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The purpose of this assignment is to critically evaluate the Learning and Development function of my employer, the Office of the Prime Minister (the OPM), Jamaica and to suggest ways in which they could be improved

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Introduction

An evaluation of the Office of the Prime Minister?s approach to learning and development as well as its Learning and Development policy. Objective The purpose of this assignment is to critically evaluate the Learning and Development function of my employer, the Office of the Prime Minister (the OPM), Jamaica and to suggest ways in which they could be improved. Definitions and conceptualizations The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines learning as ?the acquiring of knowledge or skill.? Kim (1993) differentiates two meanings of learning: (1) the acquisition of skill or know-how, which implies the physical ability to produce some action, and (2) the acquisition of know-why, which implies the ability to articulate a conceptual understanding of an experience. Researchers have identified three levels of learning: (1) individual (2) team and (3) organizational learning. Lahteenmaki (2001) indicates that there is no clear understanding in what way does organizational learning differ from individual learning. Alternately Probst and Buchel propose that learning by individuals is a prerequisite of organizational learning. There are no rigorous theories of organizational learning but there are several interesting conceptualizations. They are organizational learning by: adaptation, assumption sharing, developing knowledge of action-outcome relationships and institutionalized experience. Adaptation Cyert and March (1963) suggest that organizations exhibit adaptive behaviour which they term organizational learning. This adaptation occurs at the aggregate level of the organization and focuses on three phases of the decision making process: adaptation in respect of goals, attention rules and search rules. Cyert and march advocated a model which viewed organizational learning as a series of interactions between adaptation at the individual or sub-group level and at the organizational level. They identified performance stress (gap between goals and performance) and disjunctive stress (conflict between subgroup and individuals) as the major influences on learning. Assumption sharing Argyris and Schon (1978) label the continual and concerted sharing of individual assumptions, of individual images of self and others, of one?s activities in the context of collective interaction as organizational learning. ...read more.

Middle

This process forms the second loop, which seeks to answer the question are we doing the right thing? The third loop is formed where the results of individual employee annual reviews are compiled; analyzed; distilled into divisional/departmental reports and submitted for group analysis via an organizational performance assessment, the findings of which are incorporated into the ministry?s operational plan for the next year and also used to update the organization?s strategic plan. From this third loop, organizational learning is concretized by means of establishing new objectives and standards of operations that adds to organizational memory and serves to guide future action. Figure 2: Argyris & Schon?s Deutero-learning Model Assumption sharing PMAS also comprises a staff suggestion policy that generates new ideas and actions in order to foster a team approach to organizational improvement. OPMs? suggestion policy also acknowledges suggestions that have led to cost savings and cost recovery. Acknowledgements are observed in either cash or kind. Developing Knowledge of Action-outcome Two examples of knowledge bases that exist at the Office of the Prime Minister are (1) Management Information System knowledge base and (2) a Procurement Contractor database. Institutionalized experience PMAS helps to refine as well as improve routine tasks and subsequently facilitates the creation of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). In addition to the structured approach of PMAS the ministry attempts to build an enabling culture for life-long learning through the provision of scholarship, coaching mentoring a number of educational foras/group sharing sessions (financial planning, career development) and access to self-actualization learning via library, journal and magazine subscriptions. The OPMs? supplemental approaches to learning & development are outlined in table 1 below. Table 1: supplemental approaches to L&D Participation in self-study programmes: 1. Professional reading 2. Videos 3. E-learning: CD-Rom, Intranet, Internet 4. External Studies One to one learning: 1. Cross-training by another colleague 2. Coaching 3. Mentoring 4. Shadowing 5. Knowledge-sharing Group sharing: 1. ...read more.

Conclusion

This probably also relates to my lack of preparation for presentations. Thinking about this skill has also led me to think about how I function as a manager more generally ? the ?problem-solving? role mentioned above is not necessarily the best. As a result, I research time management articles and pamphlets and decided to address this as another skill area, discussed below. This reinforced my understanding that I need to reconsider my use of time. Covey?s matrix made me realise I spend too much of my time in Quadrant 1 ? ?Firefighting? and, as a result, I?ve reviewed some of my study practices and now I plan better as a team and my delegation has improved. The presentation planning checklist is one example of reducing the need for last-minute panic (Quadrant 1) by thinking ahead. Keeping a learning journal seemed like a chore at first ? not an activist behaviour ? but with hindsight I can see that it made me stop and think. It is a practice I will continue with, even if I don?t use it very often or I?m reflecting mentally rather than in writing. Finding opportunities to develop my skills has made me think more purposefully and creatively. I have also realised that it is an excellent way of building relationships with colleagues. Asking for feedback has encouraged others to be more open in return, so I have become more skilled in critical appraisal and giving feedback. The PDP process has made me feel more in control and able to work out my own priorities and resources. I think much more about important ?progress tasks? so I?m less likely to get caught out as I did with my poor presentation. As a result, I?m a bit calmer and more effective as a supervisor; my staff has commented on this. I?m also more aware of their development needs and have developed a more systematic development and succession plan which my manager wants to extend to other departments. ...read more.

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