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Subject Doing by learning an integrated approach to middle management training
Hans-Werner Franz, University of Dortmund, Germany
Outline Many SMEs have middle managers (and higher) who have become managers primarily due to their technical competence. What they have learned is organising technical and work processes. They have not learnt systematically how to organise people who co-operate in doing this work. They have not learnt at all how to organise working and learning processes as an integrated approach of coping with continuously changing market, technological, organisational and social conditions. They have little time, and many companies cannot or do not want to afford systematic training for management. 
The paper presents such an integrated approach based on three years of experience with nine SMEs. What started as a project has now become a self-sustained network. Using training needs analysis (TNA) as a door opener, the Opti.net project worked and organised learning spirals on three levels:
Level 1: Regional network of companies with TNA training for training agents from the companies initiating and allowing feedback on Level 2: Projects in companies developing specific adapted training strategies, including training for middle management leading to Level 3: Training in companies initiating and allowing feedback on further projects of organisation development leading to training organised by the training agents of Level1.
The training is based on the author's systemic learning organisation approach of leadership by social construction instead of persuasion or coercion. All instruments used tend to install simple routine of analysing and planning work as a context of co-operation and competence building.
Source Paper presented at the 5th conference on human resource development research and practice across Europe: International, comparative and cross-cultural dimensions of HRD. University of Limerick, 27-28 May 2004 (Abstract; full paper incl. in CD-ROM).
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