Transforming learning and development into a strategic, value-adding business solution : a conceptual and business-minded framework
The purpose of this PhD research study was to measure the strategic impact and value of Learning and Development (L&D) practices. The objectives of the research study were fourfold, namely: #1. To determine the current strategic levels of L&D impact (maturity); #2. To determine the priority factors driving strategic L&D, the current state of L&D readiness to deliver these strategic factors and determine the differential, that is, the capability gap index; #3. To construct an internationally-relevant and multi disciplinary applicable, Strategic Business Management-aligned, Learning and Development measurement tool (Scorecard) and #4. To develop a conceptual framework and business-valued processes to transform and re -position the L&D function to become a strategic learning partner. Using a detailed literature review, ten factors of Strategic L&D were identified . These factors formed the basis for a 175-item questionnaire that was developed, as the primary data collection method, for measuring the strategic impact and value of L&D practices. By means of a comprehensive cross-industry analysis, involving a sample of 463 global respondents, various descriptive and intergroup comparative statistical measures were utilised to measure the current L&D practices. The research study findings revealed below average (low) levels of the strategic impact and value of L&D (maturity and readiness) practices and identified serious shortcomings in the majority of the ten factors of strategic L&D. The researcher computed the Strategic L&D Capability Gap Index, that is, the differential between the perceived importance and compliance. Despite the apparent drive towards becoming a strategic learning partner, L&D practices still tend to be more transactional (level 2) and not strategic (level 4). Based on the research findings, the researcher developed a 74-item, weighted Strategic Learning and Development Scorecard that organisations can utilise for diagnostic and analytical purposes. This research study concluded by making recommendations to the effect of strategically re -positioning and enhancing L&D practices, to actualise to become a strategic learning partner.
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