Behavior modeling involves (1) showing trainees the right (or model) way of doing something, (2) letting trainees practice that way, and then (3) giving feedback on the trainees’ performances. The basic behavior modeling procedure is as follows:
1. Modeling: First, trainees watch films or videos that show models behaving effectively in a problem situation. The video might show a supervisor effectively disciplining subordinates, if teaching how to discipline is the aim of the training program.
2. Role playing: Next, the trainees are given roles to play in a simulated situation; here they practice and rehearse the effective behaviors a demonstrated by the models.
3. Social enforcement: The trainer provides reinforcement in the form of praise and constructive feedback based on how the trainee performs in the role-playing situation.
4. Transfer of training: Finally, trainees are encouraged to apply their skills when they are back on their jobs.
Behavioral modeling can be effective. Participants in one study were 160 members of a navy construction battalion based in Gulfport, Mississippi, being trained to use new computer work stations. Three training techniques were used: conventional instruction (primarily, a lecture and slide show), computer assisted (students received a manual at the beginning of the session, as well as the diskette based program needed to work through exercises at their new work stations), and behavior modeling. Measures of learning and skill development were highest for behavior modeling followed by computer assisted training, and then conventional instructions.
Corporate Universities and In House Development Centers:
Many firms, particularly larger ones, establish in-house development centers. In-house development centers needn’t produce all (or most) of their own training and development programs, although some do. In fact, employers are increasingly collaborating with academic institutions, training and development program providers and Web based educational portals to create packages of programs and materials appropriate to their employees’ needs.
For many firms, learning portals are becoming their corporate universities. While firms such as GE have long had their own bricks-and-mortar corporate universities, leaning portals let even smaller firms have corporate universities. Bain & Company, a management consulting firm, has such a Web Based virtual university for its employees. It provides a means not only for conveniently coordinating all the company’s training efforts, but also for delivering Web based modules that cover topics from strategic management to mentoring.
Many firms use executive coaches to develop their top managers’ effectiveness. An executive coach is an outside consultant who questions the executive’s boss, peers, subordinates, and (sometimes) family in order to identify the executive’s strengths and weaknesses, and to counsel the executive so that he or she can capitalize on those strengths and overcome the weaknesses. About two thirds of executive coaches are reportedly female, and coaches come from a variety of backgrounds including teaching, counseling, and the mental health professions. The executive coaches trade group the international Coach Federation reportedly saw its membership rise from about 1,500 in 1999 to almost 7,000 in 2003.
Executive coaching can be quite effective. Participants in one study included about 1,400 senior managers who had received ‘360 degree’ performance feedback from bosses, peers, and subordinates. About 400 worked with an executive coach to review the feedback. Then, about a year later, these 400 managers and about 400 who did not receive coaching again received multi-source feedback. It was apparent from this new feedback that managers who received executive coaching were more likely to set more effective specific goals for their subordinates and to have received improved ratings from subordinates and supervisors.
For the individual manger or small business owner, training and development often requires a somewhat different perspective.