Impact of skills development training on employee motivation, perceptions of organizational climate and individual performance.
There is a huge skills shortage in South Africa which impacts negatively on its worldwide competitiveness. Since the advent of democracy, the South African government has been faced with the challenge of addressing one of the major legacies of apartheid; namely, the dire skills shortage affecting the majority of the citizens of this country. This legacy of apartheid has a direct correlation with the economic performance of the country. Various intervention strategies to remedy this socioeconomic situation were explored, resulting in the birth of various Skills Development Acts, which will have far-reaching consequences for all sectors of the South African economy. Skills transfer is at the centre of all these Acts. The impact of training on the ‘bottom-line’ has always been the concern for most business organisations, not only in South Africa, but the world over. However, the focus for most of these business organisations, in terms of strategic human resource development, has arguably, focused mainly on middle management and top management. The most fundamental and underlying hypothesis of this study therefore, is to highlight the difference in production brought by lower-level management of these business organisations as a consequence of training opportunities offered to them. The actual implementation of production targets occurs at this level of management. Thus, it is the researcher’s contention that focuses and endeavours to improve productivity through strategic human resource development, need to consider lower-level employees as a critical part of this strategic mission. The empirical objectives of this thesis were firstly, to validate the four questionnaires used in this study namely, the Motivation/Job Satisfaction Questionnaire (JDI); the Organisational Climate Questionnaire (LSOCQ); the Effectiveness of Training Questionnaire and the Self-rated Performance Questionnaire for employees in selected organisations in South Africa. Secondly, it was to determine the reliability of the above mentioned constructs. Thirdly, the aim was to determine differences between employee motivation and job satisfaction and organisational climate levels of various demographic groups. Fourthly, it was to assess the relationship between the three variables namely, motivation and job satisfaction, organisational climate and effectiveness of training; and lastly, to determine whether effectiveness of training can predict employee motivation and job satisfaction and perception of organisational climate. A pre-post longitudinal study, following a form of quasi-experimental research comparable pre-test post-test one group design (Cooper & Schindler, 2000:405; Shaughnessy & Zechmeister, 1997), with a random sample of (N = 604 pre-; and N = 526 post-) of lower level employees in five selected companies across sectors in South Africa was used. All the questionnaires, that is those previously validated namely, the Job Description Index Questionnaire (JDI); Litwin and Stringer’s (1968) Organisational Climate Questionnaire (LSOCQ); Self-rated Performance (SELFPERF); and the one constructed and validated namely, the Effectiveness of Training Questionnaire (EFFTRA) were based on Kirkpatrick’s (1976) framework for the evaluation of a training programme and a demographic questionnaire which were administered. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the measuring instruments in terms of frequency distribution tables and summary statistics namely the mean and standard deviation. Cronbach’s alpha coefficients were used to describe the reliability of the measuring instruments. Exploratory factor analysis with a Varimax rotation was used to determine the validity of the constructs of motivation/job satisfaction, organisational climate and effectiveness of training and Cronbach coefficient alpha was used to establish the reliability of the same constructs. Hypothesis testing was conducted to look for significant differences between constructs across both pre and post sample groups. Pearson correlation coefficients were used to determine the relationship between the measuring instruments. Regression analyses were used to develop possible significant models in line with the objectives of the study. The results revealed that all constructs used were both valid and reliable, supported by both the literature research and the empirical findings of this study. For example this study provided a significant contribution in that it developed a valid and reliable measuring instrument in the form of the effectiveness of a training questionnaire. In addition, significant differences within constructs (namely, motivation/job satisfaction and organisational climate) across both pre and post groups were identified specifically in regard to certain demographics namely different organisations, gender, age, home language and race. Also significant differences were found between the levels of both motivation/job satisfaction and organisational climate constructs of employees in terms of skilled/semi-skilled groups and qualification levels in particular. It is also worth noting that, one of the study’s most significant findings revealed that those employees that received more training are more motivated and have an increased perception about their organisational climate than those who received less or no training at all. Therefore, the two core variables of this research (namely, motivation/job satisfaction and organisational climate) are both influenced by skilled/semi-skilled groups as well as the amount of training received. Finally, the results also revealed significant relationships between the constructs of motivation/job satisfaction, organisational climate and effectiveness of training. A few interesting regression models were also developed. The first and second models respectively showed that effectiveness of training was strongly influenced by motivation/job satisfaction and in the case of the second model by organizational climate. A third model also revealed that motivation/job satisfaction could be well modelled by the independent variables of self performance, organizational climate and effectiveness of training and a forth showed that organizational climate could be well modelled from the independent variables of self performance, motivation/job satisfaction and effectiveness of training. In conclusion, the significance and limitations of the research are discussed, followed by recommendations for organisations and for future research.