Organizational Models in Training
Corporations and other enterprises that operate training departments have essentially three
basic organizational models to select from. Their training function can be centralized within
a single entity, decentralized with multiple training groups to serve specific lines of business
or geographic regions, or organized as a hybrid of the two, known as a federated model.
Here is a closer look at the three organizational models, along with an explanation of
current trends that impact decisions by training departments.
A Centralized Training Organization is one in which all resources and processes are
managed within a single entity, reporting to one senior executive or leadership team. The
principal advantage of this model is the consistency it provides in the management of
training processes across the enterprise. It is typically employed within small organizations
that lack distributed facilities that span geographic locations.
A Decentralized Training Organization is one in which the training function is operated
independently by certain entities throughout an enterprise. The model is often preferred to
a centralized scheme by larger organizations with resources that are distributed across
multiple lines of business or geographic areas. Many such organizations operate separate
training departments for IT, manufacturing, sales, HR and other business groups and
corporate divisions. Each decentralized training department has its own executive or
leadership team that develops customized content for its specific audiences.
A Federated Model centralizes certain processes of the training function within the
enterprise and decentralizes others. Companies most commonly employ the federated
model by centralizing processes associated with training administration while decentralizing
processes for content development and delivery. Doing so combines the principal
advantages offered by the other two models, a principal reason the federated model has
become popular among large companies.
Many training industry consultants recommend that organizations with distributed
workforces maximize their efficiencies by employing the federated model. They advise that
the model represents the new world order in training organization – centralized for back
office and other administrative processes yet decentralized by lines of business and/or
geography for content development and delivery.
The trend is bolstered by advanced learning and internet-based technologies that enable
organizations to operate popular corporate-wide learning intranet portals that serve both
employees and customers. The centralized platforms allow organizations to distribute
learning content to a vast audience in a consolidated way. Specific departments remain free
to develop their own proprietary content for delivery to specific audiences via the site or
other modalities.
By centralizing the training administration functions, including a learning content
management system (LCMS), organizations can manage formal, informal and social content
via the centralized site. They can also reduce redundancies throughout the enterprise, such
as duplicate LCMS systems, and align learning strategies.