Case study 5 training systems


1. Review the Domtar case from Chapter 1 and answer the following questions:

a.  In the implementation of Kaizen, what groups of employees are likely to need training? How should the trainees be organized? Think of this issue from a training design perspective as well as a training content perspective.

It seems clear from the case that all employees will need some level of training. However, training will be different in content for those who are actually implementing the process and those who are managing units in which the process is occurring.  Thus, training should be organized around level in the organization with the exception of direct supervisors. Since Kaizen is a team based process, in-tact work teams should go through the training together, even though Kaizen teams may be reconstituted based on projects after training.  Thus, first line supervisors and their direct reports should go through training together.  First line supervisors may need additional training, depending on how roles and responsibilities are assigned.  Managers whose units are closely aligned should also go through training together and the top management team should go through the training as a group.

b.  For the type of training envisioned, what are the learning objectives? Write these objectives in complete form.

This is a difficult question to answer from the case description as it does not discuss Kaizen in any detail.  Thus, only broad objectives can be expected.

Objectives for Kaizen teams might include:

By the end of training a team will have implemented a Kaizen project that improves processes and/or quality so that costs are lowered by at least 15%.

Each team member will, at the end of training, score above 85% on the Kaizen exam using reference materials provided during training.

Each team member, at the conclusion of their Kaizen project, will receive a rating of “supportive of the Kaizen approach” or higher, by each of the other team members, on the end of project reaction questionnaire.

Objective for managers might include:

At the conclusion of training, each manager will score above 85% on the Kaizen exam using reference materials provided during training.

Six months after the conclusion of training, each manager will receive a rating of “supportive of our Kaizen activities” or higher by each of the teams reporting to that manager.

One year after the conclusion of training, each team reporting to the manager will have completed a Kaizen project resulting in improved processes and/or quality such that costs are reduced by at least 20%.

Objectives for the top management team might include: 

At the conclusion of training, each manager will score above 85% on the Kaizen exam using reference materials provided during training.

One year after the conclusion of training, overall costs related to process and quality will have reduced by 20 percent.

c.  For each group of employees that will need training, what are the organizational constraints that need to addressed in the design of the training? What design features should be used to address these constraints? Be sure to address both the learning and transfer of training issues.

For Kaizen teams, the following constraints might be listed:

Budget:  Since Domtar is struggling financially (at the time training takes place) budget is a key issue.  Training must be done in as cost effective manner as possible. Thus, some basic classroom training combined with an actual project will accomplish the KSA acquisition as quickly as possible.  The hands on project will facilitate transfer of training. An in-house expert has been hired, thus reducing the cost somewhat from hiring an outside firm.  However, the expert will not be able to train all teams in Domtar.  Rather he will need to train others to serve as trainers or recruit them from outside the company.  Given the budget issues, training insiders seems the most prudent action.  However, this conflicts with the next constraint.

Short lead time:  Clearly Royer wants this process instituted quickly.  Fortunately, Kaizen is a well established training program, and materials can easily be purchased.  Hiring outside trainers is likely to be too expensive, thus lead time will have to be extended to allow for training of trainers from inside the company. 

Time available for training:  For paper mills to run efficiently, they must run as close to continuously as possible.  Once the equipment is stopped, it takes many hours to restart and gain stability.  Thus, training must occur on off hours.  This will increase the cost as employees will have to receive overtime pay.  Related to this is that any projects will need to include all shifts, since the equipment for each shift is the same.  Thus, those who operate a process, regardless of shift must be considered as a team.  This means that while the classroom training can be provided separately to different shifts, the “project training” needs to occur together.  One solution to this dilemma is for each shift to identify a project, and then have different members of each shift serve on the Kaizen team that researches a project. Enough projects would have to be identified to allow each employee to participate on a team. Research would have to be conducted during off shift time, which means that one member of the team would not be able to participate on that piece of research, but the steps in the research could be rotated among shifts.  An alternative is to get replacement workers for the time the team is doing its research.  In any case, this is good training for identifying problems and solutions of implementing Kaizen.

The budget, lead time and availability issues are similar for managers and the executive group.  However, they will not require overtime pay since they are salaried and they do not work in shifts (for the most part).

2.  Review the Multi State Health Corporation case from chapter 2 and answer the following questions.

  1. In the implementation of the HRPS, what groups of employees are likely to need training? Think of this from a training design perspective as well as a training content perspective.
  2. For the type of training you envision for each group what are the learning objectives? Write these in complete form.
  3. For each group of employees that will need training, what are the organizational constraints you will need to address in the design of your training? What design features will you use to address these constraints? Be sure to address both the learning and transfer of training objectives.

Issues for Analysis:  There are many areas in which training will be required and we list only some of them. Clearly the organization must focus on cost reduction. Thus, employees at all levels should be provided with training in whatever cost reduction system(s) MHC adopts. The acquisition of the new subsidiaries and how they interact with the hospitals will require training for upper management. Many of the presidents of the hospitals were shown to be deficient in KSAs needed to implement the new strategy. Managers at every level will need training in the new HRIS and succession planning. Because of all the changes in MHC training, focusing on managing change will be important. This type of training would require spaced practice and part learning. A training program such as this would require the support of superiors, peers, trainers, corporate culture, and rewards. Depending on which groups the student identifies, you will want to see if they have ordered the training so that, where possible, the training needed first is provided first. For example, hospital presidents and upper management will need training in the cost savings systems before those lower in the organization are trained.

It is not possible to list all learning objectives that might be developed by the students. The criteria that should be applied to the objectives are as follows.

  • Focus objectives on the outcomes to be achieved
  • Describe the behavior that will reflect the achievement of the outcome
  • Describe the conditions under which the behavior will occur
  • Identify the standards that will identify success

In the case analysis of chapter two it was stated that KSAs and resistance to change might be the two biggest hurdles to overcome in the MHC case.  Therefore the training program must focus on the readiness of trainees’ to learn. Trainees must be motivated to come to training and supervisors and trainers must instill positive expectations about successfully acquiring the KSAs and transferring them to the job. Budgets will be a constraint given the financial condition of MHC. Students should also state explicit actions they will take prior to training, during training, and after training to address the transfer issues.

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