Building learning organization management development program

Introduction

It is a well appreciated fact that the judiciary is one of the most powerful entities inside any independent nation and upholds the spirit and freedom among the citizens and the country as a whole. There must be better ways for the justice to prevail within the country, because it is believed that justice is every citizen’s birth right. Justice should always be available to every citizen on time and all this can only be available if the entire system of judiciary functions with openness, transparency and by incorporating best management practices.

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It is necessary to building learning organization management development program for judiciary functions. The Magistrate’s Courts Service should also be working with the motive of prevailing the justice at all costs with better management of cases. Since the majority of the responsibilities of the management of the affairs of the Magistrate’s Courts lie with the Justice’s clerks, it is important that these Justice’s clerks are highly efficient people and their efficiencies and efficacies are always kept high by regular training.

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Overview of the management development program

Building learning organization management development program

A proper exercise of the training need identification of these Justice’s clerks and them putting them through a rigorous management development program will help in increasing the skill set of the Justice’s clerks and lead to better efficiencies. The designing of the management development will have to be undertaken by considering the outputs of the training need identification exercise that would be taken up for all the Justice’s clerks and the inputs from the vision and mission of the department. This management development program should be a rigorous one, which should be spread across six month. The rational for spreading the program over duration of six months is that apart from teaching the basic and core issues involved in management, the program will involve simulation exercises, role plays and evaluation of the progress and understanding of the participants at short intervals. The key issues which the management development program would try to address to the core have been enumerated below,

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  1. Since most of the Justice’s clerks are having a background of arts or social sciences, it would be imperative to design a management development program with a curriculum to meet the specific needs.
  2. The curriculum may be divided into two parts with 60% of the focus on covering a broad range of areas which are functional in nature with the aim of bringing sharpness to the general management skills of the participants and also to bring exposure to areas of management where the work profile of the participants might have given them very limited experience.

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  1. With greater focus of the aspects of general management for these participants the remaining 40 percent of the curriculum should aim at enhancing the strategic thinking of each participant along with brining leadership and interpersonal skills to them so as to equip them with all the tools to act as more effective managers and change team players.

Objectives of the management development program

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  • To help the participants in discovering their knowledge of their department and its linkages with the outside world, and how their current responsibilities can be altered to take up a bigger role
  • To help the participants build their competencies in managing and leading strategy for their department and managing people who are interacted with on a day to day basis
  • To help the participants improve their analytical skills and numerical abilities in order to become more effective
  • To enable the participants to strengthen the managerial culture within the service and better administration of justice

Learning methodology and process

This would be a faculty led program and will encourage the participants to develop their own ideas, test their business and administrative judgment against the various scenarios that would be cropping up, and also train them in defending their opinions. This program will try to equip the participants with an unmatched array of skills so that they will be confident enough to turn their newly acquired learning into action on the job. The learning derived from the program during the six months would be very intensive in nature with a mind-stretching experience. Since this entire program is being proposed to be very participative and interaction based the workload would be considerably high.

The learning process as discussed will be an informal and interactive one, which would be full of dialogues and healthy participation from all the participants. The modes that would be used for facilitating the program would be

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  • Presentations made by the faculty members

This will be the primary mode of transfer of the knowledge to the participants. The faculty members would be making the slide show as a means of presenting the facts before the participants which would be open for discussion among all. The participants would be expected to refer the study material given before hand in order to develop their insights towards the subject matter being discussed.

  • Real-life case studies involving business and personal issues

It has been proven over time that involving case-studies as the teaching aid enhances the efficacy of the pedagogy. This method helps in developing analytic and problem solving skills of the participants and also allows for exploration of solutions for complex issues (Yamnil and McLean, 2001).

  • Group exercises and discussions

The management development program will also feature a series of group discussion and group exercises for the participants. This would be targeted to bring improvement in the attitude of the participants in working together as a team, to resolve the presented issue. The group exercises and discussions are very helpful in seeking measurement of the interpersonal skills of the participants such as group leadership, teamwork, negotiation, and group problem solving skills (Yamnil and McLean, 2001).

  • Presentations to be made by the participants

The participants would be required to make presentations elucidating the topic assigned to them on a regular interval. The presentations made would be used to assess the concepts gained by the participants and their ability to conduct independent research on a topic.

  • Input and experiences of the participants during the program

Identifying who would be attending the program

Since this is going to be a very specifically designed management development program it should be imparted to a special set of audiences who would highly benefit from it and will be able to participate more constructively rather than making it a program open for all. This program should be imparted to the Justice’s clerks with the aim of bettering their understanding of the management systems and improving the overall operations of administration of justice. It would be a pragmatic idea to base the program on the lines of a competency model wherein it would be decided before hand that what are the present competencies of the participants and what competencies are required to be developed by the program (Wells, Layne, and Allen, 1991). That is why before any training or management development activities start taking place, it becomes of critical importance to identify the skills and competencies that are to be developed as a result of the effort (Sandwith, 1993). The audiences are going to be the Justice’s clerk so they would need to focus on the development of analytical acumen and numerical abilities. Apart from this the basic understanding of core leadership competencies like communication, critical thinking, negotiation, decision making and business ethics is also desirable among the clerks. It would be worthwhile to find out whether the justice department is having any other training or management development program in practice since it would provide the correct things to be included and excluded out of the program. It must be appreciated that without the full support and involvement from the top leadership of the judiciary system it would be tough to make the program succeed. It would always wise to involve the top leadership of the judicial system to involve in the development of the curriculum, the selection of attendees, and in the presentation of the management development program.

The design and content of the curriculum

It is a known fact that in order to have an effective management development program the curriculum making up the management development program must be as audience-specific as possible. This would translate into necessarily having features in your program that provide learning content that should be relevant to the judicial system and at the same time appear quite engaging. This also needs to be factored in that the content qualifies to be appropriate for the knowledge and experience levels of the participants (Tannenbaum and Yukl, 1992). In this management development program being proposed blended learning should be preferred as far as modality is concerned. In order to attain the right blending in this learning program, the e-learning content will be integrated with interactive group exercises, work samples, expert feedback and performance support (Sandwith, 1993). This program will boast of the set of activities which will provide high quality experiential courses and the most efficient way to drive learning results. It will be a challenge to make the program well-architected blended learning program, as it would be quite engaging, efficient and effective. The blended modal learning programs are found to produce results which generate higher levels of learner satisfaction and true mastery of business-critical skills (Tannenbaum and Yukl, 1992). Another important concept of imparting learning that would be incorporated in this program would be action learning (Gibb, 2007), in this approach in which the learning is imparted to the participants making them identify and discuss the real-life issues and scenarios which would be afflicting the judicial system of the countries (Pacific Judicial Development Programme, Annual Plan: July 2008 – June 2009). This format is designed to make the groups of participants to work on a single project or problem in order to find a solution for the issue. This approach makes the participants practice new skills, fosters a spirit of working as a team, keep a channel open for a two way feedback (Wells, Layne, and Allen, 1991; Gibb, 2007). The most important achievement of this method is that the participants get to exercise their newly acquired knowledge and skills in order to put a solution to the workplace issue (Mumford and Gold, 2004). The subjects which would be taken up in this management development program would be

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Mediation

It would be one of the most important sessions to have for the Justice’s clerks, who are handling the legally entangled cases every day. The Justice’s clerks should have a great mastery over the skills to be involved in the mediation process. This course will off course focus extensively on building and establishing a system of Court Annexed Mediation which will help the clerks further (Pacific Judicial Development Programme, Annual Plan: July 2008 – June 2009).

Family & the law

The curriculum will also focus on development of insights towards the connection between the family and law. The entire discussion would be based on the legal procedures and the aspects of the civil laws (Pacific Judicial Development Programme, Annual Plan: July 2008 – June 2009).

Communication

Communication holds a larger importance in the judiciary system and hence would be duly focused upon with a complete module being dedicated towards it. The course will also try to focus upon professional standards applicable and the varied codes of conduct.

Leadership

This module will majorly focus on the crucial role that leadership plays in demanding and challenging scenarios of judicial setup. The participants will attempt to fathom the different approaches of leadership with eminent focus on the characteristics of a leader, the contextual implications of leadership style, and the various facets of the relationship between the leader and the team.

Strategic planning

The objective of this module would be to develop an understanding and imbibing learning on the ways to apply the key tools of strategic analysis. The five forces model, core competence of corporations, and generic strategy matrix would be among the few concepts that would be dealt in this course.

Principles of Case flow Management

The basic tenets of the management of the legal cases filed in the court of law would be dealt in this module. The Justice’s clerks would be asked to engage themselves in application of various tools of operations management in the disposal and progress of the cases (Pacific Judicial Development Programme, Annual Plan: July 2008 – June 2009).

Financial management

Financial management is very important for every employee of the system to learn. This course will start with the objective of enabling the managers to develop an understanding and interpretation of financial statements which would be coming up in day to day operations of the justice department. The appreciation of costs analysis which provides vital information for making decisions would an integral part of this study.

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Human resource management

This module will try to make the participants appreciate the idea of an organization and the various levers and facets. The participants will be taken through the different HR management strategies and theories. Motivational theories and approaches would be an important part of the discussions undertaken in these sessions.

Timescale and cost of the program

The actual duration of the management development program would basically depend upon the reports of the training need identification exercise. Before the program is kick started, the department should organize a training need identification exercise for all the Justice’s clerks which would help in assessing the actual knowledge levels of the clerks. The duration of the program would be calculated from the analysis of the outcome but in general in order to cover the broad range of topics the duration of six months would be ideal. The entire program would be divided into 8 different modules with the aim of covering the wide range of topics which would lead to better development of the Justice’s clerks. The eight different modules which would be covered in the program have been detailed above in the previous section. The program would be divided into four equal parts of 6 weeks each. Each part will last for 6 weeks and will have to modules running in parallel. The program would be started with the simultaneous modules of human resource management and mediation which would last for 6 weeks. There would be a test which would mark the end of these couple of modules; the next two modules which would run parallel would be family & law and leadership. These two modules will also last for 6 weeks and would end with the test. The next set of modules which would be taken up for delivery to the participants would be communication and principles of Case flow management lasting for another 6 weeks. After the tests for the 3rd part the ultimate part would be taken up for delivery which would be consisting of two modules of financial management and strategic planning. After the end of all the modules the participants would be asked to take a grand test which would cover all the 8 modules delivered to the participants. The certification for the management development program would be delivered to the participating Justice’s clerks after successful completion of all the tests and the grand test. The entire schedule of the management development program can be summed up as follows

Part Modules Covered Timescale
Part 1 Human Resource Management Mediation Week 1-week 6
Part 2 Leadership Family and Law Week 7-week 12
Part 3 Communication Principles of Case flow Mgmt Week 13-week 18
Part 4 Financial Management Strategic Planning Week 19-week 24

 

The evaluation system for the program

No management development program can be complete without putting an effective evaluation system in place. In order to evoke the seriousness of the program among the participants it would be important to put an effective evaluation system in place at each and every toll gate of program. The various evaluation systems and timings which are being proposed for the management development program are

  1. The start of the program would be marked with the test based on the knowledge of the participants to gauge the preparedness for the program.
  2. There would be a weekly online test that would be conducted for all the participants on every Friday to rate the performance the participants based on the week’s delivery.
  3. The participants would also be required to give a presentation every week on a topic assigned to them representing the module under progress.
  4. There would be a test which would mark end of each part of the program so the participants will have to appear for a test each after end of part 1, part 2 and part 3 each. Each of these tests would be containing questions from the two modules discussed in each part.
  5. There would be a final test which would be conducted at the end of the entire program i.e. at the end of part 4. This test would encompass all the modules discussed in the entire program.

After gauging the effectiveness of the participants after undergoing the program it would be important to determine the levels and extent to which the program has been successful. The impact of the program can be gauged using a slew of management tools like

  • Improvements in the skills sets of the participants as measured by pre- and post assessments.
  • Feedback tools like questionnaire and interview which would be used over time during the program.

These feedback and measurement system should be put in place prior to the start of the program. This step assumes greater significance as it would allow bringing about improvements and adjustments in the future programs to be conducted.

Conclusion

The concept of building a learning organization is very important to evolve continuously and match with the advancing trends. It provides the authorities and the top leadership with a picture of how things should be within the judicial system. Engaging in a program which will lead to personal development of the clerks and also increase organizational effectiveness is imperative looking at the redundancies involved. Since judiciary is one of the most important administrative functions, the onus of maintaining the social capital lies with it, where the social capital can be seen as consisting of the live and active connections among people bounded by the trust and mutual understanding. The social capital also has shared values and behaviors which act as binders as the constituents. A management development program aimed at equipping the key people responsible for upholding this social fabric intact and the law and order maintained in the society would be good in the long run. It is very difficult to have the first edition of any management development program which is perfect. Hence, it would be important to modify and better the program continually with the help of the feedback. The feedback should be captured from the participants and also from the people they report to.

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References

  1. Gibb, S (2007) Human Resource Development Processes, Practices and Perspectives, Palgrave.
  2. Mumford A, and Gold J (2004) Management Development, CIPD
  3. Pacific Judicial Development Programme, Annual Plan: July 2008 – June 2009, Accessed from nzaid.govt.nz/library/docs/eoi-pjdp-2008-09-annual-plan-aug09.pdf, Accessed on 2nd August.
  4. Sandwith, P., (1993), A Hierarchy of Management Training Requirements: The Competency Domain Model; Public Personnel Management, Vol. 22
  5. Tannenbaum, S. I. and Yukl, G (1992), Training and Development in Work Organizations, Annual Review of Psychology, Vol. 43: 399-441
  6. Wells, J. B., Layne, B.H., and Allen, D. (1991), Management development training and learning styles, Public productivity and management review, Vol. XIV, no. 4, Summer 1991
  7. Yamnil, S., & McLean, G. N. (2001). Theories supporting transfer of training. Human Resource, Development Quarterly, 12 (2), 195-208.