Modelling Enterprise Training and Skills Formation: Organisational Level Attempts
In the last decade, the field of HRD has witnessed an intense debate on issues ranging from its definition, purpose, to theory-building attempts (McLean, 1998; Swanson, 1999, 2001), and has been confronted with challenges such as globalisation, managing diversity, moving away from an inward-looking approach to an outward-looking approach, serving the needs of a wider community of stakeholders (Malik & Rowley, 2015a; Pereira & Malik, 2015; Pereira & Budhwar, 2015) , and minimising the disconnect between HRD theory and practice to ensure its future (Bing, Kehrhahn, & Short, 2003; Chermack, Lynham, & Ruona, 2003). Increased levels of globalisation, outsourcing, and innovation necessitate investment in human capital in general and enterprise training in particular (Malik & Rowley, 2015a; Pereira & Malik, 2015a). For instance, recent studies on the Indian IT industry, which is truly a born-global industry, have noted increased levels of investment in training for dealing with operational demands (Malik, 2009; Malik & Nilakant, 2011), as well as strategic issues such as investing in organisational learning, quality management, and market-sensing capabilities (Malik, Sinha & Blumenfeld, 2012; Malik & Blumenfeld, 2012) for managing an inward- and outward-looking approach.
To understand how this may work at a firm level, numerous attempts have been made to model the factors that influence the provision of enterprise training and the role of human resource development in firms undergoing rapid change (Blumenfeld & Malik, 2007; OECD/ CERI, 1986, 1988; Sparrow & Pettigrew, 1985; Finegold & Soscike,
1988; Hayton et al., 1996; Smith & Hayton, 1999; Ridoutt, Dutneall, Hummel, & Smith, 2002; Smith, Oczkowksi, Noble, & Macklin, 2002; Pereira, Malik, & Sharma, 2015). The main thrust of these studies is that the nature and extent of enterprise training is largely dependent on three elements: training drivers, environmental factors, and mediating factors, although a number of other factors are also proposed in the literature pertinent to enterprise training.
However, with regard to developing countries like India, limited research has been undertaken in the field of HRD, and particularly there is little theoretical basis for understanding factors that influence enterprise training. Researchers from India (Yadapadithaya, 1999; Rao & Abraham, 1986; Malik, 2013b; Pereira & Malik, 2015) have looked at the emerging trends and drivers of skill and human capital formation in the manufacturing and services sector in a pre- and post-national liberalisation era. While previous attempts to theorise human capital formation have focussed on the manufacturing and services sector, but to a lesser extent on the high-technology sectors such as the information technology (IT) sector, there is even sparse research that focuses on linking human capital formation and innovation. In the main, most literature on the IT sector of India is concentrated more on the low-value-added segment of the IT industry, such as inbound and outbound call centres and customer service centres (Taylor & Bain, 2004), and only limited efforts have been made to undertake research on the linkages between human capital management practices, including training and development and knowledge integration capabilities and achieving a range innovation outcomes (Malik, 2013a; Malik & Nilakant, 2015). Much of the research broadly focuses on three main strands. The first dominant strand of literature focuses on the organisation of work within a Taylorist paradigm, usually focusing on issues related to monotonous work, and excessive monitoring and control (Taylor & Bain, 2001). The second strand of literature focuses on employee voice, resistance, and other forms of coping mechanisms (van den Broek, 2002). The third strand focuses on the unitary and a strategic human resource management approach and focuses on issues dealing with labour turnover, employee commitment, service quality, staff training, managing stress, and so on in these organisations (Carton, Jerrard, Shah, & Gannon, 2004; Hutchinson et al., 2001; Pereira & Scott, 2014; Pereira & Fontinha, 2014).
Further, attempts to theorise factors influencing enterprise training mostly consider an organisational perspective, serving a narrow group of stakeholders. None of the studies have adopted an outwardlooking approach analysing the influence of an organisation’s customer- orientation approach on enterprise training (Bing et al., 2003; Chermack et al., 2003). Further, extant literature on enterprise training does not examine the influence of geographical and temporal dimension of training and its relationship with an organisation’s product or service life cycle development on enterprise training. This present chapter attempts to bridge the above noted gaps in theory-building in enterprise training in the context of India’s IT sector. The following section provides a brief overview of the Indian IT sector.