Humphris, Debra, Connell, Con and Meyer, Edgar
Leadership evaluation: an impact evaluation of a leadership programme. Southampton, GB, University of Southampton, 85pp.
The HCIU and the School of Management undertook an empirical investigation into the impact of Leadership Development for NHS middle-management staff. The cohort was a cross-disciplinary mix of clinical and management personnel from 17 NHS organisations in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
The research focused on evaluating the impact of the development intervention on the individuals and their organisations. The aims were to identify if such an intervention changes the thinking and behaviour of staff and their organisations, without losing sight of evaluating the costs and benefits of a development programme. The framework used for the evaluation was Phillips and Phillips’ modified version of Kirkpatrick’s framework for training evaluation.
The results show that the intervention had a substantial impact on the individuals taking part. The participants reported improved self-confidence, more reflective and broader thinking, a heightened sense for other people’s behaviours and actions, and some participants also reported the acquisition of useful management tools to initiate and deal with change and its inherent challenges. However, the research also showed that training and development within the NHS tends to happen haphazardly rather than as an organisation-wide coordinated action. Nearly all research participants (including line-managers of the course participants) confirmed that there are rarely any mechanisms in place to support the application or integration of newly acquired knowledge and skills once back within the working environment. This was amplified by the disintegrated approach of selection and needs analysis on an organisational level before sending individuals on the programme. As the evaluated programme was part of a WDC sponsored pilot project, the cost-benefit analysis did not deliver any significant results. However, it was clear that the lack of appropriate needs analysis contributed to the lack of potential measure to assess the usefulness and benefits of such an intervention.
Based on these findings the research report produced a number of recommendations for the strategic, operational, and individual levels within an organisation.
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