The evaluation of the outcome of a thinking skills programme for middle management in a financial services industry organisation

Hermanson, Christina Magdalena (2004-04)

Thesis (PhD)--University of Stellenbosch, 2004.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The globalisation of business is probably the most important topic of discussion in business around the world. Globalisation impacts on business processes, and changes in the processes of economic and political liberalisation signify a radical shift in thinking about how the world works and how it should be organised. The process of change consequently means having to deal with increasing complexity. It is the complexity of change that prompts the urgency to improve the thinking of management in an organisation. As adult learners, managers need different competencies to operate; in addition their thinking skills need to be developed, as they are the key drivers in an organisation going through transformation. In a needs' assessment in a financial services organisation operating in the global environment, a need for training of middle managers to help them improve their thinking skills in order to become more effective thinkers was determined. The need to train adults to develop cognitive skills prompted a specific thinking skills intervention and the facilitation thereof. A Thinking Skills Programme aimed at teaching thinking dispositions and thinking skills was implemented as a programme to teach the managers to become effective thinkers. The study was approached from a programme evaluative perspective. The purpose of the programme was an improvement-orientated evaluation and was designed to evaluate the outcomes of the programme. Qualitative data was collected through a pre- assessment and postassessment process. Open-ended questionnaires as well as other qualitative methods were used in the assessment to capture the data. The data analysis was done through content analysis. In the process of determining the patterns and processes in the preassessment, observations, semi-structured interviews, field notes and post-assessment, the researcher looked for themes or interconnections that emerged in the units, sub-categories and categories. The sub-categories that emerged were derived from the frequency of appearance in the answers of the participants in the questionnaires. The post-assessment feedback categories indicated that a shift in effective thinking had taken place in the participants. The most significant difference in their thinking was the awareness of their thinking. They reflected on their thinking while solving problems, which is evidence of effective thinking. They used the thinking tools to help them solve problems. The intervention influenced the participants to be more creative in solving problems, which was not evident in the pre-assessment. The evaluation of the outcome of the programme through the application of a Thinking Skills Programme was successful. This was demonstrated by the fact that in the measurement of the outcome of the programme it was evident that the middle managers had become more aware of their thinking and that they applied the thinking dispositions and thinking tools in their daily managerial activities. They had become more effective thinkers.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die globalisering van die sakewêreld is waarskynlik die belangrikste besprekingspunt in dié sektor regoor die wêreld. Globalisering het 'n impak op sakeprosesse, en veranderings in die prosesse van ekonomiese en politieke liberalisering dui op 'n radikale verandering in denke oor hoe die wêreld werk en hoe dit georganiseer behoort te word. Die proses van verandering dui gevolglik daarop dat daar rekening gehou moet word met toenemende kompleksiteit. Dit is die kompleksiteit van verandering wat aanleiding gee tot die belangrikheid daarvan om die denkvaardighede van die bestuur in 'n organisasie te verbeter. As volwasse leerders benodig bestuurders verskillende vaardighede om hulle taak te verrig, en hulle denkvaardighede moet ontwikkel word aangesien hulle die dryfkrag is van 'n organisasie wat transformasie ondergaan. In 'n behoeftebepaling in 'n finansiële dienste organisasie wat op die wêreldmark meeding, is die behoefte geïdentifiseer aan opleiding vir middelvlak bestuurders om hulle denkvaardighede te help verbeter, ten einde van hulle meer effektiewe denkers te maak. Die behoefte om volwassenes op te lei in die ontwikkeling van kognitiewe vaardighede het aanleiding gegee tot In spesifieke denkvaardigheidsintervensie en die fasilitering daarvan. 'n Denkvaardigheidsprogram gemik op die onderrig van denkdisposisies en -vaardighede is as 'n program ingestelom bestuurders op te lei om effektiewe denkers te word. Die studie is benader vanuit 'n programevaluasie-perspektief. Die doel van die program was 'n verbeteringsgeoriënteerde evaluasie en dit is ontwerp om die uitkomstes van die program te evalueer. Kwalitatiewe data is versamel deur middel van 'n pre- en postassesseringsproses. Oopeindevraelyste asook ander kwalitatiewe metodes is in die assessering gebruik om data te versamel. Die data-analise is gedoen deur inhoudsanalise. Vir die bepaling van die patrone en prosesse in die pre-assessering, is observasies, semigestruktureerde onderhoude en veldaantekeninge gebruik. Vir die postassessering het die navorser gesoek na temas of interkonneksies wat na vore gekom het in die eenhede, subkategorieë en kategorieë. Die subkategorieë wat na vore gekom het, is geïdentifiseer op grond van die frekwensie van voorkoms in die antwoorde van die deelnemers wat die vraelyste voltooi het. Die terugvoeringskategorieë in die postassessering het aangetoon dat 'n verandering in effektiewe denke by die deelnemers plaasgevind het. Die mees beduidende verandering in hulle denke was die bewustheid van hulle denke. Deelnemers het gereflekteer op hulle denke tydens probleemoplossing, wat as bewys dien van effektiewe denke. Hulle het die denkinstrumente gebruik om hulle te help om probleme op te los. Die intervensie het tot gevolg gehad dat die deelnemers meer kreatief tydens probleemoplossing was, wat nie tydens die pre-assessering geblyk het nie. Die evaluering van die uitkoms van die program deur die toepassing van 'n Denkvaardigheidsprogram was suksesvol. Dit is gedemonstreer deur die feit dat in die meting van die uitkoms van die program dit duidelik geblyk het dat die middelvlak bestuurders meer bewus geraak het van hulle denke en dat hulle die denkdisposisies en denkinstrumente in hulle daaglikse bestuursaktiwiteite toegepas het. Hulle het meer effektiewe denkers geword.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/50150
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