Training transfer and utilization: an empirical investigation into the perceptual effects of middle management training in an organization

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Administration of educational curriculum beyond the traditional classroom are becoming an increasing concern for public and private sector organizations that offer formalized supervisory and management training. Training is expensive. Salaries of trainers, materials and equipment, and especially lost production are factors that go into the decision-making process when companies invest dollars into training employees.

The establishment of cost effectiveness in terms of whether or not training content transfers to the job is of vital concern. Studies of learning transfer are rare, but even rarer are long-term measures. This study empirically, measured learning transfer and utilization from Communication, Stress Management, and Team Building content seminar/workshops at both short and long-term intervals.

The study was divided into three distinct phases. The first phase was an experimental design using randomly selected treatment and control groups with an uncorrelated t-test used in the statistical treatment of group measures. The second phase of the study utilized treatment group only comparison of matched item measures at six-week and one-year intervals. A correlated t-test was employed for statistical analysis.

The final phase of the study utilized external interviewing of supervisors of the managers who received the treatment. The supervisors were employed as external anchors to provide testimony as to the perceptual effects of learning transfer.

The study suggested that learning transfer and utilization did occur in all three areas of intervention relevant to Phase I. Phase II suggested that long-term effects were present in two of the three interventions. External interviews in Phase III were not found to be highly contributing to the conformation of training transfer.