Skills development in the agricultural sector : a multiple case study approach

Jansen van Rensburg, Jandre (2014-04)

Thesis (MComm (Psych))--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Skills development is a crucial element in improving the effectiveness with which organisations operate in the current global arena. The level of skills of employees in any organisation should be of significant managerial concern. The principal aims of this study is firstly to investigate the success achieved in skills development initiatives in the agricultural sector in South Africa and secondly to develop a theoretical framework of important individual and organisational variables for skills development in agriculture. Management on farms need to develop the skills of their employees in order to ensure effective adaptation to changes in the sector. A strong need for development also exists among South Africans working in the agricultural environment, as the sector is rapidly modernising and the people employed in this sector often possess low skill and literacy levels. The key question is whether the skills development strategies and initiatives of farms are conducive to successful human resource development, in light of the specific individual and organisational context. A multiple case study research design was used, exploring the various ways in which six different farms approach skills development and the variables which impacted on the success thereof. These approaches and effects are compared to the literature and across cases to move towards the development of a skills development framework applicable to the unique agricultural context in South Africa. Data collection included primary (semi-structured interviews with employees and management) and secondary (background and administrative) information to comprehensively describe each case. Pattern matching was used to determine common trends between the cases and illustrate them in terms of a conceptual framework. General support was found across the six cases for the complex and extensive framework of variables. The following individual variables were found to have an impact on the effectiveness of skills development: ability to learn, motivation to engage in and transfer training, attitude to skills development, locus of control, and perceived ability to learn. Organisational variables which affected the effectiveness of skills development included the following: labour relations, organisational strategy, culture, climate, and systems. Many of these variables comprised a number of sub-variables, which were also shown to be relevant in the framework. Variables in the individual and organisational frameworks were also found to demonstrate interactive effects within and across framework boundaries. The results of the study serve as thought provoking reading for managers, which could stimulate critical thought and an inquisitive attitude to skills development on their farms. In general, training and development was approached in a very informal manner in terms of strategy, goals, and practice. Managers can surely benefit from adopting greater formalisation in these aspects as it would ease the process of planning, implementing, and evaluating training. In certain instances additional variables or interrelationships were identified for future study. The establishment of the framework of variables serves to inform future research: it represents a point of departure for research in a critical field where little recent research has been published.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die ontwikkeling van vaardighede is 'n kernbelangrike aspek om die doeltreffendheid waarmee organisasies in die huidige internasionale speelveld optree te verbeter. Die vaardigheidsvlakke van werknemers in enige organisasie behoort van kernbelang te wees vir bestuurders van sulke organisasies. Die hoofdoel van hierdie studie is dus eerstens om die mate van sukses met vaardigheidsontwikkelingsinisiatiewe in die landbousektor te ondersoek en tweedens om 'n teoretiese raamwerk van die belangrikste individuele en organisatoriese veranderlikes vir vaardigheidsontwikkeling in landbou te ontwikkel. Die vaardigheidsvlakke van werknemers in die landbousektor moet deur die werkgewer ontwikkel word om te verseker dat effektiewe veranderinge in hierdie sektor plaasvind. Daar is 'n besonder sterk behoefte aan vaardigheidsontwikkeling onder werknemers in die landbousektor van Suid-Afrika , aangesien die sektor 'n snelle moderniseringsproses ondergaan, maar die werknemers in baie gevalle oor besonder lae vaardigheids- en ontwikkelingsvlakke beskik. Die vraag bestaan of die strategieë en inisiatiewe wat deur die werkgewer geïmplementeer word wel aanleiding gee tot suksesvolle menslike hulpbronontwikkeling, gegewe die spesifieke individuele en organisatoriese konteks. Deur gebruik te maak van veelvoudige gevallestudies as navorsingsmetode, is daar gekyk na ses verskillende plase se benadering tot opleiding, asook die impak en sukses van hierdie opleiding. Hierdie benaderings en invloede word vergelyk met die literatuur en tussen gevallestudies met die oog op die ontwikkeling van 'n vaardigheidsontwikkelingsraamwerk spesifiek binne die unieke konteks van die Suid-Afrikaanse landbousektor. Data-insameling behels primêre inligting (semi-gestruktureerde onderhoude met werknemers en bestuur), en sekondêre inligting (agtergrond- en administratiewe) om elke geval omvattend te beskryf. Patroonpassing is gebruik om algemene tendense tussen die gevallestudies te identifiseer en vervolgens die gevallestudies met die konseptuele raamwerk te vergelyk. Die ses gevallestudies het die komplekse en omvattende raamwerk van veranderlikes in die geheel ondersteun. Resultate toon aan dat die volgende individuele veranderlikes 'n klaarblyklike impak gehad het op die doeltreffendheid van opleiding en ontwikkeling: die vermoë en motivering om te leer en vaardighede oor te dra; die houding teenoor opleiding ontwikkeling; die lokus van beheer; en die waargenome vermoë om te leer. Die doeltreffendheid van opleiding en ontwikkeling is ook deur die volgende organisatoriese veranderlikes beïnvloed: arbeidsverhoudinge, organisatoriese strategie, kultuur, omgewing en stelsels. Die sub-veranderlikes van die individuele en organisatoriese veranderlikes is ook as relevant binne die raamwerk aangedui. Verder is die voorgestelde verwantskappe tussen veranderlikes (binne sowel as oor die grense van die individuele en organisatoriese raamwerke) ook ondersteun. Die resultate van hierdie studie dien as insette vir bestuurders om kritiese denke en 'n ondersoekende ingesteldheid teenoor opleiding en ontwikkeling op hul plase te stimuleer. Opleiding en ontwikkeling is oor die algemeen op 'n baie informele wyse geïmplementeer ten opsigte van strategie, doelwitbepaling en uitvoering in die praktyk. Bestuurders kan baat vind by die formalisering van bestaande praktyke omdat dit die proses van beplanning, implementering en evaluering van opleiding en ontwikkeling kan vergemaklik. Addisionele veranderlikes en interverwantskappe is geïdentifiseer vir verdere navorsing. Die samestelling van die raamwerk van veranderlikes dien juis as uitgangspunt vir toekomstige navorsing in 'n kerngebied wat min aandag in navorsing geniet.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/86157
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