The purpose of the research described in this thesis is to develop useful and acceptable methods for assessing the effects and value of off-the-job middle management training in the National Health Service. The Preamble describes the background of this need in the NHS, where a rapid growth of management training courses has not been accompanied by any systematic means of securing evidence on the consequences of the training in individual and organisational work performance. Seeing this situation as one which embraces both the classroom and the workplace, the early chapters offer a conceptual framework for the study of management development, built up from theoretical prespectives on the nature of organisations and their management on the one hand, and the nature of human and managerial learning on the other. These concepts are related specifically to the management of health care organisations. The consequent view of management development emphasises considerations of contingency and choice, and is placed in its historical context in the NHS. The characteristics of evaluation are then examined in terms of a comparison of effects with objectives, and a valuing of that comparison, taking place within a particular local system which needs to be understood. The attempt to do so in fieldwork within the Wessex and Oxford NHS regions between 1974 and 1978 is then described, together with the methodology developed to secure and feed back Information about the working of the system to the interested parties. Lastly, the findings of the research are described and discussed in relation to the hypotheses tested and to a multivariate analysis of the influence of course learning, individual and organisational factors on subsequent work performance. The Sequel outlines the present state and future prospects for this research in further developing and testing evaluation strategies and methods for management training in the NHS. "He" and "his" stand for male and female genders throughout the thesis.
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