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Topic for the Research

The topic chosen for this research is on human resource management and specifically on one of its function which is the training and development, focusing on managing satisfaction among the people to achieve the company objectives in return. The working title of this study is initially drafted as – Investigating the Impact of Training and Development on Employee Performance and Productivity in Entrepot. This study is organization-based and inputs will be collected from the staff of Entrepot Marketing Private Limited.  

Rationale for Selection of Topic

Entrepot Marketing Private Limited, a local Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) dealing in industrial tools and lifting equipment was established in 1984.The company has since grown from 5 workers in 1984 to the current strength of 32 workers. Over the years, the company has managed to retain a group of long serving staff in core positions who has contributed to its continuous growth. The process of succession planning took place about 10 years ago where employees with potential were identified and being developed into second generation leaders. Looking forward, with the company eyeing listing within the next five years, there is a need to increase the manpower and also to retain quality employees. In the past three to five years, however, there has been a trend in staff turnover where staff leaves the company with less than two years in service. Reasons for the continuing turnover are not known hence there is a need to investigate such as well as how the company can sustain its workforce in the future.

Performance refers to the accomplishment of something or mere working effectiveness. In an organization, to which Entrepot is not an exemption, performance is realized at the levels of organization, process and individuals and the interrelationships among these will define the vantage points of the organization. In contributing to the overall goal of the organization, training and development processes are implemented as this benefits not just the organization but also the individuals making up that organization. For the organization, training and development leads to improved profitability while cultivating more positive attitudes toward profit orientation. For the individuals, training and development improve job knowledge while also helping in identifying with the goals of the organization. Training and development is defined as the planned learning experiences that teach employees how to perform current and future jobs.

At its core is the improvement in the performance of individuals participating in training and development activities. Learnings achieved through training and development therefore means to be translated as organizational resource by which the people acquire, infer and utilized. As such, performance contributes to the growth of the organization specifically since they can implement in combination competences and expertise acquired through training and development. Further, training and development and how it impacts the performance of the employees in the business setting have received a significant attention from the researchers. Same goes in the manufacturing sector but limited on SME setting and specifically on the workforce hence this study.

Research Question

A study on the relationship between training and development and performance and productivity in Entrepot Marketing Private Limited, this study intends to give answer to the following questions:

  1. How do Entrepot employees perceive the overall training and development program of the company? Are the activities within the program adequate? If not, in what specific areas do the program is lacking?

  2. How do Entrepot employees perceive the overall adequacy of training and development activities of the company? How do this impact the role of the human resource management department?

  3. How do Entrepot employees perceive their overall learning and development? Are they learning enough to acquire the necessary competencies, knowledge and skills needed to sustain the role?

  4. To what extent training and development is perceived as a valuable determinant of Entrepot employees’ performance and productivity? How does training and development improve the performance of the employees?

Research Objectives

In lieu with answering the above research questions, the study will address the following specific objectives:

  1. To identify perceptions of the employees about the over training and development within the company;

  2. To identify perceptions of the employees on how training and development proved to be beneficial to them;

  3. To identify employees’ competency levels as enhanced by the training and development implemented;

  4. To examine how training and development contribute to the individual performance and productivity;

  5. To establish the role of human resource management department of its training and development function; and

  6. To establish guidelines and solutions to improve training and development.

Significance of the Study

This study is undertaken to advance the awareness in various human resource management issues within Entrepot which will provide greater efficiency to the company. Understanding the issues and how these affect the conduct of the company can further the human resource management processes proactive and advantageous. Among the human resources issues to be addressed in this study are training and development, employee performance and employee productivity.

Based on the findings of this research, Entrepot, through the human resource department will be provided with guidelines/recommendations in optimizing its processes that can sustain a quality workforce in the future. Proactive human resource management could only be achieved if the company and its 32 members are educated enough on what specific strategies will provide them with much efficiency. The study is also important as it can relate the factors affecting the likelihood of success through effective employer-employee relationship that is buffered by the human resource department. 

On a more personal note, I am expecting a role in the business environment in the future hence it is my role to contribute to literatures concerning understanding strategic human resource management or how relationships within the company can be made strategic.

Scope and Limitations of the Study

The study is limited on the elements of human resource management unique to Entrepot particularly in the area of training and development. The utilization of a company as the basis of the case study is another limitation because of the fact that it cannot make generalizations. To compensate, a recommendation for future study will be provided so as to promote the continuous investigation on the issue. In this way, a continuum of learning through investigation on this issue could be promoted.

Survey is the primary means in the study in collecting data. The study is also limited only the pieces of information that the respondents are willing to disclose. It is limited to the respondents’ capability to answer such questions. There may be information also that may not be disclosed because of its confidentiality.

Organization of the Study

The thesis shall be divided into five chapters in order to provide clarity and coherence on the discussion of the suppliers and buyers particularly when it comes to sharing information. The first part of the dissertation will be discussing the background, problem statement, questions and objectives and the significance and limitations.

The second chapter shall be discussing the relevance of the study in the existing literature. It shall provide studies on training and development and employee performance and productivity. After the presentation of the existing related literature, the researcher shall provide a synthesis of the whole chapter in relation to the study.

The third part of the study shall be discussing the methods and procedures used in the study. The chapter shall comprise of the presentation of the utilized techniques for data collection and research methodology. Similarly, it shall also contain a discussion on the used techniques in data analysis as well as the tools used to acquire the said data.

The fourth chapter shall be discussion of the results of the study. Data to be presented will be statistically treated in order to uncover the relationship of the variable involved in the study. With the said data, the chapter seeks to address the statement of the problem noted in the first chapter.

The last chapter shall comprise of two sections: the conclusions of the study, and the recommendations. With the three portions, the chapter shall be able to address the problem stated in the initial chapters of the study.

Brief Literature Review

Training and development

Training and Development basically deals with the acquisition of understanding, know-how, techniques and practices. In fact, training and development is one of the imperatives of human resource management as it can improve performance at individual, collegial and organizational levels. As the process of ‘increasing one’s capacity to take action, organizations are now increasingly becoming particular with organizational learning and therefore collective development. Organizational learning, on the other hand, refers to the “efficient procedure to process, interpret and respond to both internal and external information of a predominantly explicit nature. According to Easterby-Smith et al (1999), the emergence of the concept of organizational learning is central on the hitherto idea that prior advocacies of learning are tended to its commercial significance and are lacking of empirical information on learning processes.

Strategically, organizational learning, which makes use of training and development as one of the several responses, deals with the acquisition of understanding, know-how, techniques and practices. These intellectual intangibles can be translated into an organizational resource through the people that acquire, infer and utilize such towards the achievement of the organization-wide training and development (Armstrong, 2006, p. 40). Training and development are planned learning experiences which teach employees how to perform current and future jobs more effectively. Sims (2002) emphasize that training focuses on present jobs while development prepares employees for possible future jobs. Basically, the objective of training and development is to contribute to the organization's overall goal.

Closing the skills gap is now a critical area of human resource development for organizations to continuously penetrate the market. Skills gap basically threatens the productivity and competitiveness both in organizational and operational levels. This requires that human resource management professionals should start the cultivation of the workforce from the recruitment period. However, this is not easy considering that there are specific works which require customization of skills and that not all newly hired employees acquire social skills aside from the basic skills. In responding to the challenges of the skills gap and skills deficiency, HR professionals have to develop programs that will address the problem (Sims, 2006, p. 18).

Building the organization hence is an imperative for the existence and survival of modern organizations. Consistently, companies are investing on their internal customers or employees thus taking advantage of the human capital management. Sense of ownership is also important, requiring HR professionals to develop strategies that will ensure superior knowledge, skills and experience to settle within the workforce.  Learning activities shall put skills enhancement and development assignments at its core as well as empowerment and career development. This is lifelong learning which guide the organizations particularly human resource department to make an ongoing investment with organizational members and help them build their competencies (Sims, 2006, p. 19). 

Roles of Different Parties in Training and Development

Employees serve as the target of training and development. The purposes of learning from the employee perspective are basically to acquire skills and knowledge to do the job and to gain promotion and advance career. In facilitating career changes, training and development also caters for the personal and professional developments of the employees. Learning can be defined as knowledge obtained by self-directed study, experience, or both; the art of acquiring knowledge, skills, competencies, attitudes, and ideas retained and used; or a change of behavior through experience (as cited in Gilley and Maycunich 2000, p. 207). Senge (1990) believes that learning has little to do with taking in information; rather it is a process that enhances capacity. Learning is about building the capacity to create that which one previously could not create.

Principles of learning are the guidelines to the ways in which people learn most effectively. The more the principles are included in training, the more effective training is likely to be (Sims, 1990). The first principle is motivation. In order to learn, a person must want to learn. In the context of training, motivation influences a person’s enthusiasm for training, keeps attention focused on the training activities, and reinforces what is learned. Second, behavior modeling wherein majority of what an individual learns is gained through an observation of others. One will imitate other people’s actions when they lead to desirable outcomes for those involved (Sims 1990). Third is participation. Another way to inspire trainees is through their active participation in the training process. Activities that facilitate active participation enable trainees to become directly involved in the act of learning. Learning usually is quicker and more long-lasting when the learner can participate actively. Participation improves motivation and apparently engages more senses that help reinforce the learning process (Sims 1990). Repetition of practice is the fourth principle. Regardless of individual differences and whether a trainee is learning a new skill of acquiring knowledge of a given topic, the person should be given opportunity to practice what is being taught. Practice is also essential after the individual has been successfully trained (Sims 1990). There are two aspects of practice – active practice and over learning. Active learning allows the trainees to repeatedly to perform the task or use the knowledge being learned. Over learning occurs when trainees are given the opportunity to practice far beyond the point where the task becomes ‘second nature’ and is said to be ‘over learned’. The fifth and most important of all which will give life to other four is application because training is useless unless learning can be applied.

At the collegial level, learning purports on improving efficiency and effectiveness and facilitating organizational changes. The group ethos of learning also prepares the organization to adapt to changing market conditions or environment and then improve employee performance. While at the organizational level, the purposes of learning are overcoming or preventing skills shortages, facilitating workforce planning strategies and also succession management and attraction and retention. The reasons and motivation behind the training and development are: 1) to improve performance – in order to correct deficiencies in the performance of the staff, training must be conducted. One of the rationales for the training programs is to remove current and avoid future career deficiencies. Although training cannot solve all the problems of ineffective performance, a sound training program is instrumental in minimizing those problems; 2) to update employees’ skills – in order to keep up with the advances and changes in the external and internal environment, the skills of the employees must be updated. Employee skills must be updated through training so that changes are successfully integrated into the organization and 3) to promote job competency – in order to update the knowledge, skills and abilities of a newly promoted employee, training is necessary. Training can be used to fill the gap between the new employee’s predicted and actual performance. 

Benefits of Training and Development

Thereby, training and development is beneficial not just for the organization itself but also to the individual employees. On the one hand, training and development leads to improved profitability and/or more positive attitudes toward profit orientation, improves the job knowledge and skills at all levels of the organization, improves the morale of the workforce and helps the employees identify with organizational goals (Sims, 1990). On the other, training and development benefits individual employees through helping them make better decisions and effective problem solving, assisting in encouraging and achieving self-development and self-confidence, helping an employee a person handle stress, tension, frustration, and conflict, increasing job satisfaction and recognition and moving the person toward personal goals while improving interaction skills (Sims, 1990).

Proposed Research Methodology

Research philosophy and approach

The research philosophy adopted for this dissertation is interpretive epistemology which simply refers to the philosophical underpinning of the research. Interpretive epistemology has a basic assumption that knowledge can only be created and understood from the point of view of the individuals who live and work in a particular culture or organization. Therefore, every individual acts in situation and makes sense of what is happening based on experiences of the situation and the expectations people bring into it. This means that there may be different understandings and interpretations of reality and interpretive epistemology leads to accessing meanings made by others and describe how they come to make those meanings (Hatch and Cunliffe, 2006, p, 14). The choice of this philosophy is important because it guides the research design, the research approach, choice of methods, analysis of the findings, and even the presentation.

Further, an instrumental case study approach would be used since this enables the researcher to make generalizations based on the findings. In an instrumental case study, the particular case is less important than the insight it can provide into a specific issue of theory.  Thereby, the goal of this case study is to understand something more general than the case but nothing generalisable to other contexts (Colwell, 2006, p. 331). Denzin and Lincoln (2005), however, contend that the case, although it is of secondary interest, plays a supportive role and facilitates the understanding of important concepts. Investigating the case in-depth has a purpose of pursuing an external interest (p. 445).

Research methods and strategies

A multi-method approach would be adopted, drawing on primary and secondary research. The reason for this is to be able to provide adequate discussion for the readers that will help them understand more about the issue under investigation as well as the different variables involve with it, the primary data for the study will be represented by the survey results that will be acquired from the respondents.

This study will also employ qualitative research method because it will try to find and build theories that will explain the relationship of one variable with another variable through qualitative elements in research. Through this method, qualitative elements that do not have standard measures such as behaviour, attitudes, opinions, and beliefs within the organizational domain will be analyzed.

Questionnaires will be used as the survey instrument. The questionnaires will be divided into two parts, the first part being demographic profile and the second part on the perceptions of the employees about training and development. It is planned that the questionnaires will have a 5 point Likert Scale, as well as yes-no and open-ended questions.

On the other hand, the literature reviews to be presented in the second chapter of the study will represent the secondary data of the study. The secondary sources of data will come from published articles from marketing journals, theses and related studies, books, company reports and official statistics. Sometimes, secondary research is required in the preliminary stages of research to determine what is known already and what new data are required, or to inform research design. Acquiring secondary data are more convenient to use because they are already condensed and organized. Moreover, analysis and interpretation are done more easily.

Data analysis and presentation

The survey data would be presented using descriptive and inferential statistics, based around a number of propositions that the study identified. SPSS 14.0 will be used to analyse the survey responses. With this said, this dissertation will be presented in written format with the addition of data charts, representing study results. Some of the analysed data will be illustrating using pie charts and network charts but this may not be confirmed until survey data had been analysed.


As this research is done within the company context and with only 32 respondents, the timeframe for this research project will be about 120 days.















Read literature













Finalize objectives













Draft literature review













Devise research approach













Review secondary data













Organize survey













Develop survey questions













Conduct survey













Analyze secondary and primary data













Evaluate data













Draft findings chapter













Complete remaining chapters













Submit to tutor and await feedback













Revise draft and format for submission













Print, bind


























 Reference List

Armstrong, M. (2006). A Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice, London, UK: Kogan Page, Ltd.

Colwell, R. (2006). Handbook of Research Methodologies. Oxford University Press, US.

Dalal, R. S. & Hulin, C. L. (2008). Motivation for what? A multivariate dynamic perspective of the criterion. In R. Kanfer, G. Chen, & R. D. Pritchard (Eds.), Work motivation: Past, present, and future (pp. 63-100). New York: Routledge.

Denzin, N. K. & Lincoln, Y. S. (2005). The SAGE handbook of qualitative research. Sage Publications Inc, UK.

Easterby-Smith, M., Burgoyne, J. and Araujo, L. (eds.) 1999, Organizational Learning and the Learning Organization, Sage, London.

Hatch, M. J. & Cunliffe, A. L. (2006). Organization Theory: Modern, Symbolic, and Postmodern Perspective. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Gilley, J., England, S. and Wesley, A. (1998). Principles of Human Resource Management. Perseus Publishing.

Gilley, J. W. and Maycunich, A. (2000). Beyond the Learning Organization: Creating a Culture of Continuous Growth and Development through State-Of-The-Art Human Resource Practices. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Books.

Senge, P. M. (1990). The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization. New York: Doubleday.

Sims, R. (2002). Organizational Success through Effective Human Resources Management. Westport CT: Quorum Books.

Sims, R. (1990). An Experiential Learning Approach to Employee Training Systems. New York: Quorum Books.

Sims, R. S. (2006). Human Resource Development: Today and Tomorrow. IAP.




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