The middle management learning programme of the South African Police Service: a critical evaluation
Masilela, Linkie Slinga
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The aim of this study was to assess the effective functioning of the Middle Management Learning Programme (MMLP) within the South African Police Service (SAPS), as well as evaluate the performance and effectiveness of employees who were sent for training to enhance their skills and develop their capacity in order to improve service delivery within the broader South African society. The research focused specifically on middle managers who had completed the MMLP. The MMLP was presented at the SAPS Academy in Thabong from 2007 to 2011. According to Meyer et al. (2004:225), a learning programme is a coordinated combination of learning activities, methodologies, processes and other elements of learning, crafted to assist learners to acquire the required knowledge, skills and attitudes. The primary objective of this study was, therefore, to evaluate the effective functioning of the MMLP within the SAPS and to provide sound recommendations based on the empirical findings. Semi-structured interviews and questionnaires were used to determine the effectiveness of the MMLP and obtain information from the respondents who completed the programme during the 2007/8 and 2009/10 financial years. The literature review, interviews and completion of the questionnaires by respondents confirmed the objectives of this study. The overall results indicated that the MMLP had a positive impact on middle managers in the SAPS. The middle managers appear to be driven by a need for recognition, and authorities could exploit this to its advantage by providing a reward system for good performance. The study concludes by, inter alia, recommending that the SAPS review its military culture or style, because the managers who attended the MMLP are unable to advise their seniors, respondents feel overwhelmed, powerless, and helpless and this leads to ineffectiveness in their performance. The requirements to attend the MMLP should be placed on record and should not be compromised to suit particular individuals. The MMLP should also be made a prerequisite for promotion as invaluable skills are transferred to course attendees.