Examining the Training Transfer Practice of a Financial Institution: An Action Research Study
Many organizations rely on training to improve the skills and knowledge of its human resources. The underlying assumption is that employees will use what they learned when they return to the workplace. Although there is evidence that learning occurred it does not always result in transfer (Mosel, 1957). Transfer is an issue of concern for training practitioners. If despite the significant investment no return is realized, then the training is not effective and the investment is wasted. This action research study was conducted in a financial institution in the Southwestern United States. The purpose of this study was to (1) examine current sales training transfer practices in the financial institution, (2) to create a transfer model using the Baldwin and Ford (1988) model of transfer and the Schlenker, Britt, Pennington, Murphy, and Doherty (1994) accountability model, and (3) to investigate ways the transfer and accountability models provide sufficient transfer strategies. Various stakeholders in the organization participated in the study including managers, bankers and members of the Learning and Development team. Data was collected using the Learning Transfer System Inventory (LTSI) (Bates & Holton, 2012), various documents including internal memoranda and training materials, focus group discussions, and interviews. LTSI survey descriptive statistics were provided by the authors. Thematic analysis, componential analysis and the Complementary Analysis Research Matrix Application (CARMA) (Putney, Wink & Perkins, 2006) were used to analyze documents and discussion and interview transcripts. The data showed several transfer strategies were used but were not consistent. A model was created using the Baldwin and Ford (1988) model of transfer and Schlenker, et al., (1994) accountability model.