Training in Organizations: Putting Psychosociological and Ergonomic Approaches into Perspective
University of Liege
September 15, 2010
Relations Industrielles/Industrial Relations, Vol. 65, No. 3, 2010
Faced with new challenge from globalization, technological and demographic changes, today organizational training takes a crucial importance in the development of human resources in organizations. From both a scientific and practical point of view, two major currents presently seem to rule this field: a psychosociological current and an ergonomic current. The contributions of each of them in organizational human resources development are unquestionable, but we have observed significant levels of misunderstanding between the two, as well as a lack of dialogue and scientific objectivity. The present paper intends to initiate this dialogue with an eye towards developing training practices. Thanks to a better understanding of these main approaches, our aim is to help those who seek to train personnel to better orientate their choice of training.
From this perspective, based as much on historical research as on more recent works, several common points are obvious. (1) There is a wish to develop new learning strategies which draws substance from scientific research, and which breaks with school-based models. (2) There is a strong link between theory and action, together with practices that combine doing and knowledge. (3) There is also a vision of learning as the result of action combined with reflection on action.
In contrast with these shared foundations, several differences leading to fruitful exchange have been identified. (1) Focus on group from psychosociological approaches, as opposed to focus on work from ergonomic perspectives; (2) concentration on functional and specific aspects of work in the ergonomic approach and emphasis on relational and transversal aspects in the psychosociological approach; (3) four points on which technical exchanges would be profitable; (4) a major controversy on the question of whether the link between work and training is necessary or not. By becoming aware of the complementarity of the two approaches (compatibleand different), we become convinced that it is essential to begin a dialogue in order to make organizational training practices more understandable and more effective.
Keywords: competence, group dynamics, human resources development, ergonomics, psychosociology, training
JEL Classification: J28, M12, M53Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: September 29, 2010
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