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Management development techniques: Small businesses Research Paper

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Updated: Oct 1st, 2019


Management development is a very essential aspect in today’s corporate world given the increase in competition and the need for quality products and services. The paper looks at various management development strategies that can be applied by small businesses in their quest to ensure that the highest productivity is attained.

Moreover, advantages and disadvantages of various strategies are outlined because these are very essential when choosing which strategy to use. The paper specifically focuses on small businesses, which are mostly faced with a lot of challenges when deciding on a proper plan of action to be implemented.

Besides explaining management development techniques available for small businesses, the paper provides factors that should be considered before agreeing which development strategy to adopt.


Every organization aims at attaining the highest standards in the market. This involves continuously upgrading the processes used to run day-to-day activities of a firm. Systems have to be advanced to keep abreast of the constantly changing customer demand. Similarly, technology needs to be updated to ensure that most current innovations are in place at any given time.

Moreover, employees need to be often trained in order to advance their skills and enrich their knowledge so that maximum output can be achieved from them. However, much as all this needs to be done, it should be noted that management is very vital in determining performance of a given firm. It is the role of management to ensure that everything is as it should be.

Consequently, management development is crucial in ensuring that organization is able to advance. It is important to note that there are several management development techniques that can be applied, especially for small businesses.

Strategies used by Small Businesses

Need for training differs from one organization to another. As a result, strategies of training will be different. Moreover, different people will have different needs which will require different modes of training. Consequently, there are several approaches that are used by various business organizations. These strategies vary from simple and cheap ones to complex and somehow expensive methods (Pearn, 2003).

Among the most common training techniques used in small businesses is leadership training. This often involves introduction of lessons about management of employees. Members of the staff who are well conversant with management can be given the mandate of training other employees.

However, it has been proved through research that the programs where a third party handles the process of training are more effective. Leadership training strategies can be divided into generic and focused strategies. On the one hand, generic leadership training strategies train on all managerial duties that one can handle without concentration on any specific area.

On the other hand, focused training strategies refer to strategies where an individual is trained only on his or her sphere of duties (Gallucci, Lare, Yoon & Boatright, 2010).

This means that an individual trained to become a human resource manager will be taught only on the aspects of human resource management. It is important to note that focused training strategies are very effective as compared to generic strategies given the fact that focused strategies are exhaustive.

Additionally, small businesses can choose some managers to train the others in the given areas. The strategy known as a peer training is effective when the individuals chosen as trainers have enough experience in their area of specialization.

The managers that are undergoing training are given the opportunity to learn while they are working and thus gain firsthand information. Additionally, the strategy gives learners the opportunity of asking questions and applying the answers they get immediately, which makes the points permanent (Norman, 2013). It should be noted that not every individual can become a trainer in an organization.

Consequently, trainers should be only those people who have explicitly shown their interest and willingness of sharing their experience with the others. The training programs should be developed by the trainers in collaboration with the human resource department and departmental managers to ensure that time allocation does not interfere with the activities of the firm.

Managers have the ability to influence employees to stay with a company or quit. If a manager handles his or her staff members in a bad way, employees will become dissatisfied with the firm and thus quit to search for employment elsewhere. In this regard, every business, irrespective of its size, will have to train its managers on how to handle their juniors.

This includes the correct way of communication as well as the acceptable code of conduct. As a result, behavior training is very crucial for management development.

Behavior training strategies may include enhancement of sensitivity of managers as well as creation of awareness on sexual harassment. To make the strategy more effective, Gray (2004) suggests that the program should include possible effects if the manager behaves otherwise.

Arguably, financial constraint is the key factor that limits how far a small business can go in regard to the management development. While there are some very effective strategies that can highly increase output of a business, if implemented, they are mostly expensive and out of reach for many small businesses. Managers can, therefore, be encouraged to individually increase their knowledge by their own initiative (Haan, 2004).

This can be achieved by coming up with a program where any kind of educational course is subsidized. This will encourage not only managers but also other employees to enhance their skills. On the other hand, a company can come up with a library which will contain the books addressing issues related to career development as well as personal development.

Self-managed learning process is also very effective when it comes to management development in small businesses. There are several approaches used in self-managed learning. Firstly, people can use seminars and conferences where they share knowledge and ideas. In the process of exchanging ideas, people end up learning new things. Moreover, this approach increases confidence and public presentation skills.

Another approach is the use of social networks. These platforms allow people to engage in exchanging ideas, which leads to knowledge sharing. As a matter of fact, this does not necessarily have to be done in accordance with any schedule and is thus enjoyable to all the parties.

Additionally, the internet has many resources that can be used to learn. Consequently, an individual can decide to read materials regarding the subject of interest (Haan, 2004). Consequently, people can gain a lot of crucial information that can be positively used in an organization.

Furthermore, learners may decide to use different approaches of studying available. The first one is a deep approach where a learner tries to understand new ideas on his/her own and put them into practice in a real life work situation. This approach is very effective because it ensures maximum retention of ideas gained. Self-managed learning also applies the surface approach of learning.

In this approach, the learners only concentrate on the required areas of learning. This is meant to ensure that learners are not overburdened with reading what will not be of use to them (Norman, 2013). SML also concentrates on required issues only because individuals aim at enhancing specific skills. This approach is referred to as a strategic approach.

Human beings should work hard to increase their income by any percentage. Consequently, people will improve their performance if they know that by doing so they will gain material benefit. Small business can come up with a rewarding system where the best managers are rewarded. This will encourage managers to join training programs where they will improve their skills.

While managers will be developing their skills aiming at material benefit that come with that, output of the firm in general will also be improving (Konczak, Stelly & Trusty, 2000). It should however be noted that rewards given should meet the desires of managers aimed. Otherwise, the rewarding system will not be able to meet its intended goals.

In order to achieve the desired behavior in an organization, role-playing strategy can be applied. Under this strategy, the trainer conducts him or herself in the required manner when in different situations. This is carried out in order to ensure that learners get the firsthand information of what is expected of them.

This strategy involves setting up of different circumstances which a manager can come across and then displaying the expected code of conduct (Harrison, 2005). Besides providing a practical example of the situations that one can find him or herself in, this strategy provides trainers with the opportunity of assessing whether the trainees have understood.

Notably, the most common mode of development is undertaking courses related to ones career. Therefore, management development can also be attained through attending various course both short and long term. In this regard, small businesses can choose to send some managers to training at given periods of time.

Conversely, the business can come up with a program where managers are given study leaves so that they can take various courses that will improve their performance. These courses may be fulltime or part time depending on the intensity of the course and time available. This strategy is beneficial because it provides the managers with ample time to learn in a class environment thus making them more serious on what they learn.

It should also be noted that since there is documented results regarding performance, it is possible to know which area one is best at. However, care should be taken to ensure that the courses taken are relevant to the job description of an individual (Resnick, 2010).

Another beneficial strategy that can be applied by small businesses is executive education. This could be general courses touching on managerial roles or customized programs that take into consideration the special needs of the business.

Executive education is offered by various academic institutions and is meant for business executives as well as business managers. It is important to note that executive education is very valuable because it takes into consideration current business environment and technological changes when coming up with the course outline.

As a result, the strategy is highly influential in enhancing the ability of managers to attend to their duties (Konczak, Stelly & Trusty, 2000). Lately, customized executive education has gained popularity given the fact that it is able to deal with problems that are unique to each business.

Furthermore, executive education focuses on improving specific skills that are necessary for the proper functioning of any business. It should be noted here that courses offered by executive education range from simple courses to more complex ones.

Advantages of Management Development

Management development is very vital for any organization be it a small business or a multinational company. Each business entity needs to advance its operations in all the aspects, thus, management is a very crucial ingredient in successful firm’s operation. To begin with, management development helps a company to ensure that it integrates technological advancements at the right time.

This involves equipping the managers with up-to-date skills and techniques which are very crucial in ensuring that the business remains relevant especially given the issue of globalization. Moreover, management development techniques enable a firm to come up with the most applicable methods of aligning people with processes for maximum output (Pearn, 2003).

Similarly, management development is essential in ensuring that the most recent and highly efficient methods of production are applied in any business, thus increasing its output. Besides, management development is very crucial in enhancing ability of managers to execute their duties efficiently and increasing their awareness of the most effective leadership style.

Arguably, the most important benefit of management development is that it increases sensitivity of managers. Consequently, it enables managers to timely know when something is going wrong in the business and implement necessary actions.

Moreover, it enables managers to understand the need to give their juniors the opportunity to make their careers and improve their knowledge. Managers also learn techniques of managing different teams of people, as it is quite crucial in their job description.

Disadvantages of Management Development Techniques

It should, however, be noted that management training strategies have various drawbacks. Sometimes, some strategies are very expensive to maintain and can be out of scope for many small businesses. Moreover, other strategies are very comprehensive and require long period of time to be accomplished. Unfortunately, small businesses might not be able to keep managers out of work for that long.

Furthermore, other strategies, for example, those that require individual initiative might not be effective since many people may not be willing to follow them. Peer training lacks innovativeness and leads to replication of ideas. In this regard, it is incapable of bringing on board new skills to meet changes and advancement in the corporate world (Harrison, 2005).


Management development is a requirement that any business organization cannot do without. Given the dynamics in the business world, companies need to continuously train their staff so that they can be able to keep up with the change in demand. Small businesses need specifically not only to keep abreast of technological advancement, but also meet the demand.

This can be achieved through proper management of people given that they form the core of any business. In this regard, businesses need to consider management development techniques that fit their needs and implement them. However, in choosing the strategy to use various factors including time, cost and specific needs of the business should be put into consideration.


Gallucci, C., Lare, M. D., Yoon, I. H. & Boatright, B. (2010). Instructional Coaching: Building Theory about the Role and Organizational Support for Professional Learning. American Educational research Journal, 47(4), 919-963.

Gray, C. (2004). Management Development In European Small and Medium Enterprises. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 6(4), 451-469.

Haan, E. D. (2004). Learning with Colleagues: An Action Guide for Peer Consultation. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Harrison, R. (2005). Learning and Development. London: CIPD Publishing.

Konczak, L. J., Stelly, D. J. & Trusty, M. L. (2000). Defining and Measuring Empowering Leader Behaviors: Development of an Upward Feedback Instrument. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 60(2), 301-313.

Norman, G. (2013). Learner Managed Learning: Practice, Theory and Policy. London: Routledge.

Pearn, M. (2003). Individually Differences and Development in Organizations. Hoboken: John Willey & Sons.

Resnick, L. B. (2010). Nested Learning Systems for the Thinking Curriculum. Educational Researcher, 39(3), 183-197.

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