Transfer of skills between management at a listed agricultural organisation : a focus on the silos sector
The study investigates the transfer of skills and knowledge between management at a listed agricultural organisation focusing on the silo sector. The agricultural sector, in particular the silo management business, is facing the risk of losing critical skills due to the impending retirement of silo managers. The retention of skills is being outpaced by the skills turnover due to various reasons: poor succession planning, barriers to skills and knowledge transfer, retirement due to age and normal attrition of skills. The sectors ability to successfully transfer knowledge and skills can potentially mitigate skills shortages in this sector. A qualitative research employing a phenomenological research design utilising semi-structured interviews is embarked upon. A sample of four purposively selected silo managers and four assistant managers was selected to participate in the study by responding to open ended questions addressing the objectives of the study. The study found that the silo sector is deeply reliant upon on-the-job training to transfer of skills and knowledge between managers. The reliance upon on-the-job training for skills and knowledge transfer contributes to longer training periods for assistant managers to become substantive silo managers. Knowledge and skills transfer is impeded by multiple factors such as availability of time resources, suitability of recruits, appropriateness of succession planning, career pathing, sourcing of functions and the generational gap. The generational gap was found to be the most prominent factor impeding skills and knowledge transfer in the silo sector. The study recommends that the recruitment criteria and the career path for silo managers be reviewed to include shop floor employees as opposed to inexperienced external candidates.