Date of Award
Doctor of Education
Dr. Kenneth E. Dickie
Dr. Dale Brethower
Dr. Robert B rinkerhoff
Dr. Dave Cowden
Despite the proliferation of evaluation literature and business and industry's growing investment in training activities, the evaluation component of training programs remains underdeveloped. Without evaluating the merit and worth of training, there is little evidence that organizations are getting a return on investment from training programs they sponsor.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the discrepancy between the emphasis on training-program evaluation in professional literature and actual practice in the field. The writer examined the perceptions of two stakeholders in the training process: upper-level managers and training directors.
Three hypotheses concerned the relationship between the frequency with which training evaluations were carried out (dependent variable) and the congruence in upper-level managers' and training directors' perceptions regarding the (a) value of evaluation activities in generating management support, (b) need for evaluation activities in helping produce better training, and (c) feasibility of conducting training evaluations in their organizations (independent variable). Three additional hypotheses investigated whose positive agreement on the value of, need for, or feasibility of training-evaluation activities (independent variable) was related to an actual increase in the frequency of training-evaluation activity (dependent variable).
Data were collected from a random sample of 120 nonmanufacturing businesses with over 1,000 employees. Chi-square, Cramer's V, and lambda were used to measure perceptions on value, need, feasibility, and degree to which training-evaluation activities were generally carried out. T-tests were performed to discover differences in evaluation activity when upper-level managers and training directors disagreed on the value of, need for, or feasibility of training-evaluation activities.
Major findings of the study were: (1) Training remains a corporate exercise that is taken on faith, with little or no demand to evaluate it rigorously. (2) The strongest relationship existed between perceived feasibility of the training-evaluation activity and the frequency with which the evaluation occurred. (3) The training director's positive perception of the value of, need for, or feasibility of an evaluation activity had the most influence on frequency of the evaluation activity. (4) Where there was positive agreement concerning evaluation activities, there was increased frequency of training evaluation.
Gutek, Sarah P., "Training-Program Evaluation: An Investigation of Perceptions and Practices in Nonmanufacturing Business Organizations" (1988). Dissertations. 2183.