The development of an instructional design model as a strategic enabler for sustainable competitive advantage
Le Roux, Leonie
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Organisations increasingly operate in an environment of continuous change and turbulence which places new demands on the choice of business and supportive strategies relevant not only to the sustainable competitive advantage (SCA) of the particular organisation, but also countries and the global nature in which they operate. A business-level strategy is to a large extent vested in intangible resources, specifically human resources strategy and capital, including the capabilities embodied in a productive and skilled workforce. In Africa, and South Africa in particular, there is a shortage of a workforce of such a nature. This is amongst others the result of past inequalities but also of shortcomings in current training practices in both the private and public sectors. One way to improve workforce output is though appropriate training aimed at increasing job-specific knowledge and the concomitant skills and productive behaviour. Changes and turbulence in the environment, therefore also create different challenges to training strategies and practices, with a shift from all-at-once to ongoing training with verifiable learning. In this regard instructional design (ID) models are deemed intrinsic to training strategy. In this dissertation an ID model within a particular contextualised situation is offered that broadens, deepens and extends existing ID models by positioning it within business-level strategy and by utilising a multidisciplinary approach pertinent to the new demands on training. To serve as a test-bed for the ID model it is implemented in a case organisation. The aim of the research is to evaluate the impact, based upon action standards, of the ID model on job-specific knowledge and productive behaviour and to provide an explanation of the internal construct relationships of the ID model. The purpose of the research is exploratory and interpretive, culminating in the single-case study tactic, wherein both quantitative and qualitative methods are applied. The case organisation is considered to be representative of a certain type of organisation with comparable characteristics. Where the existing literature supports the results (as in this instance), inductive generalisation facilitates the transferability and exportability of the ID model to other organisations. Results reveal a positive reaction to the ID model and a measurable increase in job-specific knowledge and concomitant productive behaviour. It is considered to be preferable over more traditional training practices. The relationships between the internal constructs of the ID model and improved job-specific knowledge and productive behaviour are seen to be facilitated by the combination and interplay of the components of the ID model. The contribution of this research is in providing and evaluating an ID model aimed at addressing the previous shortcomings in training and ID models and the application thereof in practice. Thus, the significance of the study lies in its extension of existing literature on ID models and specifically their contribution to sustainable competitive advantage, i.e. an academic theoretical contribution that extends the current body of knowledge. Particularly in its South African and African context, given the background of shortages in skills and productive behaviour and the need for fast-tracking the development of a competent workforce, the study is significant in that it provides guidelines for the practical development and implementation of a new ID model. The study makes recommendations to enhance both the formulation of the theoretical ID model as well as its practical implementation. It furthermore recommends extended research to explore the possibility of exporting the ID model to a broader range of private sector organisations as well as its possible transferability to public sector organisations.