Designing Executive Development Programme

While drawing a distinction between training and development, we introduced, in brief, the concept of development. Based on that concept, we can now elaborate it in more detail. The term ‘development’ implies overall development in a person. Accordingly, executive development means not only improvement in job performance, but also improvement in knowl­edge, personality, attitude, behaviourism of an executive, etc.

It means that executive develop­ment focuses more on the executive’s personal growth. Thus, executive development consists of all the means that improve his/her performance and behaviour. Executive development helps understand cause and effect relationship, synthesizes from experience, visualizes relationships or thinks logically. That is why some behavioural scientists suggest that the executive develop­ment is predominantly an educational process rather than a training process.

Flippo has viewed that “executive/management development includes the process by which managers and executives acquire not only skills and competency in their present jobs but also capa­bilities for future managerial tasks of increasing difficulty and scope”.

According to S.B. Budhiraja, former Managing Director of Indian Oil Corporation. “Any activity designed to improve the performance of existing managers and to provide for a planned growth of managers to meet future organisational requirements is called management development”. It is now clear from the above definitions of executive/management development that it is based on certain assumptions.

We can derive these as follows:

  1. Executive development, being a predominantly educational process, is a continuous and life-long process. It is not like training as a one-shot programme but an on-going continuous programme throughout the career of an executive or manager.
  2. Like any kind of learning, executive development is based on the assumption that there always exists a gap between what an executive performs and what he/she can. Executive development harnesses this untapped potential.

Objectives of Executive Development:

  1. Improve the performance of managers at all levels.
  2. Identify the persons in the organisation with the required potential and prepare them for higher positions in future.
  3. Ensure availability of required number of executives / managers succession who can take over in case of contingencies as and when these arise in future.
  4. Prevent obsolescence of executives by exposing them to the latest concepts and techniques in their respective areas of specialisation.
  5. Replace elderly executives who have risen from the ranks by highly competent and academi­cally qualified professionals.
  6. Improve the thought processes and analytical abilities.
  7. Provide opportunities to executives to fulfill their career aspirations.
  8. Understand the problems of human relations and improve human relation skills.

A Dasgupta has given the level-wise objectives of the executive/ management development as follows:

(a) Top Management:

  1. To improve thought processes and analytical ability in order to uncover and examine prob­lems and take decisions in the best interests of the country and organisation;
  2. To broaden the outlook of the executive in regard to his role, position and responsibilities in the organisation and outside;
  3. To think through problems this may confront die organisation now or in the future;
  4. To understand economic, technical and institutional forces in order to solve business prob­lems; and
  5. To acquire knowledge about the problems of human relations.

(b) Middle Line Management:

  1. To establish a clear picture of executive functions and responsibilities;
  2. To bring about an awareness of the broad aspects of management problems, and an acquain­tance with and appreciation of interdepartmental relations.
  3. To develop the ability to analyse problems and to take appropriate action;
  4. To develop familiarity with the managerial use of financial accounting, psychology, business statistics;
  5. To Inculcate knowledge of human motivation and human relationships; and
  6. To develop responsible leadership.

(c) Middle Functional Executives and Specialists:

  1. To increase knowledge of business fractions and operations in specific fields in marketing production, finance, personnel;
  2. To increase proficiency in management techniques such as work study, inventory control, operations research, quality control;
  3. To stimulate creative thinking in order to improve methods and procedures;
  4. To understand the functions performed in a company;
  5. To understand industrial relations problems; and
  6. To develop the ability to analyse problems in one’s area or functions.

Importance of executive development:

Executives, or say, managers manage/run organisations. It is managers who plan, organise, direct and control the resources and activities in every organisation. An organisation is like a vehicle of which managers are drivers. Without competent managers, other valuable resources such as men, material, machine, money, technology and others remain of not much significance for the organisation. Thus, managers are a vital cog in the success of any organisation. That’s why executive/ management development has become indispensable to modem organisations.

The importance of executive development is appreciated in more orderly manner in the succeed­ing paragraphs:

  1. Change in organisations has become sine quo non with rapid changes in the total environ­ment. A manager, therefore, requires to be imparted training to abreast of and cope with on-going changes in his / her organisation. Otherwise, the manager becomes obsolete. In this context, Dale Yoder views that “without training, the executives lose their punch and drive and they die on the vine. Training and development are the only ways of overcoming the executive dropouts”.
  2. With the recognition that managers are made not born, there has been noticeable shift from owner managed to professionally managed enterprises, even in family business houses like Tata. That is also indicated by the lavish expenditure incurred on executive training by most of the enterprises these days.
  3. Given the knowledge era, labour management relations are becoming increasingly complex. In such situation, managers not only need job skills but also behavioural skills in union negotiations, collective bargaining, grievance redressal, etc. These skills are learned through training and development programmes.
  4. The nature and number of problems change along with increase in the size and structure of enterprise from small to large. This underlines the need for developing managerial skills to handle the problems of big, giant and complex organisations.

Inaugurating the Tata Management Training Centre at Pune in 1965, Mr. J.R.D Tata extolled the importance of management training in these words.

“Trained managers are vital to the economic development of the country… This business of executive development has been one of the most crucial, essential end, at the same time, one of the most difficult elements in providing continuity and efficient management”.

As regards the importance of management development, the renowned behavioural scientist Peter Drucker opines that, “an institution that cannot produce its own managers will die. From an overall point of view, the ability of an institution to produce managers is more important than its ability to produce goods efficiently and cheaply”. In short, the importance of executive/ management development in an organisation can best be put as: anything minus management development in an organisation mounts to nothing.

The process:

Like any learning programme, executive development also involves a process consisting o) certain steps. Though sequencing these various steps in a chronological order is difficult, behavioural scientists have tried to list and sequence them in six steps as shown in figure 11.1


These steps, also called the components of the executive development programme, have been- discussed in the succeeding paragraphs.

Identifying Development Needs:

Once the launching of an executive development programme (EDP) is decided, its implementation begins with identifying the developmental needs of the organisation concern. For this, first of all, the present and future developmental needs for executives/ managers ascertained by identifying how many and what type of executives will be required in the organisation at present and in future.

This needs to be seen in the context of organisational as well as individual, i.e. manager needs. While organisational needs may be identified by making organisational analysis in terms of organisation’s growth plan, strategies, competitive environment, etc., individual needs to be identified by the individual career planning and appraisal.

Appraisal of Present Managerial Talent:

The second step is an appraisal of the present managerial talent for the organisation. For this purpose, a qualitative assessment of the existing executives/managers in the organisation is made. Then, the performance of every executive is compared with the standard expected of him.

Inventory of Executive Manpower:

Based on information gathered from human resource planning, an inventory is prepared to have complete information about each executive in each position. Information on the executive’s age, education, experience, health record, psychological test results, performance appraisal data, etc. is collected and the same is maintained on cards and replacement tables.

An analysis of such inventory shows the strengths and also discloses the deficiencies and weaknesses of the executives in certain functions relative to the future needs of the concern organisation. From this executive inventory, we can begin the fourth step involved in the executive development process.

Developing Development Programmes:

Having delineated strengths and weaknesses of each executive, the development programmes are tailored to fill in the deficiencies of executives. Such tailormade programmes of development focus on individual needs such as skill development, changing attitudes, and knowledge acquisition.

Conducting Development Programmes:

At this stage, the manager actually participates in development programmes. It is worth mention­ing that no single development programme can be adequate for all managers. The reason is that each manager has a unique set of physical, intellectual and emotional characteristics.

As such, there can be different development programmes to uniquely suit to the needs of an executive/ manager. These development programmes may be on-the-job or off-the-job programmes organised either by the organisation itself or by some outside agencies.

Evaluating Development Programmes:

Just as with employee training programme, executive development programme is evaluated to see changes in behaviour and executive performance. Evaluation of programme enables to appraise programme’s effectiveness, highlight its weaknesses and aids to determine whether the development should be continued or how it can be improved.


Since no single development programme can be adequate for managers, it is undertaken in a variety of methods. Various methods/ techniques of executive/management development may be classified into two broad categories as shown in the following figure 11.2.


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