On the Job Experience to gain Job Knowledge

In addition to decision making skills and inter-personal skills, managers should also possess job knowledge to perform their jobs effectively. Trainers acquire job knowledge through on the job experience coaching and understudy.

On the job experience:

On the job techniques are most widely used. No other technique may interest the trainees so much as the location of the learner is not an artificial one in the classroom techniques. The success of these techniques depends on the immediate supervisor and his teaching abilities. On the job techniques are especially useful for certain groups like scientific and technical personnel.

Though the costs of training initially appear to be low, they may turn out to be high when wastages of all kinds are considered under this type of training.

Behavior modeling:

This is an approach that demonstrates desired behavior, gives trainees the chance to practice and role play those behaviors and receive feedback. The basic behavior modeling involves the following steps:

1) Learning points: At the beginning the essential goals and objectives of the program are stated. In some cases the learning points are sequence of behaviors that are to be taught.
2) Modeling: trainees watch films or videotapes in which a model manager is portrayed dealing with an employee in an effort to improve his performance. The model shows specifically how to deal with the situation and demonstrates the learning points.
3) Role playing: trainees participate in extensive rehearsal of the behaviors shown by the models.
4) Social reinforcement: The trainer offers reinforcement in the form of praise and constructive feedback based on how the trainees perform in the role playing situations.
5) Transfer of learning: Finally trainees are encouraged to apply their new skills when they return to their jobs.

Behavior modeling can be effective. Several controlled studies have demonstrated success in helping managers interact with employees, handle discipline, introduce change and increases productivity. This method of learning in isolation may prove to be inadequate but in combination with other off the job techniques may prove to be useful.


In coaching the trainee is placed under a particular supervisor who acts as an instructor and teaches job knowledge and skills to the trainee. He tells him what he wants him to do, how it can be done and follows up while it is being done and corrects errors. The act of coaching can be done in several ways. The executive apart from asking trainees to do the routine work may ask them to tackle some complex problems by giving them a chance to participate in decision making. For effective coaching, a healthy and open relationship must exist between employees and their supervisors. Many firms conduct formal courses to improve the coaching skills of their managers.

In coaching, participants can learn by actually doing a piece of work and obtain feedback on performance quickly. However there is no guarantee that supervisors will be able to coach in an effective way. It is easy for the coach to fall short in guiding the learner systematically even if he knows which systematic experiences are best. Sometimes doing the job on hand may score over learning and watching. Many skills that have an Intellectual component are best learned from a book or lecture before coaching could take place. Further in many cases the learner cannot develop much beyond the limits of his own boss’s abilities. Coaching would work well if the coach provides a good model with whom the trainee can identify, if both can be open with each other, if the coach accepts his responsibility fully, and if he provides the trainees with recognition of his improvements and appropriate rewards.

Source: HRM