Today’s most progressive organizations have moved from treating some select human resource management practices (e.g., incentive compensation, employee participation, flexible work arrangements, training) as obligatory cost factors to regarding them as strategic weapons in the battle for competitive advantage Blume et al. (2010). Consistently included in any discussion of such high performance human resource practices is employee training (Combs, Liu, Hall, & Ketchen, 2006). Training is the most common form of human resource development and the one that helps organizations to enhance workforce effectiveness and productivity the most (Bhatti & Kaur, 2009) by means of specified learning geared towards performance improvement. Training is appropriate when an individual’s performance would be improved with additional skills and knowledge (Berge, 2008). Training focuses on changing the behavior or to develop new skills and knowledge for individual trainees and is expected to be applied in the workplace. Transfer of training is defined as the degree to which trainees generalize and apply knowledge, skills and abilities to their jobs (Park & Wentling, 2007).
Training should be designed in such a way that they create a win-win situation for both organizations and employees, to accomplish organizational tasks and improve employee performance. Organizations and employees can achieve their goals if learning skills are transferred effectively to the workplace (Bhatti & Kaur, 2010).
The main goal of training is to provide, obtain and improve the necessary skills in order to help organizations achieve their goals and create competitive advantage by adding value to their key resources – i.e. employees (Park & Wentling, 2007).
According to a recent American Society for Training and Development study, U.S. organizations spend over $125 billion on employee training and development every year (Paradise, 2007). At the same time, organizations continue to question the true yield of their training expenditures. Despite the large investments in and potential benefits of training, organizational decision makers are often not sure to what extent employees perform differently once back on the job (Blume et al., 2010).
On the other hand, a poorly trained workforce can lead to errors, injuries and even legal issues, all of which can be extremely costly. Therefore, not surprisingly, training has become a paramount concern of organizations and researchers alike. Van Wijk, Jansen, & Lyles (2008) conducted a meta-analysis and found a corrected correlation of only 0.22 between organizational knowledge transfer and performance.
Numerous empirical studies, reviews and meta-analyses have yielded a wealth of information regarding the transfer of training. This vast database of sometimes inconsistent findings, however, could make it difficult for organizations to pinpoint exactly which factors are most critical for transfer. Although several authors have reviewed and summarized the extant literature (for example, Baldwin et al., 2009; Blume et al., 2010; Burke & Hutchins, 2007; Merriam & Leahy, 2005), conclusions regarding the key components of transfer remain somewhat ambivalent. In an integrative review, for example, Burke and Hutchins (2007) identified factors that have been linked to transfer, and used the extant literature to assess the strength of each relationship described.
But, this stream of research has been very limited in Iran and serious attempt has been not made to identify factors affecting transfer of training. Considering such problem, planning for development of transfer of training is still an essential requirement in Medical Universities of Iran as starting point. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to identify and examine the factors affecting transfer of training among human resources of Medical Science Universities of Iran in the period of 2015 – 2016.
Literature on training transfer mainly comes from research in the corporate sector, as it is reflected next. In the past, assessing training effectiveness often has entailed using the four‐level approach developed by Kirkpatrick (1998) whose evaluation model essentially measures reaction, learning, application and business impact. All these measures have been widely recommended for full and meaningful evaluation of learning in organizations, although the application of such an encompassing perspective increases complexity and usually cost. Along with his development, Holton’s evaluation model (1996, 2000) provides new evidence by means of his Learning Transfer System Inventory (LTSI). Additionally, the work of Burke and Hutchins (2007), building from Baldwin and Ford (1988) offers a sound review and a solid model with a clear view of the influential variables including elements, from a more pedagogical approach such as the role of the trainer or the training timing. More recently, Pineda, Quesada & Ciraso (2011) create the FET model (Factors for the indirect Evaluation of Training Transfer) in the specific field of the Spanish public administration. Finally, it is to mention the general reviews of Blume et al. (2010) and the specific review of De Rijdt et al. (2013) on impact of staff development on transfer of training. The last two reviews (Blume et al, 2010 and De Rijdt et al. 2013) show a vision of the moderators that influence transfer and agree in maintaining the classification of transfer factors into the organizational factors, individual factors and training design factors.
There is a variety of theoretical and empirical approaches that examine the issue of training transfer. Previous researchers have highlighted numerous factors which affect training effectiveness. These studies distinguish three categories of factors affecting training transfer at work: 1) Trainee characteristics; 2) Training design factors; and 3) Work environment (Aguinis & Kraiger, 2009; Baldwin & Ford, 1988; Burke & Hutchins, 2007; Grossman & Salas, 2011; Kozlowski & Salas, 2009; Salas & Cannon-Bowers, 2001; Salas, Tannenbaum, Kraiger, & Smith-Jentsch, 2012; Salas, Weaver, & Shuffler, 2012).
Transfer of Training
The term training transfer is described as trainees effectively and continually applying the knowledge, skills, behaviors and cognitive strategies to the workplace (Noe, 2010). There are two levels of training transfer described by Noe (2010), generalization training and maintenance training. Generalization training is one’s capability to apply verbal knowledge and their motor skills directly to the work environment. Training maintenance is the process of using trained abilities continually through time.
An effective training is not only an improvement in skills and knowledge of individuals, but also the trainees’ application abilities of the knowledge, skills and abilities gained in training into the job practices (Baldwin & Ford, 1988; Salas & Cannon-Bowers, 2001). In other words, transfer of training attributes to the grade of trainees who apply knowledge, skills, behaviors and attitudes into their job setting after training that requires a generalization of training to their work context and its perseverance over time to improve their job performance (Baldwin & Ford, 1988; Velada & Caetano, 2007).
Factors Influencing Transfer of Training
35 years prior to the research done by Baldwin and Ford (Baldwin & Ford, 1988) it was discussed that the transfer of training exists in organizations. The result of this research is categorised into 3 factors: trainees’ characteristics (or individual factors), training design, and the work environment (or environmental factors). All these factors are accepted by researchers as they greatly influenced the transfer of training (Nazli, Sipon, Zumrah, & Abdullah, 2015).
There are several individual characteristics that affect the transfer of training process. Research has shown that the characteristics of the trainee’s personality directly affect the training process and training transfer (Warr, Allan, & Birdi, 1999). Some of these characteristics include cognitive ability, locus of control, conscientiousness, achievement motivation, motivation to learn and to transfer, anxiety, self-efficacy, and valence (Colquitt et al., 2000). Others include job involvement, organizational commitment, organizational cynicism and job satisfaction (Velada & Caetano, 2007).
Also, the transfer research indicates that transfer motivation, personality, and self-efficacy, in particular, influence training transfer directly and/or indirectly (Burke & Hutchins, 2007; Colquitt et al., 2000). Learners’ readiness, and motivation to attend training and to transfer training, and personal physical and cognitive capacity to transfer training were found to positively influence transfer of training (Devos, Dumay, Bonami, Bates, & Holton, 2007).
The second group of variables that have direct or indirect impact on training transfer through their influence on learning includes training design and delivery. Training design, often referred to the degree to which training provides instruction on how to transfer learned knowledge and skills to the job (Holton, 1996). Research confirms that training design directly influences training transfer (Devos et al., 2007; Velada, Caetano, Michel, Lyons, & Kavanagh, 2007); that is, when employees understand how to use learned knowledge and skills once back on the job, they are more likely to engage in successful transfer (Velada et al., 2007). Training design also influences transfer motivation and performance self-efficacy (Kirwan & Birchall, 2006). This suggests that when employees understand how to apply learned knowledge and skills within in a job context, they are more motivated and confident in their abilities to do so (Bhatti & Kaur, 2010).
Holton, et al (2000) stresses that for effective transfer design, the training must match the job requirements. If the effectiveness of transfer is a positive change in individual performance, then the content, design, and delivery of the training must correspond as directly as possible with the work environment and job requirements. The training must tie in with the requirements of the job (Velada et al., 2007).
The work environment has been the subject of many empirical organizational-training studies. The emerging perspective of training transfer recognizes training as a multifaceted, complex process that can be influenced by a number of factors within the organizational context and events surrounding training (Holton, 1996; Holton et al., 2000).
Work environment factors are factors in the workplace that may affect individual application and maintenance of new skills learned in training (Dodson, 2004). Research has demonstrated that training efforts are unlikely to result in positive changes in job performance unless the newly trained competencies are transferred to the work environment (Velada & Caetano, 2007). Subsequent research has supported the importance of the workplace on the trainee’s ability to apply, generalize, and maintain new skills on the job (Baldwin & Ford, 1988; Holton, 1996; Holton et al., 2000).
Indeed, work environment factors refer to the way workers perceive the supportiveness of their organization’s policies towards training, supportiveness of the supervisors and fellow workers, available opportunities to perform, and the adequacy of resources within the workplace (Grossman & Salas, 2011). These perceptions can facilitate or constrain transfer of training to the workplace.
Factors Influencing Transfer of Training as a Process
Milheim (1994) presented a model for the transfer of training that included pre-training strategies, strategies for use during training, and post-training strategies. The strategies suggested by these authors highlighted the importance of viewing the transfer of training as a process rather than an outcome.
Pre-training interventions focus on improving the individual and organizational readiness to benefit from training in three main areas: improving trainees’ pre-training motivation, enhancing trainees’ pre-training self-efficacy, and improving trainees’ perceptions of organizational support for training. Examples of pre-training interventions that improve motivation and readiness include: goal setting, participation in decision-making, and providing information concerning the purpose and intended outcomes of training.
Interventions applied during training have been described that focus on three main areas: improving trainees’ learning outcomes (including their level of adaptive expertise), improving trainees’ transfer intentions, and improving the trainees’ reactions to training. The key concepts underlying these interventions are the individual’s readiness to transfer their training, the identification of potential barriers to the transfer of training, and the importance of understanding contextual effects on individual learning outcomes.
Post-training interventions have been described that focus on improving the climate for the transfer of training. The key concepts underlying these interventions are the effect of the organisational context on trainees’ implementation of their training, the need to understand the compilation processes that operate when training unit/team members, and the importance of aligning training with organisational goals and directions (Machin, 2002).
The study, population was the employees of Universities of Medical Science, in western provinces of Iran. This Study utilizes a mixed method approach taking a sample of 692 employees of said Universities.
Qualitative data were used for basic understanding of research problem, especially for developing questionnaire based on interviews with participants. First, 17 experts were interviewed in order to gain insight into the problem. Second, relying on interviews, questionnaire was developed and administrated it among the universities employees.
In this study (In qualitative research phase), the first tool for collecting data was a semi-structured interview with open-ended questions. The general theme of questions was same in all interviews however; the probing questions were asked to conceive interviewees’ answers deeply. The theme of questions was based on previous research and according to research objectives. The Thematic Content Analysis (TCA) technique was chosen as it was best suited to the research question. Researchers use thematic analysis as a means to gain insight and knowledge from data gathered. The method enables researchers to develop a deeper appreciation for the group or situation they are researching. By using thematic analysis to distill data, researchers determine broad patterns that will allow them to conduct more granular research and analysis.
In quantitative research phase of the research the study population included 2912 universities personnel. The questionnaires were handed to universities personnel. Questionnaire data were analyzed from a sample of 692 respondents. The sample included 69.1 % female and 30.9 % male respondents. The age of the respondents ranged from 24 to 55 years, with an average of 38.7 years. With regard to professional qualification, 22.3 percent had an Associate’s Degree, 46.2 percent had a Bachelor’s degree and 31.5 percent had a master’s degree. The Average length of service for employees was 13.3 years.
In quantitative research phase, the second tool was the questionnaire developed based on the interviews consisting of 98 items. The items of questionnaire were designed in such a way that could address six themes explored in qualitative data analysis. Cronbach (α) calculated for questionnaire was 0.98 and it showed a fair reliability.
The data collected from university employees were analyzed by means of factor structure and reliability analysis using SPSS (version 23) program for Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA). A SPSS data-set was established based on the responses of these employees on transfer of training, and later converted to AMOS program for Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA). The purpose of this CFA was to compare these results to the factor structure/constructs emerging from the exploratory factor analysis (EFA) in an attempt to validate the factor structure. The factor structure observed in previous step was matched with the factor structure in this step.
Therefore, first, exploratory factor analyses (with principal components analysis and Varimax rotation method) using SPSS were carried out on first stratified randomly selected of respondents (n = 346). Second, confirmatory factor analyses using AMOS were conducted on the data of the second stratified randomly selected (n = 346) to examine the stability of the exploratory factor structure. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) showed extraction of six factors. Goodness of fit was measured for obtained factors. It showed that model enjoyed appropriate goodness for considered items in questionnaire (see detailed information in section of results).
Dimensions of Transfer of Training
The purpose of this study was to explore fundamental dimensions of Transfer of training among human resources of universities of medical science of Iran. In the first phase, we tried to gain a sufficient qualitative picture of more general dimensions based on the interviews conducted with some participating Experts. Analyzing the interview data revealed the following categories:
- Factors concerning the training and the planning of the training program (Training design);
- Factors concerning the trainee (Individual factors);
- Supportive factors affecting the transfer of training (Supportive factors);
- Management factors affecting the transfer of training (Management factors);
- Cultural factors affecting the transfer of training (Cultural factors); and
- Environmental factors affecting the transfer of training (Environmental factors).
Exploratory Factor Analysis
In the second phase (i.e., quantitative analysis) Exploratory Factor Analysis was conducted on data collected through questionnaire to know if obtained factors -in qualitative process- were confirmed. An exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was performed to explore factor structure based on the initial form of transfer of training with 98 items. Varimax rotation method was utilized as well as principal components factor analysis was approved to scores obtained associated with answers given by 346 employees to determine the scale factor structure. The KMO index was found to be 0.82 which is considered suitable for factor analysis. Another indicator of the strength of the relationship among variables is Bartlett’s test of sphericity and should be significant (p<0.05) for factor analysis to be suitable. In this study, the observed significance level was p<0.0001, thus, the strength of the relationship among variables was strong and null hypothesis was rejected for correlation matrix to be same.
EFA on the Training Transfer extracted 7 factors with eigenvalues exceeding 1.0 and represented the variance explained 64.301% as a results. Scree plot was shown that six factors were in sharp descent and then started to level off. Generally, 6 of 7 factors were indicated just by one item per each factor with loading higher than 0.4. Thus, the factor analysis represented in 6 independent factors with factor loadings more than 0.4.
This model explained 60.878 % out of total variance. Moreover, one item (Q12) had no suitable factor loading and four items (Q28, Q70, and Q87) had cross load over factors, thus they were not considered in further data analysis. Finally, factors were named based on logical and conceptual relationship (content validity) between items, face validity and results of qualitative: “training design” (32.48% out of total model variance), “Management factors” (8.25%), “Environmental factors” (5.32%), “Cultural factors” (4.21%), “Supportive factors” (3.53%), “Individual factors” (3.40%). Table 1 gives the factors, eigenvalues and total variance explained.
|Table 1. Factors structural model and reliability of each factor using IBM SPSS and Amos 23.|
|Eigenvalues||Variance of factors (%)||Cronbach’s alpha|
|Training design factors||32.48||34.56||0.93|
|Transfer of Training||60.87||0.98|
In order to determine the fit between the hypothesized model with 94 items and the data, confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) using AMOS was undertaken for the first time.
Eight indexes of CMIN/DF, P-value, CFI, GFI, AGFI, TLI, NFI and RMSEA were considered to assess this fitness. However, even if RMSEA index denoted acceptable fit value (RMSEA=0.08), other measures in first CFA did not result in satisfactory fit indexes (GFI=0.84, AGFI=0.78, TLI=0.89, NFI = 0.83, CFI=0.88 and P-Value=0.0001<0.05), denoting a questionable fit of the model to the data. These results refer to the need for some modification in specification to discover the best fitting model for the data from variables size The suggestion of regression path (modification indexes) of pairs associated with items by the outputs of CFA, were extensively high. Both nature and the content of items were assessed and observed to overlap to some degree, and then some of the items in each pair were excluded from the second CFA which are: Q4, Q9, Q41, Q42, and Q43.
After excluding the five items, it was the time of rerunning CFA with 89 items to identify the model that indicates the best fit to obtained data from the samples (n = 346). This second CFA represented that six factors emerged and confirmed the structure as a good fit for data with the fit indexes which have shown in Table 2. All path coefficients were significant at p<0.001 indicating a significant contribution of each item to the related factor. Thus, the illustrated six dimensions of Transfer of Training by table 2 were allowed to correlate to each other.
|Table 2. Goodness-of-fit Indices and Factor Loading|
|Fit Indices||Initial Model (n=346)||After “Free Estimate” (n=346)||Criteria*|
|Factor Loading||All items results are higher than 0.4.||Equal or above 0.4|
|Reliability||0.98||Equal or above 0.70|
Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) illustrated that all path coefficients were significant at p<0.0001, expressing a meaningful contribution of each item to the corresponding scale. The six factors model was discovered to show a good fit with acceptable fit indexes involved RMSEA=0.06, NFI=0.96, GFI=0.94, AGFI=0.84, TLI=0.94, CFI =0.97 and P=0.0001 with having conducted two confirmatory factor analyses.
Keeping results of the second CFA, reliability analysis for each factor was performed through SPSS. Sufficient results are revealed by each analysis. In other word, the sufficiency of Cronbach’s Alpha Reliability Coefficient (α) was clarified as well as the overall reliability of variables measured by Cronbach’s Alpha equals 0.98. Additionally, item total correlation score of all items in each reliability analysis yielded satisfactory results which are higher than 0.4.
The covariance and correlations of all 6 factors have a significant P-value smaller than 0.0001. Also it is an exhibition of those factors having factor loading more than 0.4. Above results show high levels of internal consistency (Nejati & Nejati, 2013; Ugulu, 2013) indicating good construct reliability and adequate convergent validity. These results also confirm the reliability and high level of internal consistency of 6 factors with 89 items of transfer of training.
Discussion and Conclusion
The main purpose of this sequential explanatory mixed methods study was to identify, describe and examine factors that affect transfer of training among Human Resources of Universities of Medical Science in Iran. Overall, relying on interviews and results of factor analysis (EFA and CFA) showed that employees determined six fundamental factors that affect transfer of training in Iran’s Universities of Medical Science: Training design factors, Management factors, Environmental factors, Cultural factors, Supportive factors, Individual factors.
The results of this research that indicate the need assessment, goal setting, considering to the time required to do the job, content relevance significantly affects transfer of training within the training design. The results also demonstrate that practice and feedback, active learning, behavioral modeling, error-based examples and self-management strategies variables as training design and delivery factors that were used in the training transfer within the training design. Therefore, these results reinforce the notion that universities should be aware of how well the content of the training programs, in terms of the need assessment, goal setting, active learning and self-management strategies, is focused on the application of training.
Training programs are often an effective way to improve employee performance on the job. The critical elements related to training success are include training design, the quality of instruction, and the content of training. The design of a training improvement programme is the main focus (Saks, Salas, & Lewis, 2014).
Also, the results are consistent with the findings found by Lim and Johnson (2002), who state that training design, content and instructional strategies must be related to the objective of transfer, whether near or far transfer, for training transfer to be realized. Indeed, transfer design develops understanding about the training program and shows a practical way in which training can be best used on the job. Velada et al. (2007), found that transfer design positively relates to transfer of training. They suggested that in order for organizations to ensure that training is effective, it should be designed to match employees’ ability to learn the training material and to utilize the knowledge and skills accrued by employees during training outside of the learning environment.
It was found in this study that management and monitoring mechanisms set in the organization process by the organization play a role in the ability of employees to transfer learning acquired during training programs. Factors like the conducting of gap analysis prior to employee attending training intervention were seen to be overlooked by the management. It was further found that the organization never requires proof of any form of post training certification. When post training monitoring mechanisms are not clearly spelled out to employees they may not feel challenged to implement. Lack of incentive for learning transfer was one of the areas that employees felt that department is not focusing on. It can be inferred that the organisational context plays a pivotal role in the ability of employees to implement what they have learned post-training.
Axtell et al. (2000), found that employees with more supportive managers are more likely to implement what they have learned. There was a fair split on the extent to which broader management affect the ability of employees to implement what they have learned. It is further interesting to note that the respondents felt very strongly that the employees’ ability to transfer learning is largely affected by management who are autocratic and also when there are constant changes of management in the organization. Based on the study, the management factors which influence in training process are accurate evaluation of employee’s performance, reward and feedback.
Reward and incentive systems that support behavior change or are congruent with the trained behaviors are also necessary for continued transfer (Machin, 2002). The respondents indicated that innovation is rewarded only to a small extent; one can infer that employees do not get motivated to implement what they have learned as there are no incentives associated with innovative behavior. Myers (2009), found that feedback and performance coaching positively affected learning transfer. This study established that a relationship does exist between learning transfer and reward and feedback but a causal study need to be conducted to determine causal factors.
The results of this research demonstrate that the opportunity to use and equipment availability significantly affects transfer of training within the work environment. The results also indicate that organization culture, assessed by how applicable the training was to the job, positively influenced transfer of training. These results reinforce the notion that universities should be aware of how well the content of the organization culture, in terms of the use of activities, examples and exercises, is focused on the application of on-the-job learning. Based on this study, the cultural factors which influence in training process are learning culture, organizational learning and cultural appropriateness.
In past research studies (Baldwin & Ford, 1988; Elangovan & Karakowsky, 1999), various work environment factors have been identified which, when applied well, facilitated transfer of learning back on the job. These factors include an opportunity to perform or use training (Ford, Quiñones, Sego, & Sorra, 1992); technological support (Stevens & Stevens, 1996); tools available on the job, availability of a mentor (Richey, 1990). Lance, Kavanagh, and Brink (2002), have shown that environmental factors are important for understanding the transfer of training process.
The first instance of training application at work may affect continued opportunity to transfer. Kupritz (2002), emphasized the importance of contexts, including the physical design or proximity of equipment, management and employees on trainees’ motivation to transfer. Accordingly, the extent to which trainees begin to see opportunities for transfer in various situations may be a function of their being able to observe others who are located physically close to them apply the training at work. These situational variables surrounding transfer will be considered here. Opportunity to use refers to the degree to which employees are assigned tasks that allow them to apply what they learned in training (Holton et al., 2000). Opportunity to use influences training transfer (Devos et al., 2007; Gilpin-Jackson & Bushe, 2007; Holton et al., 2000). According to May and Kahnweiler (2000), when employees do not have opportunities to use learned knowledge and skills, skill decay may occur, making training transfer difficult and unlikely.
Another dimensions of environmental factors is resource and equipment availability. Helfat and Peteraf (2003), refer to resources as assets that an organisation owns or accesses which enable the employee to achieve organisational goals. Resources when well utilized may increase the efficiency and effectiveness of an organisation which is one of the primary objectives of public service institutions. There is a high correlation between training transfer and opportunity to practice. In a study conducted by Scott (2010) it was found that employees are more likely to transfer learning if the opportunity is provided.
The results of this research demonstrate the importance of organization culture and the influence of the work environment on transfer of training. The results also indicate that organization culture, assessed by how applicable the training was to the job, positively influenced transfer of training. These results reinforce the notion that universities should be aware of how well the content of the organization culture, in terms of the use of activities, examples and exercises, is focused on the application of on-the-job learning. Based on this study, the cultural factors which influence in training process are learning culture, organisational learning and cultural appropriateness.
According to Elangovan and Karakowsky (1999), an organizational culture that fosters employee development and intellectual advancement, and encourages employees to be innovative, will positively influence training transfer. Gilpin-Jackson and Bushe (2007) found that organizational culture may facilitate or hinder transfer, depending on whether the culture is supportive of training initiatives and new ways of working. Specifically, they found that participants were less likely to transfer learned knowledge and skills if they believed they would be ridiculed or encounter disapproval for doing so.
Previous researchers have also found that specific types of organizational cultures and subcultures influence training transfer (Egan, 2008). For instance, Tracey, Tannenbaum, and Kavanagh (1995), found that a continuous-learning culture, one in which members share perceptions that learning is important, positively influences training transfer. In addition, Egan (2008) found that specific subcultures influence transfer motivation. According to Hofstede (1998), there may be several subcultures in an organization, in which a subset of employees share a common set of assumptions, attitudes, beliefs, and values that are distinct from those in the organizational culture.
Items related to organization culture such as language, the lack of necessity for financial rewards to enhance performance, and the ability of training to change work reality received a very high degree of response. This study shows that cultural factors play a significant role in the transfer of training process. On the other hand, other items related to the influence of relations with supervisors, colleagues, and other leading people in the training process also plays a significant role in the transfer of training process. Further, organization culture including the influence of gender, direct opposition and colleague encouragement play a moderate role in the transfer of training process. Overall, results of the study indicate that the organization culture factor significantly affects transfer of training within the work environment from the perception of employees.
In this study, respondents highlighted the role that the supervisor can play in terms of either enabling or inhibiting learning transfer. It was further highlighted that lack of knowledge of what subordinates have been exposed to during the training interventions leads to the failure to buy-in to new initiatives by the supervisors. Employees already anticipate that they would not be supported even prior to them returning to their work stations, there is negative expectation on the side of subordinates which may affect the whole implementation process.
Respondents also indicted that “supervisors just do not have interest” on the growth and development of subordinates. There was a sense of frustration that the researcher observed when participants shared this information. Supervisors are said to just allow employees to attend training programmes without understanding the course content and providing the necessary guidance. No effort goes into unpacking specific areas that the subordinate needs development so that proper monitoring can be carried out at a later stage.
Previous studies on transfer of training have identified that supervisors play an important role in transfer process (Martin, 2010). Supervisor support refers to “the extent to which supervisors support and reinforce the use of training on the job” (Holton et al., 2000). Clarke (2002), found that management support is perceived by employees as critical for learning transfer. It can be inferred that lack of management support and constant change in leadership is affecting learning transfer. Consistency in leadership creates a familiar environment which gives employees confidence and provides assurance when trying new behaviour. Kirwan (2009), identifies the role of supervisors as coach, mentor, advocate for organisation and advocate for employee. He further identified the responsibilities of a supervisor such as staffing, employee training and development and employee performance management (goals, delegating, feedback, and performance review among others). Some studies suggest that supervisor support influences training transfer directly (Austin, Weisner, Schrandt, Glezos-Bell, & Murtaza, 2006; Gilpin-Jackson & Bushe, 2007). Austin et al. (2006), found that employees were more likely to transfer when they had supervisors who supported training initiatives and helped them identify barriers to transfer. This suggests that supervisors influence how trainees feel about transferring learned knowledge and skills as well as the amount of effort they plan to put forth to do so.
In summary the relationship between supervisor and subordinates plays a pivotal role in unlocking potential for learning transfer. A positive relationship can lead to positive transfer whereas a negative relationship can lead to inaction on the part of the subordinate. Programmes for supervisors should be seriously considered if learning transfer is to be effective. Attributes of successful supervisors should be explored so that lessons thereof can be shard for enhancement of transfer of learning. In another words, the organizational factor that can strongly interfere with transfer is the organizational support for transfer. It is a broad factor that includes the various strategies that a company or institution displays with regards to facilitating transfer, and which are determined according to the consideration given by the organization to transfer. This factor has been explored and subdivided into various factors.
The trainee’s reaction after training is one of the reasons of the effectiveness of the transfer of training. Trainees who are more positive and responded well to trainings tend to be more willing to apply what they have learned (Lim & Nowell, 2014).
Based on this study, the trainee characteristics which influence in transferring process are self-efficacy, motivation to learn and to transfer and cognitive ability. Also, Job involvement, organizational commitment, and job satisfaction are trainee’s characteristics stated by the examinees. These findings are consistent with those of other researchers (Colquitt et al., 2000; Velada & Caetano, 2007), which found significant positive relationships between the dimensions of trainee characteristics and job transfer of training.
The literature on training transfer has identified several trainee characteristics that affect the transfer of training process. Some of these characteristics include cognitive ability, conscientiousness, motivation to learn and to transfer, anxiety and self-efficacy (Colquitt et al., 2000), job involvement, organizational commitment, organizational cynicism and job satisfaction (Velada & Caetano, 2007).
Of these characteristics, trainees with higher self- efficacy are more likely to transfer the training to the job performance. Holton et al. (2000), defined performance self-efficacy as when an individual’s general belief and desired, they are able to change their performance. Hence, they will be more likely to transfer such knowledge and/ or skills to the job when a trainee feels confident in his or her ability to perform (Velada & Caetano, 2007). Trainees must have the ability to retain the knowledge instilled during the training program to facilitate the transfer process.
Throughout this article implies that training is necessary to increase the productivity of universities in Iran while the quality of education remains so poor. In other words, the results showed that effective training can compensate for poor quality in education in terms of improving employee performance. However, this can be short-lived. In the short term, training plays a crucial role in increasing employees’ capabilities, thus increasing the productivity of firms, while in the long term, formal education has to be enhanced. We personally think that it is not only these six factors (Training design factors, Management factors, Environmental factors, Cultural factors, Supportive factors, Individual factors) that contribute to the effectiveness of training. They only assist in paving the road for future research to determine more dimensions that will also contribute to the effectiveness of training.
Recommendations for Future Research
- The results of this study point to six factor. Further research may explore more factors affecting the transfer of training to workplace.
- The findings of this study should be investigated further with a different population.
- A longitudinal study of training effectiveness should be conducted to determine whether the trainees maintained the learned behavior over time.
- Future studies may want to consider collecting data on such variables as age and gender.
- This study could be redesigned to include a control group and an experimental group.
Recommendations for Practitioners
Based on the results of this research, the recommendations provided below might be considered by any training or management professional who wants to improve the success of training programs.
- It is recommended that for trainees to maintain the use of newly learned skills and transfer them to the workplace, a monitoring system needs to be developed where an experienced supervisor coaches, supports, and encourages the new trainees to implement their knowledge and skills.
- The training program should be based on a needs assessment. Upon analysis of the need assessment data, appropriate instructional strategies need to be selected prior to delivering the training program. It also should be pilot tested and modified as appropriate and continually evaluated periodically and updated accordingly.
- Transfer climate is the critical component of the work environment. It is recommended that transfer climate must be considered. Because, a positive transfer climate is critical for the application and maintenance of new skills on the job. Organizations that do not take transfer climate into account could seriously hamper their training efforts.
- Both supervisor and peer support significantly influence the propensity for trainees to utilize trained competencies in the workplace. Supervisors can provide support in various ways and at multiple stages in the training process.
- It is recommended that create a learning culture. Creating a learning culture helps to ensure transfer of training. An aid to assist with the development of a learning culture is to have and communicate expectations for the trainee, manager, and peers for behaviors they are expected to exhibit before, during, and after the training can help.
- It is proposed that there should be a follow-up of training periodically.
The research findings of this study add to the existing body of literature on transfer of training. Nevertheless, systematic identification of factors influencing transfer of training, as well as testing how these factors inter-relate, need to continue. More research is needed to provide evidence to training and development professionals as to why transfer does not take place regardless of the amount of money that is spent on training. Researchers also must develop techniques that may be applied before, during, and after training to enhance and improve the transfer of training. These types of changes will facilitate the successful transfer of training and, ultimately, help to improve organizational effectiveness.
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