Book Review:
The 2008 Pfeiffer Annual: Training
Authors: Beich, E. (Ed.)

Beich, E. (Ed.), (2008). The 2008 Pfeiffer Annual: Training, San Francisco: John Wiley and Sons Inc

Reviewed by: Srishti Seth

Training is the most imperative activity for the development of human resources. It is defined as the systematic development of the knowledge, skills and attitudes required by an individual to perform a given task or job successfully. A major objective of training is to improve the organisation’s performance through the enhanced performance of its employees. While training helps employees do their current jobs, development prepares individuals to handle future responsibilities. To put the right man at the right place with the trained personnel has now become essential in today’s globalised market. No organisation has a choice on whether or not to train and develop employees. Hence, training has nowadays become a vital factor for maintaining and improving interpersonal and inter group alliance.

This book brings together, at one place, the relevant, diverse and complex material for training of management professionals. Even though many eminent experts from the management field have contributed to this comprehensive annual, the Editor has succeeded in keeping uniformity of the format, and the book represents the definite entity discussing many aspects of the training with specific reference to change management in a thought provoking manner. The book clearly emphasises the importance of a strong linkage between training and change management. This book presents a bundle of thoughts, processes, techniques, and models that can assist and support organisational training programmes, with an emphasis on change management. There are highly easy to follow means of interacting with a various variety of systems and processes.

The book is divided into four parts: experiential learning activities (ELAs); Inventories, Questionnaires, and Surveys; Articles and Discussion Resources; and Editor’s Choice. In the first section the annual includes fourteen activities with different elements of organisational change management. The main focus in all the activities is to manage change. They are well demonstrated for gathering and sharing organisational performance data, and each activity includes the background necessary for understanding, presenting and its use. Interpretation information, scales and scoring sheets are also provided for practical use. Some activities, that deserve special mention for readers to read are: Change Partners: Experiencing the Impact of Change authored by Beverly J. Bitterman; and Black Sheep: Dealing with Diversity authored by Peter R. Garbe.

In the second section of the book there are two assessment tools: Human Resource Development Liability Indicator, authored by John A. Sample; and Helping Leaders Learn to Lead, authored by Homer H. Johnson. The first instrument is focusing on training in consideration with labour laws. The second instrument is questionnaire based, which is focusing on assisting leaders to learn to lead from their experiences. The questionnaire presented in this activity tries to identify eight strategies (personal development plan, decision making, and result assessment). This activity deserves special mention for readers as a most comprehensive discussion has been done in relation to different experiences occurring both on job and off the job in professional life.

The third section of annual presents the vast range of present day thoughts about workplace functioning for change management and professional development. The articles will add opulence and depth to trainer’s training skills. The deliberations are very much thought generating and certainly will elongate the professional thinking.

In the editor’s choice section, the article, which is written by Vincent A. Miller (a long-term trainer and ASTD member), has been incorporated. The American Society for training & Development is the world’s largest association dedicated to workplace learning and performance professionals. This article emphasises the transitional phases of different American training programmes.

This book would serve as a valuable reference for those who are planning to bring change in their organisation. The language is encouraging, it is relatively easy to read, which should lead to insightful learning for the benefits of consultants, academicians and organisational professionals.

Srishti Seth
NILLM School of Business
New Delhi