels in the hierarchy. Teams can be cross-functional. (Taylor and Lippitt 1983 p. 21) Learning on-the-job in project teams has got advantages. Authority and hierarchy does not play an important role so all participating managers are liberate to share their ideas (Taylor and Lippitt 1983 p. 21). Hence companies can benefit from results which the participants compile. Participants can come from different department and functions (Taylor and Lippitt 1983 p. 21). Thus the organisation has the advantage of improved communication between departments. Moreover project work has got a good fit with modern organisational matrix structures (Mullins p. 2002 550-551). Project work can be used in management development programmes in order to improve managers’ capabilities such as leadership, taking responsibility, team-orientation etc. Project work is suitable for individual rather than tailored programmes because the necessity of project work on real issues cannot be forced.


Excerpt out of 13 pages


Analysing Formal and Informal Management Development
Anglia Ruskin University  (Ashcroft International Business School)
2,7 (B-)
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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905 KB
Analysing, Formal, Informal, Management, Development
Quote paper
Hauke Barschel (Author), 2004, Analysing Formal and Informal Management Development, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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