The learning objectives for the assignment are to critically examine the literature relating to the learning and development in organisations, to analyse the complexity of managing learning and development in organisations and to promote understanding of the HR role in shaping learning and development at different organisational levels: organisation, team and individual.
Electrocom Ltd is an electronics company based in North West, employing around 700 employees. It produces high-specification office equipment and provides various telecoms and installation services. It is regarded as a major employer in the area. As the UK subsidiary of a major global operation, the company is expected to conform to head office requirements for reporting procedures, information systems, budgeting, and organisational values. The global operation is successful; the UK subsidiary is, however, increasingly in jeopardy, with a significant proportion of work volume (about 15 percent) being removed to Far Eastern locations in the last two years, and the company being exhorted to become ‘more innovative’ in order to be favourably considered for new projects by head office. The chief executive is due to retire back to his home country in less than two years time, and there are rumours that his departure may herald further loss of business and subsequent job loss, or even closure of the UK operation.
The company employs a large number of skilled engineers, who have achieved high capability in technical areas of expertise. A small but significant minority of senior managers have a sense of what the company needs to do to become more independent. They believe that the company could reflect customer needs more closely, and become a ‘business solutions’ provider; another option would be to capitalise on the company’s experience of designing recycled office technology. A number of high-profile awards have been won by the company, which is seen as a model of good practice, especially in environmental policies and links with the community. The company has also built up considerable good will across the workforce as a result of a ‘no redundancy’ policy and very generous holiday, sickness and other benefits.
On the other hand, although there is much evidence of incremental learning – becoming better at existing processes – there is little challenging, probleming or genuine exploratory learning, partly because there are so few opportunities for understanding changing customer needs and demands. Although the company has implemented a new management development programme, and individuals found the new insights valuable, there is little or no effort to apply the ideas to enable the company to function more effectively. For this reason, learning is more akin to ‘personal development’ than linked with organisational performance and capability. There are few opportunities for teamwork, with most employees working in routine tasks with little task interdependency. There is also an astonishing lack of awareness of the vulnerable circumstances that the company faces. Many employees believe that ‘big brother’ will step in as financial issues become more pressing.
Using the ideas and research into organisational learning and development, prepare a preliminary report for head office outlining what steps the company needs to take to move beyond ‘personal development’ into organisational learning and consider the following aspects:
• What formal learning initiatives do you believe would help employees to engage in exploratory learning?
• What steps could be taken to promote the sharing and application of employee learning across the organisation?
• What factors need to be considered in developing the informal work environment to maximise productive naturally occurring learning?
In your report, you should consider learning at three levels: organisation, team, and the individual.
Required Standard for Assignment:
1) Presentation: This gives the reader the first impression of your work and in management you should have realised by now that presentation and appearance matter. An outstanding presentation cannot make acceptable a poor piece of work that is devoid of serious content but poor presentation certainly can turn a good assignment into a fail. Facilities are available in the library.
2) Title Page: Do put a title page and make sure your name, course and class are displayed. Use and complete an assignment cover sheet.
3) Page Numbers and Contents: Number your pages so that a marker can reference them and locate information. You should provide a contents page which lists sub-headings with page numbers plus any appendices you provide. Please also list the total number of words at the bottom of the contents page.
4) Layout: You have been asked to prepare an essay, but in order to structure it better please use subheadings.
5) Spelling: Spelling matters! If you are unsure of your spelling the first rule is to use the spell check and look for the red underlining. There are some words a spell-checker will not pick up. For ex, ‘there’ written as ‘their’ is a frequent mistake.
6) Grammar: The best advice is to stick to simple grammar. Avoid having sentences that regularly begin with a participle- e.g. taking that into account. Ensure that every sentence has a subject and a verb. Do not use "if' when what you mean is "whether".
7) Plagiarism: You must not use the words of others and pretend that they are your own. That is plagiarism and an automatic fail. There is more information in the course handbook.
8 References: A list of those readings to which reference is made in the text is given at the end of your assignment. The format should be Author (s), date of publication, title of book or article, publisher or title of journal and location, e.g. Armstrong, M., (2006), A Handbook of Human Resource Management, CIPD, London. With articles from journals: O'Brien, L., (2006), Code on Data Access is Disastrous, People Management, 22 September, Vol. 7, No.8, pp.26-28.
9) References within the Text: If is only a general reference then (Armstrong, 2006). If the sentence already indicates the author, just the date e.g. As Armstrong (2006) reported, managers are inclined to… If you are quoting then at the end put (Armstrong, 2006, p.321). It the quote is from a work by more than one person, refer to the work in full in your references at the end of the assignment, but in the text put (Smith et a/., 2006, p. 123). The phrase et al is Latin for "and others". Long quotations should not normally be used in assignments, but if more than two lines, indent, single space, omit quotation marks and put in italics.