59 Slices
Medium 9781609947132

5 Operationalize Phase

Richard A. Swanson Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

TO OPERATIONALIZE A THEORY, the theory must be expressed in terms of its functional use for the purpose of acceptance or rejection. The Operationalize phase becomes a logical bridge between the Conceptualize and Confirm phases, but it also interplays with the Apply and Refine phases (Figure 5.1).

The purpose of this chapter is to describe specific approaches to operationalization that serve as an instructive guide. This chapter will

• define the Operationalize phase,

• describe the general inputs to this phase,

• provide a practical summary of Operationalize phase activity,

• describe the outputs of the Operationalize phase, and

• propose a set of quality indicators for Operationalize phase effort.

An applied discipline theory needs to be confirmed or tested in its real-world context so as to establish its utility (Lynham, 2002a). The explanation that the new theorizing creates must be examined and assessed in the world in which it occurs. To confirm a theory, the ideas and relationships must be converted to observable and confirmable components or elements (Lynham, 2002a). Operationalizing theories commonly results in hypotheses, empirical indicators and other claims (Cohen, 1989), which are investigated in the confirm phase. Ultimately, operationalizing requires that the theorist develop strategies for judging the accuracy and fit of the new theory in the world in which it is expected to function.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781576754962

5 Theory of Human Resource Development

Richard A. Swanson Berrett-Koehler Publishers PDF

INTRODUCTION

Models of HRD have been developed and disseminated through books, seminars, and consulting projects. Many models are based on extensive practical experience with development and improvement (Brache, 2002; Nadler, Gerstein, and Shaw,

1992; Rummler and Brache, 1995; Schwartz, 1996; Weisbord, 1987). Other models have been embraced as ways to solve problems then casually called “multidisciplinary” to demand that the user apply multidimensional thinking.

Armed with a flowchart and a description of its components, HRD professionals often find that while their personal models may be powerful enough to create change, those models and their explanations are almost always too superficial to explain the complex dynamics of HRD and its connection to results. In short, a model derived from logic is no substitute for sound theory. Such models can guide improvement efforts through hypothesized relationships without having those relationships ever tested. You can have a model and no theory and you can have a theory with no model. Yet, most theories are accompanied by a model.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781576754962

16 Strategy and Human Resource Development

Richard A. Swanson Berrett-Koehler Publishers PDF

INTRODUCTION

Viewing human resource development as a strategic partner is a relatively new perspective (Wognum and Mulder, 1999). Recent textbooks (Walton, 1999;

Yorks, 2005) have been dedicated to increasing such strategic awareness and effectiveness among HRD professionals. The systems view of organizations, with

HRD as a process within the organization and the organization functioning within the larger environment, provides the big picture framework to begin thinking about the strategic roles of HRD (see Figure 2.2 in chapter 2, p. 20).

This chapter discusses the issues surrounding the role of HRD in organizational strategic planning as originally proposed by Torraco and Swanson (1995) and expanded upon first by Swanson, Lynham, Ruona, and Provo (1998), and later by Chermack (2002, 2003, 2004, 2005). Two factors have influenced the evolution of HRD toward a more active role as a key determinant of business strategy: (1) the centrality of information technology to business success and (2) the sustainable competitive advantage offered by workforce knowledge and expertise.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781576753149

13 Content, Lived Experience, and Qualitative Research

Richard A. Swanson Berrett-Koehler Publishers PDF

Organizations are made up of human beings, who bring with them attitudes, prior knowledge, values, beliefs, motivations, hopes, worries, prejudices, spiritualities, politics, standpoints, social locations, and other characteristics that mark their lives and ultimately affect their performance, both as individuals and within groups in the workplace. Thus, showing the impact of efforts to improve organizations is always a task left unfinished, because it cannot account for many things unseen.

Organizations and the people who work in them possess the same rough or uneven edges that are found mathematically on fractals. Given the history and development of Western colleges and universities (both European and U.S.), the legitimacy of those disciplines focused on research in organizations is frequently found in a field’s approximation of scientific pursuits—“scientific” in the sense of proceeding with inquiries via use of hypothetico-deductive models, building theories for the purposes of hypotheses testing, establishing short causal chains for their explanatory power, and creating models of certain specified segments of the social world.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781576753149

7 Survey Research in Organizations

Richard A. Swanson Berrett-Koehler Publishers PDF

To paraphrase Charles Dickens, it could be said that these are the best of times for survey research within organizations yet also the worst of times. Perhaps we are not experiencing the worst of times, but certainly numerous challenges now face the researcher using surveys despite the fact that the survey has achieved a well-established reputation for being the preferred method for data collection in organizations. Recent studies on survey research are providing new insights, requiring revisions on much of the conventional wisdom that has guided this research method for much of the past few decades (Krosnick, 1999).

This chapter will briefly describe the history and emergence of the survey as one, if not the, dominant method for doing research in organizations. A five-step process for conducting survey research will be summarized, with key principles and best practices highlighted. Major challenges facing survey research will be reviewed, including a summary of literature related to the rapidly evolving and increasing popular survey mode of the Internet.

See All Chapters

See All Slices