Title: Action learning for middle manager development: the case of an Australian state-based large organisation

Authors: Silvia A. Nelson; Roland K. Yeo

Addresses: Business School, Southern Cross University, Locked Mailbag 4, Queensland 4225, Australia. ' Professional Development Department, Saudi Aramco, P.O. Box 12979, Dhahran 31311, Saudi Arabia; International Graduate School of Business, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia

Abstract: This paper describes an action learning approach designed to assist a group of middle managers in an Australian public sector environment by enhancing their performance in the area of managing staff. The programme is described as an embedded action learning approach, where, in addition to a specific action learning project, the programme provided action learning skills development, mentoring support and ongoing evaluation of participants learning. The action learning process serves as a model for a management development programme, based around the action learning model of 'plan, act, reflect and re-act'. Learning primarily occurred through engagement in the form of action-by-doing as well as self and collaborative reflection. The learnings captured were largely spontaneous in nature occurring through role play and feedback loops. Learnings about the organisational context and requirements are discussed, with particular reference to the management development, HRM and the HRD relationship to an action learning methodology.

Keywords: management development; middle managers; Australia; large organisations; public sector; performance enhancement; staff management; embedded learning; learning skills; mentoring support; ongoing evaluation; participants learning; planning; reflecting; reacting; reaction; engagement; action-by-doing; self reflection; collaborative reflection; spontaneous learnings; role play; feedback loops; organisational contexts; organisational requirements; human resource development; HRD; human resource management; HRM; action learning; organisational practice.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHRDM.2012.049784

International Journal of Human Resources Development and Management, 2012 Vol.12 No.4, pp.292 - 307

Available online: 15 Oct 2012 *

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