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HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT CLIMATE IN MANUFACTURING SECTOR

M. Srimannarayana The present study aims to explore extent of Human Resource Development (HRD) climate prevalent in manufacturing organizations in India. Based on the information collected from 726 employees working in 18 organizations in manufacturing sector in India, this study has found that the overall HRD climate prevailing in this sector is of moderate level only. Keywords: HRD climate studies, general HRD climate, OCTAPAC culture, HRD mechanisms, manufacturing sector. INTRODUCTION An organization’s success is determined as much by the skill and motivation of its members as by almost any other factor. While this has always been true, the pace and volume of modern change is focusing attention on ways human resources development (HRD) activities can be used to ensure organizational members have what it takes to successfully meet their challenges (Desimone, Werner and Harris, 2002). An optimal level of development climate is essential for facilitating HRD activities (Rao and Abraham, 1986). This can be characterized by the tendencies such as treating employees as the most important resources, perceiving that developing employees is the job of every manager, believing in the capability of employees, communicating openly, encouraging risk taking and experimentation, making efforts to help employees recognize their strengths and weaknesses, creating a general climate of trust, collaboration and autonomy, supportive personnel policies, and supportive HRD practices (TV Rao and E. Abraham, 1986). The top management subscribing to these values is a starting point. When a critical mass internalized these values, there emerges a conducive climate for HRD. This positive HRD climate makes existing systems more effective and makes the organizations more receptive to the introduction of relevant additional system (Athreya, 1988). A healthy HRD climate certainly bolsters the overall internal environment of the organization, fosters employee commitment, involvement and satisfaction with the job (Mishra. 1999).
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HRD CLIMATE STUDIES Recognizing the importance of HRD climate, Center for HRD, Xavier Labour Relations Institute (XLRI, India) developed a 38-item HRD climate questionnaire to survey the extent to which development climate exists in organizations. The 38 items included in the questionnaire can be grouped into three categories such as general climate, OCTAPAC culture and HRD mechanisms. The general climate items deal with the importance given to human resources development in general by the top management and line managers. The OCTAPAC items deal with the extent to which openness, confrontation, trust, autonomy, pro-activity, authenticity and collaboration are valued and promoted in the organization. The items dealing with HRD mechanisms measure the extent to which HRD mechanisms are implemented seriously. Using this instrument the first survey of HRD climate in Indian organizations was carried out by T. V. Rao and E. Abraham (1986) among 41 organizations in India. The study found that the general HRD climate in the organizations appears to be at an average level. The most important factor contributing to this seems to be a general indifference on the part of the employees on their own development. This was followed by the top management’s lip sympathy and intellectual positivism to HRD but no emotional investment. In another study, E. Abraham (1989) found that HRD climate is a powerful intervening variable in translating HRD practices into profit. Venkateswaran (1997) made a study in a public sector undertaking in India and found that, to a large extent, a favorable HRD climate was prevalent in the organization under study. M. Srimannarayana (2001) identified below average level of HRD climate in a software organization in India. However, Agarwala (2002) found that the HRD climate was significantly more developmental in IT industry when compared to the automobile industry. Mishra, P and Bhardwaj, G. (2002) carried out a HRD climate survey in a private sector undertaking in India and concluded that the HRD climate in that organization was good. Lewlyn L.R Rodrigues (2004) conducted a study in the engineering institutes in India and found the HRD climate a highly satisfactory one. THE PRESENT STUDY In the light of the forgoing observations, the study was undertaken to assess the extent of HRD climate existing in a select manufacturing organizations in India as perceived by employees. The information was collected from 726 respondents working in 18 manufacturing organizations. These organizations produce a vide variety of products such as steel, automobiles,
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M. Srimannarayana 133

medicines, electrical and electronic equipment, fast moving consumer products etc. The information was collected during May-June, 2008. No uniform procedure of sampling could be followed. The questionnaires were given to the middle level executives randomly, taking into consideration of their availability and their interest to respond the questionnaire. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Category-wise HRD Climate As mentioned elsewhere, thirty eight items included in the questionnaire were grouped into three categories, namely, general climate, OCTAPAC culture and HRD mechanisms. The information presented in Table 1 indicates that the OCTAPAC culture was, relatively more prevalent than the general HRD climate and the HRD mechanisms. Table 1 Category-wise HRD Climate S.No. 1 2 3 Category General HRD climate OCTAPAC culture HRD mechanisms Mean 3.48 3.51 3.49 Per cent 61.89 62.85 62.22

Source: Survey Results Top management’s belief that human resources are an extremely important resource and that they have to be treated more humanly and seniors guiding their juniors and preparing them for future responsibilities/roles they are likely to take up are were the factors that contributed for general HRD climate. Relatively high scores secured on collaboration, authenticity and trust positioned OCTAPAC culture in the first place among the three categories of HRD climate. The factors that contributed for fairly reasonable scores on HRD mechanisms included learning during training when employees are nominated for training programmes, and their nomination to the training programmes based on their genuine training needs. Overall HRD Climate Overall, it is calculated that the mean score for the organization was 3.49 (62.32 per cent), thereby indicating that a moderate HRD climate was prevalent in the organization under study. The most important factors that contributed towards such a climate were found to include:
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(a) Using delegation of authority as an opportunity for developing juniors. (b) Helpful nature of people in the organizations. (c) When employees are sponsored for training, they take it seriously and try to learn from the programmes they attend. (d) Top management believes that human resources are an extremely important resource and that they have to be treated more humanly. (e) Employees are sponsored for training programmes based on identification of training needs. (f) When any employee makes a mistake his supervisors treat it with understanding and help him to learn from such mistakes rather than punishing him or discouraging him. (g) Seniors guide their juniors and prepare them for future responsibilities/roles they are likely to take up. (h) Employees are not afraid to express or discuss their feelings with their subordinates and (i) Team spirit Some important areas for improvement include job rotation that facilitates employee development, employees’ initiative to find out their strengths and weaknesses from their supervisors and colleagues, information on career opportunities to the employees, encouragement for experimenting with new methods and explore creative ideas, top management’s willingness to engage time and energy, and organizational resources to ensure employees development, and providing more employee welfare activities. HRD Mechanisms Implementation of HRD mechanisms such as training, performance appraisal and feedback, potential appraisal, career planning, rewards, and employee welfare were examined in the units under study. The items relating to HRD mechanisms in the questionnaire that has been administered among the employees aim at measuring the extent of implementing HRD mechanisms seriously. Fifteen factors were identified in the questionnaire, which deals with the implementation of HRD mechanisms. Analysis of responses to all fifteen factors put together indicates that a moderate degree of implementation of HRD mechanisms (62.22 per cent) has been prevalent in the organizations under study. Analysis according to HRM mechanisms is enumerated below:
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Training: Training is one of the most important subsystems of human resource development. It is generally carried out either formally or informally in almost all organisations irrespective of the size of the units. There is a provision for on the job and off the job training in all the units under study. A majority of the respondents of the present study have mentioned that when employees in their units are sponsored for training, they take it seriously and try to learn from the programme they attend. Majority of them felt that they are sponsored for training programmes on the basis of genuine training needs. The items relating to training indicates a moderate (65.25per cent) implementation of training in the units under study. Performance appraisal and feedback: Performance appraisal of some type is practiced in most organisations all over the world (T. V. Rao, 1985). The organizations understudy appraises the employee performance periodically using assessment forms. A majority of the respondents of the study mentioned that in the process of giving feedback the weaknesses of the employees are communicated in a non threatening way. When feedback is given to employees they take it seriously and use it for development. Performance appraisal in their organisations is based on objective assessment and adequate information. But the negative point seems to be that employees in these units do not take pains to find out their strengths and weaknesses from their supervising officers and colleagues. Thus the overall score of all the items pertaining to this aspect, put together has been calculated as 62.62per cent, which indicates moderate level of implementation of performance appraisal and feedback mechanisms. Potential appraisal and career planning: In organisations that subscribe to HRD, the potential (career enhancement possibilities) of every employee is assessed periodically (T.V Rao, 1985). The young people joining in the organisations are ambitious and career oriented. Career planning and development can become an effective tool for development of the employees and a key factor in HRD system (Philips. J, 1987). It seems that the organizations understudy did not place adequate processes for potential appraisal and career planning for employees when compared to Training and performance appraisal. The overall score of all the items pertaining to this aspect, put together has been calculated as 61.65per cent, which indicates moderate level of implementation of performance appraisal and feedback mechanisms. Pointing out career opportunities to juniors by senior officers, informing about future plans of organizations that have bearing on career opportunities, and lack of enough efforts to identify and utilizes the potential of employees are the concerns of the respondents.
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Rewards and employee welfare: Reward systems are designed to attract, retain, motivate and maintain high standards of performance (Kanungo, 1986). Recognizing and rewarding employee performance is one of the aspects of HRD. The overall score of the two items relating to rewards has been calculated as 61.75per cent. That means a moderate situation has been prevalent with regard to mechanisms in the units under study to reward any good work done or any contribution made by employees and taking special care to appreciate it by supervising officers. It seems that the organizations understudy do not ensure employee welfare to such an extent that employees can save a lot of their mental energy for work purposes. Comparatively speaking, it appears that training and performance appraisal and feedback are evolved and matured in the organizations to some extent, whereas rewards and employee welfare, and career planning are not that much matured. However improvements are required in implementation pf all HRD mechanisms CONCLUSION Category wise analysis leads to the conclusion that OCTAPAC culture has been more prevalent than HRD mechanisms and general HRD climate. Training and performance appraisal appear to be more mature practices rather than career planning, rewards and employee welfare. Based on the overall analysis it can be concluded that a moderate HRD climate has been prevalent in the organizations surveyed. In retrospect, it appears that the organizations focus more on business rather than people. Ultimately, it is suggested that the organizations may introduce fair employee welfare programmes and reward systems to improve employee satisfaction levels and subsequently to gain advantage from the satisfied workers to increase productivity. REFERENCES Abraham, E (1989) “A Study of Human Resource Development Practices in Indian Organisations”, PhD theses, Gujarat University, Ahmedabad. Agarwala, Tanuja (2002) “Innovative Human Resource Practices and HRD Climate: A Comparison of Automobile and IT Industries”. In: Pareek, U, Osman-Gani, Ramnarayan and T.V. Rao (eds.) Human Resource Development in Asia. New Delhi: Oxford & IBH, 3-10.
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Athreya, M. B. (1988) “Integrated HRD System-Intervention Strategies”. In: Rao, T. V., K.K. Verma, A.K. Khandelwal and E. Abraham (ed.), Alternative Approaches and Strategies of Human Resources Development: Jaipur: Rawat Publications. Desimone, R.L., J.M. Werner & D.M. Harris (2002) Human Resource Development. Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt College Publishers Lewlyn, L. & R Rodrigues (2004) “Correlates of Human Resource Development Climate Dimensions: An Empirical Study in Engineering Institutes in India”, South Asian Journal of Management, 11(2): 81. Mishra M. (1999) “Job Satisfaction as a Correlate of HRD Climate (An Empirical Study)”, Indian Journal of Training and Development, 29 (2): 5. Mishra, P. & G. Bhardwaj (2002). “Human Resource Development Climate: An Empirical Study among Private Sector Managers”, Indian Journal of Industrial Relations, 38 (1): 66. Rao, T. V. (1985) “Integrated Human Resource Development System”. In: Goodstein, L. D. & J. W. Pfeiffer, The 1985 Annual: Developing Human Resources. San Diego CA: University Associates. . Rao, T.V. & E. Abraham (1986) “Human Resource Development Climate in Indian Organizations”. In: Rao T.V. and D. F. Pereira (ed.), Recent Experiences in Human Resources Development, pp. 70-98. New Delhi: Oxford & IBH. Rao, T.V. (1999) HRD Audit: Evaluating the Human Resource Function for Business Improvement. New Delhi: Response Books. Srimannarayana,. M. (2001) “HRD Climate in a Software Organization”, HRD Newsletter, 2 (3): 6-14. Venkateswaran, K. P. S. (1997) “A Note on HRD Climate”, Vikalpa, 22 (1):.51-53.

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Appendix 1
No 1 2 General HRD Climate Item The top management of this organization goes out of its way to make sure that employees enjoy their work. The top management believes that human resources are an extremely important resource and that they have to be treated more humanly. Development of the subordinates is seen as an important part of their job by the managers/officers herein. The personnel policies in this organization facilitate employees’ development. The top management is willing to invest their time and energy including other organizational resources to ensure employees’ development. Senior officers/executive in this organization take active interest in their juniors and help them learn their job. People lacking competence in doing their jobs are helped to acquire competence rather than being left unattended. Managers in this organization believe that employee behaviour can be changed and people can be developed at any stage of their life. The psychological climate in this organization is very conducive to any employee interested in developing oneself by acquiring new knowledge and skills. The top management of this organization makes efforts to identify and utilize employees’ potential. The organization’s future plans are made known to managerial staff to help them develop their juniors and prepare them for future. Overall Mean Per cent 3.40 60.00

3.63

65.75

3

3.52 3.41

63.00 60.25

4
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5

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3.39 3.56

59.75 64.00

6 7

3.47

61.75

8

3.41

60.25

11

3.52 3.47

63.00 61.75

13 36

3.45 3.48

61.25 61.89

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Appendix 2
OCTAPAC Culture MFG No. Item Mean Per cent OPENESS 10 Employees in this organization are very informal and do not hesitate to discuss their personal problems with their supervisors. 3.51 62.75 18 People in this organization do not have any fixed mental impressions about each other. 3.25 56.25 28 Employees are not afraid to express or discuss their feelings with their superiors. 3.50 62.50 29 Employees are not afraid to express or discuss their feelings with their subordinates. 3.58 64.50 Overall 3.46 61.50 CONFRONTATION 23 Employees in this organization take pains to find out their strengths and weaknesses from their supervising officers or colleagues. 3.37 59.25 28 Employees are not afraid to express or discuss their feelings with their superiors. 3.50 62.50 29 Employees are not afraid to express or discuss their feelings with their subordinates. 3.58 64.50 34 When problems arise people discuss these problems openly and try to solve them rather than keep accusing each other behind the back. 3.46 61.50 Overall 3.48 61.94 TRUST 7 People lacking competence in doing their jobs are helped to acquire competence rather than being left unattended. 3.47 61.75 20 When any employee makes a mistake his supervisors treat it with understanding and help him to learn from such mistakes rather than punishing him or discouraging him. 3.60 65.00 27 People trust each other in this organization. 3.50 62.50 Overall 3.52 63.08 AUTONOMY 19 Employees are encouraged to experiment with new methods and try out creative ideas. 3.38 59.50 25 Employees returning from training programmes are given opportunities to try out what they have learnt. 3.49 62.25 30 Employees are encouraged to take initiative and do things on their own without having to wait for instructions
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140 Human Resource Development ..... from supervisors. Delegation of authority to encourage juniors to develop handling higher responsibilities is quite common in this organization. 32 When seniors delegate authority to juniors, the juniors use it as an opportunity for development. Overall PROACTIVITY 13 The top management of this organization makes efforts to identify and utilize the potential of the employees. 19 Employees are encouraged to experiment with new methods and try out creative ideas. 30 Employees are encouraged to take initiative and do things on their own without having to wait for instructions from supervisors. Overall 31 3.49 62.25

3.47 3.75 3.52

61.75 68.75 62.90

3.47 3.38

61.75 59.50

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3.49 3.45

62.25 61.17

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AUTHENTICITY 22 When behavior feedback is given to employees they take it seriously and use it for development. 3.49 24 When employees are sponsored for training, they take it seriously and try to learn from the programmes they attend. 3.72 25 Employees returning from training programmes are given opportunities to try out what they have learnt. 3.49 26 Employees are sponsored for training programmes on the basis of genuine training needs. 3.62 Overall 3.58 COLLABORATION 9 People in this organization are helpful to each other. 33 Team spirit is of high order in this organization. 36 The organization’s future plans are made known to the managerial staff to help them develop their juniors and prepare them for future. Overall Overall OCTAPAC Culture

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62.25 68.00 62.25 65.50 64.50

3.75 3.58

68.75 64.50

3.45 3.59 3.51

61.25 64.83 62.85

DIVINE HELP Divine guidance often comes when the horizon is the blackest. - Mohandas K. Gandhi
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Appendix 3
HRD Mechanisms No. 7 12 13 14 15 16 17 Item People lacking competence in doing their jobs are helped to acquire competence rather than being left unattended. Seniors guide their juniors and prepare them for future responsibilities/roles they are likely to take up. The top management makes efforts to identify and utilize the potential of the employees. Promotion decisions are based on the suitability of the promotee rather than based on any favouritism or partiality. There are mechanisms in this organization to reward any good work done or any contribution made by employees. When an employee does good work his supervising officers take special care to appreciate it. Performance appraisal reports in this organization are based on objective assessment and adequate information and not on favouritism or partiality. Weaknesses of employees are communicated to them in a non-threatening way. When employees are sponsored for training, they take it seriously and try to learn from the programmes they attend. Employees returning from training programmes are given opportunities to explore what they have learnt. Employees are sponsored for training programmes based on identification of training needs. Career opportunities are pointed out to juniors by senior officers in the organization. The organization’s future plans are made known to the managerial staff to help them develop their juniors and prepare them for future. This organization ensures employee welfare to such an extent that the employees can save a lot of their mental energy for work purposes. Job-rotation in this organization facilitates employee development. Overall MFG Per cent Mean 3.47 3.58 3.47 3.46 3.52 3.5 61.75 64.50 61.75 61.50 63.00 62.50

3.49 3.52 3.72 3.49 3.62 3.37

62.25 63.00 68.00 62.25 65.50 59.25

21 24 25 26 35 36

3.45

61.25

37

3.39 3.28 3.49

59.75 57.00 62.22

38

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K.M. MUNSHI ON JAWAHARLAL NEHRU

The most fascinating characteristic of Panditji is his sense of the beautiful. His charming smile, the flower in his button-hole, the way he loves to surround himself with people of culture, all show his hunger of beauty. Gandhiji, with his tremendous personality and dynamic gospel, inaugurated an era of austere simplicity and the dominance of the useful over the beautiful. Panditji was, perhaps, one of the very few who came into initiate contact with
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him but remained untouched by the full implication of the philosophy. Through he dedicated himself to high endeavour under the guidance of his Master, the vision of beauty has never left Panditji. He expresses it in tasteful surroundings, in a love for grace and harmony, in color and form. His love for genuine art and literature remains undimmed. Even in the grim battle which he had been fighting since his young days, he has devoted himself to art and literature and his stray utterance on the subject reveal the passion for artistic perfection. Panditji’s sense of beauty is allied to his ideals. Perhaps they are counterparts of the same vision. An artist has been flung not only in the battle of freedom but in the vortex of power politics. This sets him off against the murky background of modern times. To him beauty is justice and justice beauty - justice, international, national, social as well as personal. Only the other day, during his impassioned broadcast on food, he said : “ I love flowers, but today the sight of cluster of bananas is sweeter to eyes than any flower”.

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Source: Bhavan’s Journal, November 15, 2009.

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