Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership


The objective of this study was to determine the effects of training on three employee productivity measures: output, withdrawal, and disruption.

A meta-analysis of forty-eight field experiments published in the United States between 1971 and 1981, inclusive, was conducted to explore differences in training effectiveness associated with eight substantive training variables (five design variables and three contextual variables) and two study design variables.

Across all studies, training programs contributed to overall improvement of experimental groups over control groups of 0.67 standard deviation. Training interventions were most successful applied to disruption; however, a shortage of data cast doubt on the reliability of this finding. Mean effect size for the output criterion was a near-match for the overall mean effect size; mean effect size for withdrawal was a tenth of a standard deviation less.

The training design parameters of information processing method, knowledge objective, external trainer, executive training content, and line manager involvement in design were associated with strongest effect sizes in the subject studies. Contextual variables associated with strongest effect sizes included small (fewer than 100 employees) organizations, private for-profit organizations, and managers as the training recipients. In all cases, consistency of measures did not necessarily follow strength. Strongest mean effects were associated with the design variables of longer elapsed time between training end and criterion measurement and comparison groups receiving other training. Missing data in the original reports substantially reduced the number of effect sizes available for analysis.

Training was shown to have been a useful intervention in productivity improvement efforts, more successfully applied to certain criteria than others. Further research was recommended to give further guidance to training professionals.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access